How to Reflect on Life and Move On

There is much to gain when we see the past through the lens of grace, forgiveness and growth.

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How to look back at your life through a lens of grace and growth.

Recently while on vacation, my wife and I were enjoying the warm weather on a beautiful Florida beach. As usual, we positioned our chairs a few feet from the ocean and began our traditional beach activities; reading, relaxing and taking in the sights, sounds and people around us.

As we began to drift more and more into relaxation mode, we observed a young couple playing, laughing, and embracing each other’s great admiration. As my wife Elba watched them, she stated “When you are in the beginning of your relationship and in love, you laugh at everything” as this young couple did. I responded with, “It’s a wonderful time of life for them, and they should enjoy it.” This caused us to look back on our first days, weeks and months of dating. The joy of the memories filled our hearts.

They say never look back on life, but we all do. We think about past relationships, opportunities, decisions, accomplishments, setbacks, events, mistakes and more. The key to looking back is not to dwell on or live in the past. Recalling life lessons doesn’t have to be negative; there is much to gain when we see the past through the lens of grace, forgiveness and growth.

There is value in looking back. We can:

  • Reflect where we have come from and where we are today.
  • Realize how the grace of God has helped our lives.
  • Recognize that in spite our imperfections, mistakes and human flaws, God loves us unconditionally.
  • Recall the love and care of special people in our lives.
  • Remember lessons from our adversities and how they made us better.
  • Reorder our priorities.
  • Reenergize to continue the unfinished work before us.

I have learned that looking back, if done wisely, can offer great insight and help us make better decisions about our health, career, relationships, finances and future. It is not about holding onto our past at the expense of our future but learning from it.

Frederick Douglass, former slave, author and influential leader of his time, said, “We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future.” What is the most valuable insight from your past that has impacted your life today?

Lord, help us to examine our past through the lens of grace, forgiveness and growth so that we can make the most of today and the future.

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