Life Directions: Where Are You Looking?

Life Directions: To where are you looking?

There are three ways from where we can look at our life: the past, the present and the future. Depending on what age you are and your circumstances, you may be looking one way more than the others. The direction you are looking also depends upon what area of your life you are examining: health, finances, relationships, mental, career, spiritual, etc.

Our life is much like a farm and we are the farmers. We have different fields according to each area of our life. How those fields turn out depends on how much time we spent watering, cultivating and weeding the field. How straight our rows are and what we have planted depends on our values, goals, discipline, habits, and did we constantly check our progress toward those goals.

I am reading a book right now called Lost In The Middle by Paul Tripp dealing with midlife. When you hit mid-life (whatever time that is for you), you start looking back to see what you have planted, cultivated and what is harvested. At this stage in life, adults spend a good bit of time looking back at the life they have lived. As Tripp states, looking back can be disorienting and uncomfortable. You may look and see just weeds or very crooked rows. You may look back and see a field unplanted, overrun with weeds, bushes and rocks or one that is ruined.

What many in life don't realize is that we are all planting and we will harvest what we plant. In midlife you begin to see your harvest. To many, the harvest is painful, unfulfilling or not turning out the way they had expected. They look back and see crooked rows, rows unplanted or filled with weeds. The temptation is to then look over the fences and see someone else's field and feel jealousy, envy, regret, etc. The temptation is to see yourself as a victim and tell yourself "I deserve better. This is not what I had planned." Unfortunately, this type of thinking can lead to ruined relationships, divorce, adultery, going into more debt, getting mad at God or other unwise decision making.

For those in mid life who are reaping the harvest, your attitude will determine what you do with the rest of your life. If you see yourself as a victim of circumstances, you will keep making bad decisions and can even make your life more miserable at a future harvest time (divorce, bad health, bankruptcy, loss of job, etc.) If you see that your planting was and is under your control, you can begin to weed the fields or begin planting all over again setting wholesome goals that benefit everyone. Yes, some times it is too late to start over; the field is ruined and the soil no longer productive. In this case, repent over your past, and look for new fields to sow and cultivate with the proper goals, attitudes and relationships. It is never too late to start new.

For those of you in your early stages of life, I encourage you to examine what you are planting, where you are planting and how you are watering. Midlife regret is a very painful thing. Are you living in the here and now, not considering what you are planting, where you are planting and how straight your rows are? Are you the farmer who is more concerned about your comfort, immediate feelings, gratifying yourself now than working hard, planting straight rows (which can be very hard and takes lots of correction) and looking to the future?; Be careful, you may be sowing some terrible weeds or leaving a field to "whatever happens." Some soils, mistreated, can never be re-cultivated.

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates


Proverbs 2:1-11
"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair, every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you."

Proverbs 6: 6-11
"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."

Are you being wise, consciously making the right choices? Are you seeking God and his wisdom or are you setting goals (or not setting goals) in your own strength? Are you putting off doing something that you know you should do, similar to the sluggard? Where are your heart's desires, on the temporal (the here and now) or on eternal? What harvest will you reap? Will it be full of regret and pain or joy and satisfaction? It is never too late to seek God, His wisdom, His forgiveness, His healing and His salvation. All you have to do is ask.

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