Step Back to Step Forward
I have noticed in life that it often helps to step back before stepping forward. Stepping back allows us to gain clarity and perspective about situations, people and our own selves.
So how do we step back to step forward? We tend to see ourselves as the center of the situations (whether we realize this or not). Love diminishes this self-centered view. A parent, with love for her child, places the child’s needs before her own. God, being love (1 John 4:8), is the utmost example of giving and looking beyond self. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
As we grow in love and in faith, we are able to step back and gain perspective more quickly and readily. For example, an individual may find himself in recurring unhealthy relationships. Growing in his relationship with God, however, he can begin to step back and discern his own relationship patterns and cycles. He may recognize codependent tendencies and thereafter seek God (rather than a partner) to fill his every need – for love, security, significance. Only God can fill these needs adequately. With God’s grace, the process of stepping back will enable this individual to discover the beauty of moving forward into a relationship as whole and complete.
Stepping back even further, this individual can view not only the patterns of his relationships but also the context of these relationships within his entire life. Why did these relationship patterns continually surface? What life lessons lie in these patterns? What beliefs are not rooted in truth? What sinful patterns exist? Stepping back to view patterns in his life, he is able to dislodge false beliefs and instill truth. The Lord promises that the truth will set us free when we obey His teachings (John 8:31-32). Additionally, as we delight in God, He grants us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Yes, He literally gives us desires that are aligned to His will.
In stepping back even further, each of us is able to view not only relationships and situations from the context of our entire lives but also our lives within the larger contexts of our families, our communities, our nation, our world today and all eternity. It is humbling to view ourselves in the grand tapestry of life and eternity. Yet doing so inspires us to bring value and light and love. As we step back, we long to weave our lives beautifully into this eternal tapestry.
Stepping back is therefore a powerful process. We gain perspective, humility, healing and wholeness when righteously responding to the discoveries. God sees everything in eternity (Hebrews 4:12); yet He also sees each one of us in an intimate manner. He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and He knit us fearfully in our mother’s wombs (Psalm 139:13). In stepping back and seeing ourselves as God does, as a part of the world and eternity, we gain the proper perspective by which to move more deeply into our own selves. Seeing ourselves from the eternal scale, we can then ask pervasive questions. In what areas can I grow? How can I improve my relationship with God and with others? How can I bring more value? Am I seeking first God’s Kingdom? How can I love more freely and generously? How can I better use my talents and experiences for God and others? How can I live in better alignment to God’s will?
Often when I sense confusion or lack of clarity, I step back and view my life from the eternal standpoint. I then step forward and inward to ensure my mind, body and spirit are in harmony with God’s Will. From what situations can you step back today before stepping forward?
Stepping back, and now I see
My very life with clarity
Blurry confusion at once clears
Seeing minutes, hours, days, years
Stepping back, and now I know
In which direction I must go
Farther from self, yet closer still
Aligning my all with God’s Will
Copyright © 2011 Caroline Gavin
What examples can you give of this? How do you step back to step forward?