The journey through my first book continues with an excerpt from chapter 9 which talks about how we got our joy back at New Life after a season of darkness and tragedy. I would love to hear your thoughts about this very important topic.
There is a reason that every car manufactured in this world has a small rear-view mirror and a large windshield, which is that you and I are supposed to be far more focused on what is in front of us than on what it is we have just passed. But there were times after the shooting when New Life had the two fixtures swapped. We allowed our windshield to become tiny and our rear-view mirror to captivate our every thought. And so one final joy-robber I want to mention is this: beware of your life’s windshield becoming dangerously small.
Whenever we allow the forward-looking, future-oriented, front-windshield work yet to be done to eclipse that magnificent work that is being accomplished all around us, we miss real blessings that God is trying to pass our way. What’s more, we give the enemy of our souls a foothold as he works to deflate our hearts.
Satan loves nothing more than when you and I fixate on our past. Don’t give him that kind of satisfaction! Focus on the good you see happening, and on all that lies ahead. For us, one simple way this idea got played out involved engaging in our “Summer of Serving.” Despite the two cataclysmic events we’d walked through, we called the church to rally together on behalf of our city, we prayed fervent prayers asking for direction, and then we worked to meet as many needs as we could possibly find. We planted gardens and repainted walls at the downtown rescue mission, we lifted the spirits of home-bound elderly men and women who craved community, we cooked and delivered meals to families in need and more. The acts of service didn’t equate to quick progress in terms of our emotional healing, but they did help us shift our focal point from our own pain to the needs we could actually help meet. And by taking that one small step of faith, our church was reaffirmed in our belief that God would use us in days to come to serve the poor, plant new churches, and catalyze transformed living in people whose paths we crossed.