Joel and I love to play racquetball and we used to play all the time. The game is played in a square room, with a racquet and a small, super bouncy ball which you hit against the wall. When you hit that ball, the number one safety rule is to not look back. That ball comes so fast off the back wall that if you look back it can smash you in the face and cause a lot of damage.
When you're first playing, it's so tempting to want to follow the ball with your eyes because that's what you do in just about every other sport. I had to train myself to not look back. I'll never forget one time someone told me a story of how a person actually lost their eye because they looked back! After I heard that story, I kept saying to myself, "Don't look back! Don't look back!"
In life, when we look back at the past, when we relive hurts, or focus on past mistakes, those things can smack us in the face and cause serious injury. It can affect how we see. Those injuries show up as damaged relationships, problems on your job, self esteem issues, and ultimately it affects your faith. This is why we cannot look back. In fact, Paul said in scripture, one thing I focus on more than anything else—I don't look back! But you have to train yourself not to do it. It's natural to want to look back but you have to intentionally look forward.
When you look forward, you see that God wants to give you beauty for ashes. He wants to turn your sorrow into joy. He wants to turn things around for you good. That's why we have to let go of the pain of the past and focus forward on God's Word. Don't let the pain of the past steal the promises of tomorrow. Remember, the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn shining brighter to the full day. Take this truth to heart—embrace the blessing God has in store for your future, and don't look back!"I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…" (Philippians 3:13, NLT).