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Don’t Look Back: What’s Stopping You?

Don’t Look Back: What’s Stopping You?

Editor’s note: Don’t Look Back is our New Year Online Bible Study and you're invited! It’s for all of us who get stuck sometimes and need to keep moving forward with hope and faith. See you there?


God has called us to live a life of faith, and to live a life of faith, we have to find the strength to keep going again. We have to set our hearts and minds to walk by faith and not by sight.5 But it’s never easy, is it? It’s so much easier to wait for the cloud first. It’s so much easier to let what stops us stop us. Have you ever thought about what’s stopping you

  • from praying again?
  • from smiling again?
  • from loving again?
  • from hoping again?
  • from laughing again?
  • from playing again?
  • from resting again?
  • from surrendering again?
  • from starting again?
  • from taking care of yourself again?
  • from reading the Word again?
  • from going to church again?
  • from proclaiming God’s promises again?
  • from finding new friends again?
  • from giving again?
  • from letting someone in again?

I know the times when I’ve found myself hesitating, looking back, and then getting stuck, fear typically had something to do with it, even though I know God has not given us a spirit of fear.6

To overcome the fear that has attempted to paralyze me, and quite possibly get me to look back and get stuck, I’ve had to remember Lot’s wife and keep fighting the good fight of faith.7 It’s not a physical fight but a spiritual one, and it’s a fight we’re all called to wage. I’ve never found it to be easy on my flesh or easy on my heart and mind, but then again, I can’t imagine that something called a fight would be. Whether the battle was mental, emotional, or spiritual, I’ve had to intentionally engage to resist the fear that tries to stop me from being healed in my heart and mind, from doing all that God’s called me to do, from fulfilling all His plans and purposes for me. If you know my story, which includes abandonment, adoption, and abuse, then you know much of what I’ve had to overcome — but we all have a story of some sort, don’t we?

In all our lives, there are traumas we don’t know how to navigate, moments that stand still in our memories to this day, and those all-too-common reactions to pain that make us recoil and become immobilized. We’ve all been there, when we’ve been too terrified to even attempt the idea of moving forward and going again. But at some point,

we have to get back up and get in the fight.

I’ve always wanted my girls to get back up, brush the dirt off, so to speak, and go again. Whether they were playing a game, tackling homework, or learning to ride a bike, the only way forward was forward. It was not in stopping, though that’s exactly what they wanted to do. Almost every time, their first response was, “Not again, Mummy, not again.”

But there’s something about again that’s important for us to grasp. I don’t mean to turn this into an English lesson, but even the word again is worth examining. The dictionary tells us that it’s an adverb; it tells us when to do something. It means “to return; once more; or to return to a previous position or condition.”8 It can be used in multiple contexts:

“It was great to meet old friends again.”

“Again, why are you doing this?”

It can even mean “on the other hand”: “It might be good to go, but then again, it might not.”

When it comes to the hard internal things in our lives, the things we need to risk going again for, I would imagine that we most often use it this way: “I’ll never do that again. No, not again.”

I’ll admit, I’ve said as much on many occasions — when my heart has had enough and my emotions have run high — only to realize that it wasn’t health talking but hurt talking, that it wasn’t faith talking but fear talking. And yet I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there have been times when it has been completely justifiable and right to say, “No, not again,” and mean it with all my heart. There are some things in all our lives that we absolutely can never do again or will never allow someone else to do to us again.

In my life, because of the sexual abuse that happened to me when I was a child, which my parents had no clue about, I will never, ever allow anyone to abuse me again. I will never allow myself to be put in situations where I could be mistreated or violated. I can’t. And neither can you, particularly if you’ve escaped any kind of trauma. There are times when saying “No, not again” is not a response of weakness but strength, not a response of resignation but resolve, not a response of fear but faith.

Maybe we’ve had someone betray us, hurt us, wrong us, or slander us. When the Enemy tempts us to rehearse what they did again, to be consumed with what they did again, to meditate on what they did again, to get pulled in the undertow of bitterness and resentment again, rather than walk in the freedom of forgiveness, we need to agree with the Spirit of God: “No, not again.”

Or maybe there is an area of life where we struggle with a particular habit or pattern. Maybe it’s a way of thinking, a way of speaking, a way of numbing, a way of relating, or a way of escaping. When the Enemy tries to get us to compromise or take small steps to get stuck in that stronghold again, rather than walking in holiness and obedience, we need to flee it, not entertain it. We need to purpose in the power of the Spirit of God: “No, not again. I’m not getting stuck, I’m moving forward.”

Maybe God has rekindled our passion to pursue Him wholeheartedly, spending increased time in the Word, worship, and prayer. When the Enemy tries to distract us from spending purposed time pursuing God, we need to remain steadfast and unwavering, resolute and resolved: “No, not again.”

Maybe God has freed us and healed us of a codependent or harmful relationship. When we see the warning signs of the same patterns in another relationship, rather than excuse or justify or minimize them, we need to find our strength in God to turn from the relationship and say, “No, not again.”

The point is, there are times when it is right, good, and God-honoring to say “No, not again.” If Christ died to redeem us from it, then He wants us to say “No, not again” to it. If God healed or rescued us from it, then He wants us to say “No, not again” to it. If it takes us further from God instead of closer to God, He wants us to say “No, not again” to it.

We are not called to go again to dead and dry and destructive places, but we are called to go again into God’s purposes.

The go again I want for you, that God wants for us all, is the practice of getting up again and moving forward from the places of failure, disappointment, pain, heartache, and loss to the future, calling, and work that God has for us.

Excerpted with permission from Don’t Look Back by Christine Caine, copyright Christine Caine.

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Your Turn

We have to find the strength to keep going again. It’s imperative for the believer! And, sometimes we have to say “No, not again” to the things that distract us from God’s will, or that He has removed from our lives in His grace. God has good things ahead for us! Remember, join us for the Don’t Look Back OBS starting January 22nd! ~ Devotionals Daily