Trailing Behind Myself

Long empty streets wove behind the apartment complex I lived in soon after finding Christ. I would wake up every morning and walked their approximate four mile length.  Along the way, I would pass a park, tree covered sidewalks and a sky that was ever changing.

A dark day view on my long walk each morning.

A dark day view on my long walk each morning.

Watching the weather wasn’t part of my daily routine. I would wake up, put on my shoes and go. There were days that sky was dark and unappealing as a backdrop for my morning walks. There were also bright days, however, where the sky was filled with pleasant imagery and clouds of grand design.  The contrast between those days is a familiar story. I find my own life reflecting the changes of our daily sky – which is a mixture of bright and dark.

In that season of walking on the streets behind the apartments, I lost nearly forty pounds. I also spent hours with the Lord each day. I started my ministry, met my wife and was delivered from my gambling addiction in that same season.  Those moments were bright days.

When I moved into my home with Megan, we lost the long streets that once called me to walk them. I found myself wanting to stay at home to spend time with Megan. I was also spending a lot of time building relationships with local churches as we laid the foundations for Testimony House. Some of those church relationships were severed or struggled to stay above water.

In the first years at my new house, I put back on the weight I lost years earlier and added a couple more for good measure.  I had bouts of struggle with my sense of identity and purpose. I sometimes questioned what God was having me do.  These moments were dark days.

Today, as I was thinking about those early days in Christ, I considered if those were the best days of my walk with Christ. I was healthy, happy and full of faith. I thought, “Am I trailing behind the life I once had never to see another season of bright days again?”

I called the park I passed by on my walk’s Megan Lake because it is where I prayed for her.

I called the park I passed by on my walk’s Megan Lake because it is where I prayed for her.

Of course not, God’s future for us is always brighter than our past. Our eternal life in the presence of God is something to look forward to even on our worst days. As much as I reflect on my former morning walks and the frustrations I feel for having put weight back on, I also remind myself that I have joy, peace and hope like I did back then. Only the changed circumstances are causing me to reflect with a questioning heart. Something that hasn’t changed, however, is that most mornings I wake up, the first words out of my mouth are, “This is the day You have made Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

I don’t say those words from Psalms because anyone is listening. I say them because I have spent years walking with the Lord and I believe them.  Bright days. Dark days. God gave us today, even if it looks different than yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity to fall back into sin or flee from it. A new day to serve others or serve ourselves. A new day to accomplish tasks or let them wait until tomorrow. A skyline or a season of life no matter how bright or dark is your final chapter.

When I walked the roads behind my old apartment I was always looking in front of me. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about where I came from but focused on where I was going. Looking back at our past is not something a person who knows where they are going usually does.  Focusing on past glories or former failures keeps us from creating new glories and overcoming failures. 

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I am looking forward to losing this weight again. I am looking forward to spending hours with the Lord each day. I am looking forward to building new relationships. I am looking forward to building onto the foundation of Testimony House that was laid years ago. I am looking forward to my next projects which include a new book in the theme of Tuesdays with Morrie, raising support for children Haiti and helping other Christians share their God given messages on the Testimony House network.

There may be days things aren’t working out in a way I desire. I may suffer setbacks. The word of God promises, however, that when I keep my eyes on Jesus I may stumble but I will never fall (Psalm 37:4).  Bright Days. Dark Days. They will be ever changing, but the God who loves me will always stay the same. I will wake up each morning thankful to have whatever weather that day holds because any day with Christ is greater than the best day I had without Him.

John Simmons is the President of Testimony House Ministries. He writes a daily blog for Testimony House each week day. He is the author of God Has a Sentence for Your Life and Finding Faith. Follow John on social media @newjohnsimmons. You can also watch John hosts various live streaming programs on the Testimony House Network each week.