In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife looks back and her life is forever changed: “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt" Gn 19:26. I think there’s a lesson in that for those of us who look back. I look back and wonder “what if” too often. Because along with wondering comes the doubt about the decision made or the choice not taken. What if becomes “I screwed up and now look at me.” It’s not a healthy place to hang out. Not emotionally, not spiritually and probably not physically either.
So how to fix that is an important question, one that I wrestled with for years and years. Of course, as Catholics we have confession, but I doubt I am the only person who has confessed certain things over and over again and still held on to them. God forgave me but I couldn’t forgive myself.
Many months ago the book Unbound by Neal Lozano kept coming up in things I was listening to and reading. Every so often I would look it up and try to decide if I should read it or not. I finally gave up thinking about it and bought the book. Life changing, totally life changing.
I found healing and peace deep in my being. I prayed with a friend and experienced what it means to let go and not look back. I wanted everyone I knew to read the book and pray with my friend. Well, God had a slightly different plan. Which I should have seen coming based on past experiences (good ones, so it’s okay to look back).
Our diocese decided to start a healing ministry using the Unbound model and I was asked to be a part of it. The bonus is that my husband is also a part of it. It is humbling to pray with people, to listen to their stories, and to help them learn to not look back. The path to freedom is in getting rid of the things which hold us back from living fully in God’s love. When we pray with people, one of the last things we do is give them the Father’s Blessing. It is different for each person and when I do it I ask the Holy Spirit to put all the words in my mouth that the person needs to hear.
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What I have learned, after many years of trying to figure it out, is that looking back, holding on to the past and letting it guide your future, is not God’s plan. It comes from the evil one. God’s plan is one of peace and abundance, Jesus tells us: “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
My prayer for you is to live the abundant life God not only calls us to but gives us.
Copyright 2016 Deanna Bartalini
About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, writer, speaker and content creator. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com online community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through live, interactive faith studies. Her weekly Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.