Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
don't look back

Don’t Look Back


Remember the account of Lot’s wife in the book of Genesis? Lot and his family were escaping the town of Sodom when she looked back on her home town with longing (Gen. 19). As bad as it was, Sodom still represented the only life she knew.

The 2021 new year’s greetings being shared this past week have reminded me, in an indirect way, of Mrs. Lot. Not because we’re looking back with longing, but just the opposite.

Have you noticed the difference in new year’s greetings this year compared to previous years? In the past, greetings were mostly forward-facing, with wishes for health and happiness for the next twelve months.

But this year most of the greetings incorporate a qualification:

  • Happy New Year! Hope it’s better than last year!
  • Happy 2021! May it be an improvement over 2020!
  • Thank God 2020 is over! 2021 has got to be better!

It seems 2020 has cast a long shadow over this new year—a shadow causing us to fear the future. To look ahead with one eye, while looking over our shoulder with the other. And to hesitate about sharing unqualified joyous greetings.


Stop looking back


Maybe it’s time to stop looking back. To face forward with determination instead of hesitation. Of course, we have the wisdom of Spanish philosopher George Santayana whose aphorism observes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But we can remember the past without keeping our focus there.

Think about how you drive your car. There’s a reason your windshield is larger than your rearview mirror. Our focus is ahead of us, not behind us.

None of us know what this new year will bring. Yes, the future is uncertain, perhaps more uncertain than ever. But if we know the God who holds the future, that’s enough to step into 2021 with courage and joy.

Are you spending more time looking in your rearview mirror or looking out your windshield? Don’t look back!


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  1. FlowerLady

    Great post for this new year. Thanks for the encouragement ~ Rainey a.k.a. FlowerLady

  2. Melissa Henderson

    I’m looking forward and holding on to the hope and love of God. Great message Ava.

  3. Yvonne Morgan

    I love your observation in this post. We are skeptical of what can happen in 2021 because 2020 caught us so off guard. When I hold tightly to Christ, I will have a year of joy no matter what else happens. Thanks for sharing Ava and good job on the post.

  4. Jessica Brodie

    Very true, and excellent perspective. Let’s set our eyes on what’s ahead and leave the past behind.

  5. Melinda Viergever Inman

    Trying to sort out what needs to be carried forward and what needs to be left behind in 2020 is the challenge now that we’ve moved into 2021. If we’re carrying forward fear, we can drop that load and move forward trusting in the Lord. But, if we’re carrying forward essential lessons learned about relying on the Lord, rather than on politicians, and trusting the Lord with our safety, rather than worrying, then those things do indeed need to brought to light and examined as thoroughly as is necessary in order to benefit our actions and resultant outcomes moving forward. With our eyes on the Lord and hearts attuned to his, he will enable us to sort out what to leave and what to bring with us into the new year. Great perspective, Ava!

  6. Carol Castagna

    Wonderful message, Ava! Enjoyed reading it.

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