I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:13-14 KJV
I watched with anticipation as the presenter began introducing her workshop outline to the class. The women’s conference was large and well-known, with over 1,000 women in attendance. The topic covered several “hot button” issues of interest to saved women in the church who also happened to be single: the pros and cons of online dating, whether women should give a yay or nay to romances with unsaved men, and the virtues – or pitfalls – of hiring a matchmaker.
The session was 60 minutes and promised to be a doozy. Imagine our surprise when the presenter pulled a stuffed Sesame Street Elmo doll!
“Now I already know things are going to get heated in here,” she said as she walked around the room. “You may not like what I say, and that’s ok. In fact, you may vehemently disagree with some of the things I say, and that’s ok. She paused for emphasis, and spoke in deliberate, measured tones.
“We can discuss, but what we won’t do is argue.” She continued, “To make sure we don’t get bogged down, and to make sure we don’t fall out, Elmo here is going to keep us straight.” The presenter laughed at our puzzled expressions. She walked over to the board and spelled out E L M O lengthwise in all capital letters. “Here’s how Elmo is going to help us. Just take the first letters of his name. When things get too intense, I’m going to hold Elmo up and say,
The class erupted in laughter, and we went on to enjoy a thought-provoking presentation. It probably goes without saying Elmo was pulled out of the presenter’s bag at least five times during the session! As I contemplate the coming New Year, my mind goes back to that session, and the purpose Elmo served in the class. When things got too bogged down and counterproductive, Elmo came out. By the third time he was pulled out of her bag, we eagerly proclaimed with the presenter, “Enough! Let’s Move On!”
Today, as this New Year begins, I want to challenge you to address all the counterproductive aspects of your life. What’s bogging you down? Is there a habit you need to break, or a shift in mindset you need to make that’s long overdue? Do you need to let go of the past in order to fully embrace your future?
Let’s follow the example set by the Apostle Paul by forgetting the things that are behind us (they’re behind us for a reason!) and stretch forth to what’s ahead. A New Year is here, and we have 365 new days to get things right. With your eyes on God’s divine blessings, promises, and power, look at the negativity in your life squarely in the face and shout, “Enough! Let’s Move On!”