I’m coming out of what I’m endearingly calling “hibernation with Jesus.” For the past six months, I’ve mostly been in a cave. Or at least at first, it felt that way. Dark, cold, and no place I wanted to be. I wasn’t there because I chose it, or asked for it. I was hibernating because it was the place the Lord took me, despite my protests in the beginning. I wish this article was full of the wisdom and lessons God taught me through my hibernation with Him, but it’s not. Maybe another one someday, but not this one.
Instead, I want to talk to you about what He’s doing right now and I pray it brings some encouragement your way like it has mine. Because coming out of this hibernation hasn’t been slow or even gentle really. I’ve been taken from total rest and solitude with the Lord and thrust into overdrive with Him.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t try to find ways out of some of it or justify why it’s too much or I’m not nearly qualified for any of it. The questions, the doubts, the fears, and the insecurities have been REAL, y’all. And I’ve found myself looking back for answers, for comfort, for validation, for a way out.
Until one day, about a month ago, God gently spoke to me as I was laying all the ugly out there.
“Put your hand to the plow.”
“Put your hand to the plow.”
I didn’t know exactly where I’d heard it from, but I knew this was in scripture somewhere so that’s where I turned.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
Jesus is teaching his disciples about the cost of following Him and ends it by relating to them in a practical way. Farming is something most of them would understand so when He tells them that someone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back isn’t fit for kingdom work, they most likely understood what He meant.
Now, this isn’t the first time in Scripture where God warns against looking back. We also see it when Lot’s wife looks back at Sodom and Gomorrah and turns into a pillar of salt in Genesis 19. And when the Israelites longed to go back to slavery in Egypt because things got tough as they followed God, in freedom, through the desert. So, when it pertains to following Jesus, why are we told not to look back?
I come from a long line of farmers on my mom’s side so I have a tiny bit of understanding when it comes to this line of work. But, I wanted to get clarification and expert insight so I reached out to my uncle. He told me that when plowing a field, looking back can cause you to plow crooked rows. Looking back distorts your vision. Instead, he said, you want to find a focal point at the end of the field and focus on that as you put your hand to the plow. This will help you keep a straight line as you guide the plow down the field.
Here’s where Jesus is so cool. He is our focal point. He is where we fix our gaze. So when we put our hand to the plow of the work He’s called us to do, we are able to remain right inside His perfect plan for us.
I kept looking back, thinking I’d find some answers for how to do what God was calling me to do next. I kept looking back wishing things could just stay the way they were because I’d grown comfortable there. I kept looking back hoping to find something from my past that would make me feel qualified to move forward. I kept looking back hoping that what worked for me then would also work for me now. I kept looking back and it hindered me from moving forward.
Philippians 3:13-14 says,
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Praise God for the work He’s already done in our lives! But if we stay in the past, it does His Kingdom no good. We must fix our eyes on Jesus, put our hand to the plow, and move forward.
Where are your eyes fixed today? Are you so busy looking back that you’re not even sure where the Lord wants to use you? Or has He told you what plow to put your hand to, but you keep looking back out of fear and insecurity? Wherever you are today, the fix is simple: turn your eyes to Jesus. Align with His will by simply letting go of yours and putting your hand in His.
Article written by Lauren Diggs – a She Works His Way Leader and Teacher