Romans 8:28 states that, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. God the master craftsman through which all heaven and Earth were created & in collaboration with his son who by no mistake happens to be a master carpenter, have taken the trees that are our lives, the wide rings of great success and the narrow rings of struggle to create something that is not only beautiful for all to see but effective in getting us to where we need to get. That beautiful and effective work of art is a boat. Your life in God’s hands is the vessel by which you have travelled the seas of life and arrived on the shores of 2020. You have been brought here, by the joys, pains, loves and losses of the past and without a doubt you would not be here without all those rings woven together over time and pieced together by God.
There comes a time however when a boat is no longer necessary and may in fact become an impediment for what is ahead. As such there comes a time when the past needs to be put in the past and those life experiences need to be committed to the annals of history. Too often in our lives we allow the things of our past to dictate not just our present but our future as well. The reality is if you want to move forward to the life and purpose God has ahead of us than we need to let go of the past. If not, we will never move forward and as a result be caught in a constant state of floating never reaching our goals or worse, we will try to return to places we came from.
In 1519 explorer Hernan Cortes landed on the shores of Veracruz for a conquest into uncharted lands. Cortes knowing the uncertainty that lie ahead and the propensity of men to turn back in the face of difficulties gave the command to burn the ships. I am sure the command caught his men off guard, after all this was the very means by which they got to Veracruz and it was the very means that could take them home in the event of failure. Cortes understood that if the men had the means to turn back, they would not be motivated to what was necessary to be successful in the endeavor ahead of them. As Cortes’ men watched the floating inferno from shore, they did not see just a boat burning, they saw their former lives burning. All their life experiences, families, successes and homeland went up in flames with those ships. With nowhere else to go and no way to go back, their only option was to put all their effort and focus into the journey onward into the unknown.
Like Cortes, God knows that the journey ahead of us whether it be a journey of healing, purpose or understanding is a challenging one in which there will be times we want to turn back. If you want to achieve the big things ahead of you and leave a lasting legacy, it is vital that you leave the past behind you and commit it to memory, nothing more. I know this to be true in my own life as for too long I allowed the events of the past to dictate my present and future success. I longed to go back to a previous time, a time in which I recovered what was lost in my life, rather than striving forward to what was ahead. As a result, I missed many opportunities to grow, succeed and build strong relationships, all because I was so concerned with what was behind me that I could not achieve what was ahead of me. It was not until I decided to burn the ships in my own life that I started to see breakthrough and progress because my focus was now on moving forward instead of trekking back. I became more focused on what could be gained ahead of me than what was lost behind me. As we close this blog entry, I feel it important to make one thing clear. Burning the ships, does not mean forgetting the past, it does not mean neglecting all that was learned, rather it is a call to recognize the necessity of positional change for the purpose of not just surviving but thriving in the future. Cortes’ men were always Spaniards, and the trainings and life lessons learned in Spain were necessary for them to make it to Veracruz. Those lessons and trainings were even necessary for their exploits in Veracruz, however what was needed was more than just a Spaniard with training and life lessons. If Cortes’ men were to survive, they could no longer be just Spanish explorers they needed to become more. They needed to become trailblazers pushing back the unknown.
As we turn to this new decade and enter the foreign shores of the 2020’s we must put to rest the last decade. The highs and the lows, the successes and failures all need to be committed to memory. If we are to be prosperous and healthy in the coming years, we need to become something more than what we were, we need to become something better. To do this we must burn the ships, removing the temptation and ability to return to those things that once held us and become trailblazers ourselves, for our families, our friends and the world.