Speaking from the Heart, by Dr. Robin Newman

Good Reading

Life in the Rearview Mirror

After being involved in a car accident in 2014, surviving many a nightmare thereafter, and participating in EMDR therapy to process what had happened, I thought I had learned enough post- accident that there wasn’t anything else to learn. Silly me. That was before March 31, 2017. While it was nothing compared to that July day in 2014 when my large SUV was totaled, the car accident that occurred in 2017 did something for me that 2014 hadn’t been able to. It caused me to stop looking in my rearview mirror.

RVMirrorI saw it coming.

I saw the driver not stop. I saw his face. I remember thinking, “Come on… You are going to stop now, aren’t you? Wait, hey stop. Slow down, slow down. S…T….O….P!!!!!” But no, he didn’t stop.  Not until he hit me. Fast forward 6 months and a new job that had me driving down multiple Dallas highways. Having grown up in the metroplex, I was accustomed to such traffic, was I not? I cut my teeth on these streets, I got my driver’s license at 16 on these exit ramps. So, why then, did I start feeling panicky and fear stricken every time I found myself driving on one of these traffic laden roads? Tension mounted, my hands would grip the wheel tighter, and shoulders would tighten… I couldn’t talk to anyone or even listen to music!  I had to concentrate did I not? Oh the dilemma I faced in deciding if I should just avoid these roads altogether, until I realized it was even affecting me on the major side streets. I had to figure out a solution quickly because this wasn’t exactly working out well for my time conscious mind.

And then it hit me.

Like that truck did in March, and the SUV 3 years prior. I was experiencing feelings of fear and panic because I was spending my time looking in the rearview mirror. I wasn’t afraid just DRIVING on the roads. It was when I had to slow down and stop. It was when traffic wasn’t moving and I glanced, no fixated might be more like it, on what was coming up behind me that I felt panic take over. PanicEvery car that approached from behind-  I’d start yelling at it to stop. Nicely of course. J I wouldn’t take my eyes off my rearview mirror until we had started moving again. And there was my answer. In driving, I had to retrain myself to stop staring out the back window, afraid that every car that approached was going to hit me. I had to believe that all these cars didn’t want to be in an accident any more than I did. I had to TRUST that they would stop. And so I had to be intentional about taking my focus off of what was behind, and instead focus on what was in front.  And just like in driving, I realized I needed to retrain my mind and heart to stop focusing on my past in order to move forward in life. I have no doubt I heard God speak to me that day that it all started making sense. I felt it in my spirit, His gentle but firm voice that clearly said “Stop looking in the rearview mirror and place your eyes on me.” I knew instantly it was a double message that was going to impact my life from here on out. There’s a good reason scripture says that we should “forget[ting] what lies behind, and strain[ing] towards what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus….”  

FamilyTripI spend a lot less time now looking out my rearview mirror.

I focus on the cars in front rather than those coming up from behind. And in life, I’m doing a lot better, too, as I try to keep my focus on Jesus rather than those things that can distract me from experiencing true joy and peace. What about you? Are you fixating on your rearview mirror rather than your windshield? Do you have memories filled with hurt, covering up years of anger towards that person that did you wrong that now seems to be robbing you of your peace? Do you focus on your losses more than what you’ve been given? By focusing on those pesky offenses and hurts from your past, are you not allowing them to control you – much like I was allowing all those cars on the road to control my peace of mind?

Take a moment to see if there are uncovered hurts that you are spending too much time on today. Then join me in focusing on what lies ahead, rather than on the pain from yesterday.



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