Learning in Reverse

We got a new car. The other one was 8 or 9 years old, without any of the technological advances in newer models. I’m crazy about the Bluetooth enabled feature for listening to music though it can get a bit pesky when it plays without my prompting. The feature I’m finding most helpful and one that gets daily use is the backup camera. I know, I know. Where have I been, right? It’s fantastic! Every time I put the car in reverse the camera turns on. What took so long for me to know how fabulous and helpful this feature would be?

rearview mirror

There’s that tension between looking ahead and looking behind. It would seem our culture focuses on looking ahead more than behind. Our lives won’t get anywhere going in reverse. Except….

We like to talk about learning from our failures but we don’t want to fail.

We talk about correcting the mistakes from our past while we are admonished not to live in the past.

After coming to the conclusion that choosing one word for the year doesn’t work for me I’ve learned what does.

I was reading photographer Kim Klassen’s words on choosing her word for 2016. It took her two full weeks into the year before she realized the word had been in plain site all along.

That’s when I learned what my word for LAST year was: Healing. I could only learn that in reverse. Through looking at the books I read, the relationships that developed, friends I reached out to, realizing buried hurts and resentments, all of these were about healing. I couldn’t have seen that coming. I didn’t set out for that to be my theme for the year, yet it was.

“By default, most of us have taken the dare to simply survive. Exist. Get through. For the most part, we live numb to life – we’ve grown weary and apathetic and jaded… and wounded.”  Ann Voskamp

Focusing ahead is good. But learning from yesterday is what will help guide my future.

It gives new meaning to the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and will be the same tomorrow. He knows my past, remembers all the things I’ve hidden from memory and He knows tomorrow.

“He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b] 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1: 17b-18 NLT

It’s too early for me to know what this years word will be. But I’m looking forward to learning in reverse again. To look back and see what God brought to me because He knows my needs  yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart at Holley Gerth’s place.


  1. Linda Stoll said:

    I love how you talk about the tension between looking back and looking forward, Debby. Too much of one without the other is a lose/lose situation, isn’t it.

    Thank God that He illuminates our hearts so we can reflect deeply and learn lessons from the past, even as He lights the path ahead so we can move forward in confidence.

    Love visiting with you …

    January 20, 2016
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It’s always nice when you stop by, Linda. Our phone visit was part of God’s teaching and leading me to his word. Healing is a process but I do believe last year got things started. Thank you, friend.

      January 20, 2016
  2. Debby,
    I’m glad I’m not the only one still without a word for the year! I’m open though, if one comes along, but if not, I like your method — reviewing the year after it happens to find your word! And oh, how nice your new car must be — enjoy all the new features — maybe he’s making all things new for you! 🙂

    January 20, 2016
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Oh, Valerie, I just never could remember the word I’d choose by the time February rolled around! Thanks for your kind words.

      January 20, 2016

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