New Century Version (NCV)
12 I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his.13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead,14 I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
Doesn't this just say it like it is? A conversation today inspired me to write tonight, but my mind has already been thinking along these lines. The past, whether it is our own mistakes or whether it is hurt that someone else has caused, can be a huge distraction. Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over things that we can't go back and change. I guess, that's why we do the beating - it feels like the only thing we can do about it. And it is a recipe for defeat and bitterness.
In any kind of race, if one is always looking back, you can be guaranteed to not be the winner! Your pace will slow and you will go off track. Looking back and/or inflicting punishment on ourselves for bad choices, missed opportunities, or whatever it is that one has to look back at will cause the same thing.
The only way to move forward towards something is to let what is behind you go. It doesn't seem to be human nature to do this, as I mentioned, most of us have given ourselves a few bruises here and there. So, when we feel the inclination to kick ourselves, look back and remind ourselves of what we did or what someone else did to us, we need to take our head in our hands and turn our face towards the goal, forget the past, keep reaching for the prize.