Onward and upwards. But what does that mean, at least for now? There is a lot of talk right now about wanting things to go back to the way they used to be. We are reminiscent of our old, comfortable normal way of living and we want to go back.
By Lauren Heaton
The thing is, God does not call us to go backwards. This entire life is a journey towards him in heaven.
A few years ago I lived through a trauma while studying abroad which caused me to experience a depression and it seemed as though I had lost myself. I remember sitting at the foot of the altar in my church begging and pleading with God to let me go back to the girl I used to be. I liked that version of myself, confident, happy, faithful. I wanted nothing more than to go back to being who I used to be.
God gently lifted my head to meet his loving gaze and said, “There is no going back. I am calling you onward and upwards.”
I remember being so frustrated with that response. It is easier to wish for things to go back to what we used to know. There is a level of certainty with the past whereas moving forward into what is unknown is much more challenging, perhaps even frightening. There is a great deal of unknown in the times we are living in right now and even though we want things to simply go back to the way they used to be God is calling us onward and upward to new life with him.
I find it striking that God did not just call me forward. No, he called me onward and upwards and I believe he calls you to do the same.
Onward – Jesus calls us to take action. Even now in the midst of this pandemic Christ calls us to love, give, serve, teach, work, pray, and so much more. Our lives are not on pause. He calls us to journey towards him and towards the saints he calls each one of us to be. In order to move forward we must take action even if it is one baby step at a time.
Upward – Jesus calls us to rise to the occasion, to accept new challenges, and keep pressing on. He calls us to lift our eyes towards heaven and to keep our eyes fixed on him (Psalm 121, Hebrews 12 ). It’s easy to get mired down in the details of the news, the numbers, the fear, the politics. Christ calls us to rise above that, to be in the world, but not tangled up in it. He offers us his peace, his hope, his joy to keep us lifted up.
What better way to raise our eyes towards heaven and the God who loves us than to lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving to him? There is still so much to be thankful for in this time! Yes, much has been lost, but with Christ there is much more glorious things to be found!
Christ never let me return to the girl I was before studying abroad, but he has been and continues to be faithful in walking with me as I grow onward and upwards into the woman he calls me to be.
Lauren is a young Catholic professional working in the marketing industry. She loves working with high schoolers and leads a high school youth group. She is also passionate about leading a young women’s bible study, is on the leadership team for West Denver 2:42 a young adult ministry and sings at her church. Lauren is a modest fashion enthusiast, pancake connoisseur, promoter of faith and fitness, and lover of all things family oriented.