Anchoring your heart in the past is a recipe for failure

I recently came across the script of one of President Harry S. Truman’s addresses to the Democratic party during a dinner to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Democratic National Committee. The dinner was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., on the morning of Feb. 19, 1948.

With a country still rebuilding its economy after WWII, Truman addressed his party while campaigning for the 1948 elections, which ultimately placed him in the White House for a second term. During the speech, he mentioned his State of the Union address of Jan. 7, 1948, where he outlined his 10-year Program for American Prosperity — a bold vision to carry the nation toward the future. Truman called the Congress and the American people to look toward the future, and fearlessly embrace the changes that the president deemed not only necessary, but crucial for America.

While mentioning the critics of his 10-year program, he challenged them as people “who look with fear and distrust upon planning for the future,” and then proceeded to make an interesting analogy:

“These men who live in the past remind me of a toy I’m sure all of you have seen. The toy is a small wooden bird called the ‘Floogie Bird.’ Around the Floogie Bird’s neck is a label reading: ‘I fly backwards. I don’t care where I’m going. I just want to see where I’ve been.’”

Inevitably, curious that I am, I immediately searched for pictures of this unique toy. Strangely enough, I could not find it anywhere online. I wanted to see it because I found the saying odd for a child’s toy. But the illustration certainly gave me pause, particularly that day.

The first two months of 2018 have quickly gone by. Earlier this week, before coming across Truman’s speech, I felt a bit discouraged while realizing that one of the most important tasks that God put in my heart to accomplish this year is already falling behind.

At the end of 2017, I wrote my goals for the new year, and decided to add a new strategy to keep focused on my objectives and not waste time. I wrote down my main goals, and broke them down in smaller tasks, to be accomplished within a set timeframe.

Now, I know that life happens. When you are a mom of two school-age girls and with no extended family in town to count on for help, their schedule takes precedent over yours. It just happens. Since I work from home, I have been blessed to have flexibility, and because I have committed to keep my priorities in order, failure to manage my time in the past caused ministry work objectives to fall behind. No issue there. However, because of these past failures, I found myself looking back at what has not been accomplished last year and thinking: “There we go again — nothing will change.”

I believe everyone has some sort of paradigm that they do not wish to repeat, and yet, find themselves naturally drawn to. Nevertheless, whether it is a habit that we need to quit, or a past failure that keeps us bound, at some point in time we must realize that we are the only ones preventing our dreams from coming true by failing to commit to the needed changes.

Floggie bird flew backward, and as a result, he did not know where he was going. Truman called 1948 Americans to believe that the future could not be better unless certain changes were implemented. Throughout Scriptures, God also calls us to learn from our past, turn around, and focus our eyes on him for strength to change those things that keep us anchored to past failures.

As for me, today I choose to review my objectives, rewrite timelines and move forward, with a heart anchored not in the past, but in the blessed assurance that the one who started a good work in me is faithful to complete it.