Each weekend, I'd like to post an article or story I've written. The one I've chosen this week is the very first of my entries that placed #1 in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge. It's from waaaay back when (August, 2004, to be exact). I recently came across it in my FaithWriters archives and thought the message is a good one that I'd like to share. Oh - and I have to insert here - this piece really is based on a true story. Yikes! :-)
Set the Toilet Paper Free
I'm about to tell you something very profound. It's an important lesson I've learned and I want to share it with you. Make sure you're paying close attention; you'll thank me later. Let's pause for a moment while everyone puts on their listening ears...okay. Here it is:
After each trip to the bathroom, check your shoes and make sure you didn't pick up any toilet paper on the way out. Because when you walk across the school parking lot with toilet paper trailing behind you, it's not a pretty sight.
Fortunately, I wasn't the one who brought the toilet paper along for the ride; it was my friend, Tammy. At first she was oblivious to the fact that she had company on her heels. Someone finally clued Tammy in and brought it to her attention that something long and white was dangling from her foot. She kicked helplessly, desperately trying to set the tissue free into the wind. A few shakes and few nervous sweat beads later, it was released from her shoe's deadly grip and up, up, and away it went!
But that wasn't the end of it, so to speak. For a long time, Tammy heard comments like, "Hey, Tammy! Wipe lately?", and she was mercilessly razzed about how the tissue was probably left over from the stuffing in her bra. And when a bathroom stall was out of toilet paper, kids would just call on Tammy, who most likely had a spare roll handy. She probably got a bladder infection from "holding it" so long, simply because she didn't want to be seen entering the bathroom, for fear of more ridicule!
But even long after the jokes ended and our classmates forgot all about the TP incident, Tammy still frequently looked behind her to see if that gleam of white was following closely behind, panic threatening to rise up at the slightest attachment to her foot. How embarrassing! I can't imagine the humiliation! She must have been horrified!
Oh wait. Hmmm--- Excuse me a moment while I rip something off of my shoe...
Sometimes I do feel I have a long strand of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. But instead of tissue, I am dragging along every sin, every mistake, every "oops" from my BC (Before Christ) past. It's trailing along behind me, square after square of every bad thing I've ever done. Oh, I've removed it by repenting. Probably more than once. Maybe several times. My Spirit knows it's gone, carried by the waves into the sea of forgetfulness. But for some reason my mind keeps telling me it's still there. I keep getting glimpses of white with every step. And even though God tells me it's not there anymore, I still look, just to be sure.
The problem with looking behind me is that I can't see where I'm going. And if I can't see what's ahead of me, I'll never get there. Or if I do, it will be with many bumps and bruises due to crashing into obstacles along the way, which could have easily been avoided had I been looking straight ahead in the first place! Because I have been born again, old things have passed away and all things have become new! (2 Cor. 5:17) Where I've been doesn't matter anymore. Where I'm going does. Looking back only slows me down, preventing me from becoming who God wants me to be.
So the next time you glance over your shoulder and see a stubborn little stowaway attached to your foot, give a little kick. Shake it off and keep moving forward. Eventually it will break away and fly off into the wind.
"No dear brothers and sisters, I am not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." (Philippians 3:13)