I’ve been doing really well. I mean, really well. My lines are shining bright, and with very little effort on my part.

But today, as I drove home from the city, a certain storefront caught my eye. I was on the highway, so it was there and gone in less than a second. But the memory of it was burned into my brain.

That store is associated with my most recent foray outside the bright lines. And the sight of it, however brief, was all it took to flood my brain with memories. I could almost taste it. I could feel the associated relief. And a part of me was prepped and ready to go after the real thing.

It didn’t get any farther than that. I knew right away that it would be unwise to entertain those thoughts, even though I didn’t feel any immediate danger from them. I was still in control. I was still very much committed. But thoughts like those are treacherous, and I was in a vulnerable position – my car is a place where I tend to feel a little too free. So I shut it down.

But it’s a funny thing. Since arriving back home, that sign has popped up again, in my mind’s eye, a few more times. And I may have indulged it, just a little bit. I told myself I was trying to do a little ‘parts work’. To remember what makes the food so appealing to me, so I could more easily resist it in the future – or even better, deal with the source of the cravings. After all, I was home. I was out of any kind of danger. This could be helpful.

But really, I was just enjoying the memory. I was feeling wistful.

It’s funny how things line up, sometimes. Today is my 8th day since committing to BLE, and since I hadn’t gone back to it yesterday, I re-read my blog post from day 7.

This was a case where, in seeming contradiction to the title’s warning, looking back was actually very helpful. It reminded me of all the reasons to resist looking back at the food.

There is no use in playing around with temptation. It’s not a game. I should know just how easily a thought becomes an action. No matter what commitment I’ve made, or how convinced I am that I’m not going to go back on my word, I should know: thoughts are not harmless.

Sometimes, I am very frustrated with myself. I wish I were better. I wish I had followed through on all the half-promises I made when I started this blog. I wish they’d been enough to keep me on track. I wish I’d been ready, back then, to really commit to BLE. It would be nice to have had a spotless record. A smooth road, without all these ups and downs. But I don’t wish I had waited until I was completely committed to BLE, before I started writing. Because Day 65 me needed Day 7 me. Somehow, I was wiser then, than I was today, and that past me was able to jump through time and remind the present me of what I already knew.

We shouldn’t look back at some things. For the most part, we know what those things are. We know what leads us into trouble. We just need to be honest with ourselves about them. But we should look back at other things, and for me, this was one of those things. It was a good lesson, and hopefully, I’ll learn it better this time around. It obviously didn’t stick, the first time.

Now comes the hard part: shutting down all those thoughts. Refusing to humour or tolerate them, even a little bit.

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:9
Day 65: Looking Back
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