Proper Use of the Rearview Mirror

by Jan Powell


Let us not be weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”

(Galatians 6:9 NIV).



“Your heart is only working at 45 percent,” my brand new cardiologist said.

Quick to quip, despite my shock, I replied, “But that’s a failing grade, isn’t it?”

I hadn’t passed the walking stress test the previous Friday. And the concerned nurse practitioner had scheduled this follow-up with my doctor early Monday.

My anticipation of a retest dissolved with his next words, “We need to do a cardiac catheterization right away.”

Ready to find a fix for my exhaustion and erratic heartbeats, I said, “Tomorrow?”

I did the pre-op that day and arrived early Tuesday for the procedure. The outcome that revealed cardiac myopathy (weakness) stunned me.

I examined my life in the rearview mirror of memory. Though I’d gained weight in the last five years, I’d always been conscientious about food. I was a moderate jogger for decades, and since sixty, a consistent walker. How could my body have betrayed my lifelong efforts? This setback taught me to value my years of consistent self-care which had likely prevented an earlier crisis like a stroke or heart attack.

As writers we may need to look back. Years invested in writing, attending conferences, meeting with prospective agents and publishers, and establishing a social media presence engage our hopes to be published. Then, when we expect an entry to success, doors close. Silence and “no thank yous” fill our inboxes. Social media growth stagnates. Motivation lags. Our writing habits crumble and our unfinished works wait for our return.

Yet we can shift the aim of our glance behind us. Instead of navigating backward or despairing, we can remind ourselves how far we have come. We have made progress. We have gained skill along the winding roads of learning to self-edit, the bad weather of disappointment, and the detours that have sidelined our hard-earned determination and discipline.

The pause to check our rearview mirrors can strengthen our resolve and help us focus ahead on God’s plan for our lives. Recalling how the Lord took us through our decades of learning and effort will energize us, reignite our passion, and refuel our heart and minds to pursue our writing goals with renewed energy.

Father, in of all life’s journey, help us navigate our calling with appropriate glances in the rearview mirror of our lives. Amen.




Jan Powell, a graduate of the University of South Florida has two small businesses. Through Writing with You, she offers writing services: editing, rewriting, coaching and ghost writing for fiction and non-fiction. She loves to help polish manuscripts for others. She has been published in The Wordsmith Journal and Splickety.

One thought on “Proper Use of the Rearview Mirror”

  1. Hello Jan!

    Your article is exactly my cure for this waiting season. It’s great hearing from you.

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