Forget the past and look forward to what is ahead. That’s found in Philippians 3:13-14. Why forget the past? Why not wonder what if? Those answers will be found in the Bible. To forget the past is not to forget the experience but to forget the hurts and not to ponder and stew what has happened in your past. But to look forward to what is ahead, is to look to the future as it says in Philippians and experience the expectation of what is to come. We sometimes wonder what if? Why did this happen to me? Sometimes all questions cannot be answered, but the comfort that is enough is knowing that God is with you and He loves you.
Sometimes, realistically it feels like it’s not. Loneliness, sadness, depression, hurts, and disappointments are hard to ignore. The Holy Spirit was sent to comfort us and to give us hope and strength in knowing that God is a just God who will vindicate you (Romans 12:19), He is a Friend closer than a brother (Proverb 18:24), and He is a restorer (2 Corinthians 5:18). This world needs God. The fact that He sent His only Son, Jesus, gives you a picture of what true love is. You’re probably wondering what do you mean? For example, when a military personnel goes out to fight in a war, picture this, that is someone’s son or daughter giving their life for the freedom we are experiencing today. Without knowing or even realizing, the parents of military personnel love their country so much that their child is giving their life for you.
Let’s go back to forgetting the past. To only forget the past would be a hypocritical way to say nothing really happened to you. But the reason why we want to forget the past and move forward is because we want to put it to the side so we do not stumble upon disappointments, hurts, or mistakes that will hinder our journey. The journey is what we are looking forward to. This is our new expectation, our new goal, our new experience, our new vision, and our new identity. When I say “identity” it is not to lose who you are but to polish, enhance, experience, and reinvent who God desires for you to be (Isaiah 43:18-19). You see, God made you unique, He made you who you were supposed to be (e.g. your personality, traits, gifts, talents, etc.). Past experiences are what builds our character to be stronger, more polished, enhance our skills, experience life differently, reinvent and revive your dreams again.
Letting go of the past is scary. It’s hard for me as I’m saying this today. Thinking if I let go, what will I have to hold on to? And that is the point. There is no need to have one hand holding on to the past, while the other hand it stretched out to the future. If you were to demonstrate one hand stretched behind you and the other stretched before you, you will see that it contradicts. It contradicts in direction. There is nowhere to go! You cannot go in both directions. A decision has to be made, and that decision should be what is best for your future. This future can include a business, a new marriage, a new friendship, a new relationship, a new car, a new house, a new pair of shoes (I love shoes), school, or _______ (you fill in the blank). That blank line should be filled in with a dream and the skills God has given you.
Picture this, the hand behind you is like holding on to a 6-foot deep pole that is cemented into the ground or an anchor to a ship. If the ship wants to move forward, it raises its anchor so it could move towards its goal or destination. If the captain decides not to raise its anchor, the boat will be floating for a very long time without going anywhere, without achieving its goal, or reaching its destination. It will simply be floating and rocking side to side, front and back, as though it wants to depart but remains unable. These are the lives that we do not want. We want a goal that we can reach that is realistic, a destination that we can attain and achieve, and a new perspective in life of what we have learned, where we have gone, and what we have experienced. When you’re on the ship or a boat they always say to look to the horizon so you don’t feel sick. Isn’t that amazing that you would have to look forward and far to feel as though you are safe and not get sea sick? But if you look closer you can see the waves and feel the waves crashing against the boat more intensely. Somehow, looking in the distance makes us realize it we are passing through. The horizon can symbolize our mental health, physical health, and a goal that can actually make you feel better. Everyone needs to feel safe, loved, understood, and embraced.
Sometimes our society teaches us that we should take care of ourselves by ourselves. But in reality we all need something or someone to lean on. Some call a friend, some have a parent, a sibling, counselors, mentors, or Pastors. Most importantly we need to reach out to God and His Word first. Sometimes the past holds you so tight that it’s hard to let go. But as the Bible says, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). If we believe that all things are possible through Christ and continue building ourselves up spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically then we are capable of moving forward if we really wanted to. But again, we can’t go or do something new, or be who God has created us to be unless we let go. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:13-14) We just have to believe it!
I challenge you today, to list on a sheet of paper what you have accomplished in the past. Not pros and cons. This list is only things you have accomplished such as graduated high school, got your driver’s license, got a new job, purchased a new car, purchased a new house, a new outfit, changed eating habits, have a family, or even started a new devotional. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the accomplishments are but to see all that you have accomplished is what you were capable of doing in the past and shows you that you are capable of doing even more in the future. This can be a daily reminder of what you can do and not be so hard on yourself. It could be as easy as making your kid breakfast today or taking your kid out to lunch or to the park. Yes, those are accomplishments. Accomplishments are not standards of what other people think or what they should be, but what you have created them to be. No one has brought you out of your past except God and your willingness to forget the past. He has always been in the midst of it all. Sometimes you feel you’re alone, but as you list your accomplishments try to remember God’s interaction with your circumstances, and in those instances we can see that all of a sudden those were little miracles in our day!
Look forward to what is ahead, knowing that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens you every step of the way. Who gave His life so you can experience a better life (John 10:10) and who’s love will sustain you as you choose to forget your past.
Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)! I believe in you and you should too. Have a blessed day! ❤
Thank you God for giving your Son, Jesus for us and for helping me forget about the past and look forward to a more expectant future. Amen.
Reference: Bible verses are New International Version
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