We all have a past. To some people it is pleasant to reminisce about what happened and yet to other people the mere thought of what they had to endure or go through brings depression and even tears to their eyes.
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Regardless of what past you had, Joel Osteen in step 4 of the seven steps to Living To Our Full Potential in his book Your Best Life Now, asks us to “let go of the past”. He implores us to “quit comparing our lives to someone else and quit dwelling on what could have been, should have been or might have been. Instead we should take what God has given us and make the most of it”.
I am one of those people who lie in the middle. I have some aspects of my past that bring sadness and regret and others that were so good that sometimes I find myself reliving those memories and wish life would go back to the “good old days”. In order to live life to the full we have to forget what lies behind. Below I share how we can ensure that we let go of the past.
1. Trade Your Ashes for Beauty
In the post what-dreams-have-you-buried I shared about the story of Joseph and how he was sold into slavery by his brothers. When the time came for him to reveal himself to his brothers he choose to forgive them for their actions and said “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Given that we serve a loving and just God who knows all the unfairness that goes on in this world, he has promised us ” a crown of beauty for our ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning”. I know sometimes we think what beauty could possibly come out of this hopeless situation but the truth is the work is not ours to determine that. What we are called upon to do is to trade our ashes and let God determine the beauty that will come out of it.
I like what Joel Osteen says on this point, he noted thus ” God can turn our scars into stars. All we need to do is stop inserting a question mark where God has already put a full stop.” With this in mind, each time I recall something bad or unfair that happened to me I immediately go into praising or reciting my affirmations. I cannot say I am completely healed but this helps me stay positive most of the time.
2. Live in The Present Moment
In her book Where Yesterday Lives, Karen Kingsbury correctly observed thus “there can be no growth for today if we choose to remain in our yesterday.” This quote is my reminder each time I find myself focusing on my past successes and yet my current situation does not in any way reflect those successes. In the same way God blessed Job and “made the latter part of his life better than the former part.” He can also do the same for you. The only thing for you to do is stop living today on yesterday’s blessing. You need to constantly remind yourself that your best days lie ahead of you and not behind you. In order to stay in the present you need to be intentional.
As I bring this post to a close I do so well knowing that letting go of the past is a journey. To some people this is a journey they choose not to embark on and instead let the past haunt and hurt them. But for those of you who opt to take the journey you will often feel relief and know that your destination is always in sight.
This week I beseech you to consider taking this journey and begin to experience the joy that comes when you choose to forget what lies behind and live life as it is presented to you each day.
Let us learn from each other, in what ways are you practicing letting go of the past? Please share in the comments section.