Dont Let The Past Keep You From Your Future

Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 2:03 PM

Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14,

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Do you ever struggle with wondering what should you do with past events or circumstances that you have experienced in your life?

Have you ever tried to simply “forget” those memories, or tried your hardest to distract yourself from the memory of those situations in order to move on with your life?

I’ve talked with lots of people who’ve tried their hardest to “forget” memories of the past.  Sometimes it works for a while to distract ourselves from the thought of those things, or to stop ourselves with a strong reminder that we are no longer allowing ourselves to remember certain things.  Oftentimes we use what are called “defenses” (rationalization, humorization, etc.) to help ourselves to not think of those things that we don’t want to focus on.  But those defenses can only work so well or so long, sometimes; and then the unresolved thoughts and feelings from the old memory may come back to bother us directly or disguise themselves in the form of symptoms of depression or anxiety.

So, how are we to apply what Paul is saying in the above verse to our lives?

According to the dictionary, “forget” can also be defined as: “to omit mentioning, to take no note of.”   In my experience, it can definitely be helpful when a person can reach a place of being able to choose not to discuss or dwell on a troubling experience from the past once a person has processed the feelings and thoughts related to the memory and then given it up to God.  We can sometimes talk about, cry about, think about a situation for years and years and never move on with our lives.  When we get stuck like that, I think it is important to seek out some counsel from someone who can help us realize what we’re doing and once and for all make a decision to place that situation into the Lord’s hands and choose to “forget” about it, or “omit mentioning” it.

I do think it’s important though, to first give ourselves the opportunity to validate and respect our thoughts and feelings related to the memory of whatever troubling situation we have experienced; and then it is equally important to work towards finding a way to entrust that situation into the Lord’s care and to do what we need to do to keep that situation in the Lord’s care rather than burdening ourselves down by daily picking it back up and thinking about it all over again.

It is when we are finally able to rest the situation into the Lord’s hands that we can then “press on toward the goal for which God has called me.” Paul is right that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to press on towards the goal while burdening ourselves down with memories from the past clouding our minds.

Is something from the past keeping you from pressing forward in your life?

Are you ready to explore whatever may be holding you back, and give it to God so that you can move forward with your life in Him?