Isn’t it amazing how much power the past seems to have over us?
When my family gets together we typically find ourselves sitting around the table sharing stories, stories from the past. Many of the stories bring smiles, cause infectious laughter, and perhaps even a reflective pause of thinking about and remembering those not with us. Most of the time those stories from the past are like our favorite robe, you know the one you grab when you want to really feel warm and comfortable, all wrapped up in such familiarity. It just feels right.
But sometimes our past takes on a life of its own. Some of us can get so wrapped up in reliving the events and people in our lives that we carry the past around with us everywhere we go, pouring out the stories whenever we can. For many the past is filled with stories from a difficult childhood, an abusive marriage, a string of broken relationships, or financial hardships. All painful things that one should want to put away, but for some strange reason many hold on tight to the past – no matter how painful it may have been. It’s like getting stuck in the mud and not being able to move forward. And sadly, this dwelling on the past keeps us from the Joy of the future.
The problem with carrying the past around with us like our favorite robe is that we are so focused on the past that we’re blinded to what’s right in front of us and around us. We miss what God has for us, big and small. We miss how He will turn our deserts into fields of wildflowers, our dry streams into rivers of flowing water.
We can either keep on carrying around that baggage of the past, or we can nail those painful, Joy-stealing stories from the past to the Cross. It’s a clean sheet of paper every day, filled with a whole heart surrendered to God.
The choice is ours!
What might you need to let go of to move forward to the Joy of the future?