“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” – Isaiah 43:18.
Regardless of our season of life, we all carry something with us wherever we go. It is part of our conversations, it shows up in our attitudes, and it can significantly impact our life and our relationships. It is our past. We all have a past. Almost everyone of us is haunted by his or her past in one way or another. And just as many of us believe that our past challenges and/or difficulties is somehow related to our present. And unfortunately, that past continues to influence our relationships today because when we are bound to the past, we cannot fully live in our present.
The past can often be a prologue or preamble to relationship difficulties. That is because we enter into marriage with false or unrealistic expectations. It is easy to believe that marriage will solve any past problems that they bring into their marriage. It is not that easy. Marriage takes hard work and sometimes the hardest work involves dealing with the past. The past is hard to let go of, and it affects us emotionally. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. The past is there to train use, shape us, and mold us, so we become who God wants us to become now. If I don’t learn from the past, I may repeat it in the present and into the future.
The solution to the past is to see God, not yourself and all your mistakes or the mistakes of others. If I don’t learn from how God has moved in the past, and if I don’t trust God with the future, I will waste the present by being unfocused and reactionary. The challenge of the present is to focus on God. Having faith means believing God has a great future in front of us, and he uses the past to shape us for the future that lies ahead.
Yes that makes it sound easy. And sometimes it is not and often it is a lengthy process. It won’t happen overnight. But if we are committed to trust God and obey His Word, He will be faithful to give us the grace and strength we need to do what we can do and experience the present He has for us. The key is for us to focus on God and the here and now.
Think about it this way. Life is like a marathon. Anybody who has run a marathon or a half-marathon will readily acknowledge the race is very hard to race even running forwards. But people who get stuck in the past can be equated to running a marathon backwards. It’s counterproductive to move in one direction while looking in another. If you are trying to run in both directions at the same time I would encourage you to turn around and run in the present. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)
- In what ways does worry keep you from healthy relationships?
- Read Matthew 6:34: Does “don’t worry” mean “don’t plan?” What does God expect of us then?
- “Today’s trouble is enough for today.” What does that mean to you?
- What can I do this week to put the past in the past?