Passing the Past
There is such a wide belief that the past is bad. Period. And since we can't change the past; and all we can do is "move forward" - the past should die and we should bury it. For those of us who are believers in Christ, nearly everything we learn and live by comes from a book called The Bible. And the entirety of that book is a compilation of the past. It is ancient information! Forget yesterdays "how to build a better you" article. That is old stuff. That is so yesterday! But we are trying to live a life based off principles that are far older, far more outdated than anything society would suggest as a smart lifestyle today. If you open doors for women and say "yes ma'am" you are "old fashioned". So what does that make us for "bearing each other's burdens, loving each other as we love ourselves, laying down our lives for our brothers"?
I'm not making a case for biblical living in a godless society. What I hope to accomplish in writing this is to bring a new perspective to how we view the past.
The past is important (if all else) because it measures our current progress. It gives us a place to look back at and see how far we have come. And I believe that faith asks us to do the same thing. If you are doubting God's faithfulness or goodness, look at what He did for you before. Look back and remember what He did, and how He got you through etc. The past reveals foreshadows of where God is trying to lead us. Often times we get confused, or we are not sure what the will of God is for our lives. And in many cases the answer is, "what was the last thing God told you to do?" That "thing" He told you to do would have been past tense at this "now" point in your life.
The past can be an idol, and it can be an obstacle. It can disable us from moving forward into the best God has for us. While I believe that to be true, I also feel like we are often prompted to move past our past when we are not ready too. Or at the very least, much quicker than we are ready too. Society has a tendency to generalize acceptable practices and then "universalize" them as "law" (so to speak). And I don't agree with that philosophy. Anyone with a hurdle or a struggle, no matter what it is - if that person is not intentional about their desire to overcome "it", they likely won't. It is a lot like telling someone how long it is acceptable to grieve. We are all different and there is no specific amount of time that would suffice for everyone. Moreover, I believe we have all been guilty of missing what God was doing in those situations and times in our life. We may have come to the realization later on. But many of the biblical greats were thrusted into their purpose because of something they did in their past. And although the Bible doesn't specifically tell us that they dwelled on their past, I think they were all equally as human as we are. They probably wrestled, hurt, suffered, and often had moments where the past revisited them in their present thoughts.
We are all familiar with the phrase "don't live in your past". I'd say that is impossible anyway. But I'll be the first to say that you can live in the present to the same detriment. Or even your future for that matter. But no one ever says "don't live in your now" or "stop living in your future". Any moment you live in on this side of eternity, live in that moment with the understanding of your overall purpose. If you need to grieve your past, grieve your past! And don't let other people scold you for doing so. In fact there is a lot that you can learn if you haven't pondered your own past. Maybe you missed some important clues that would make you a better "you". Or other clues that would answer current questions. I entitled this post Passing the Past because there is really only one destination that matters. Our purpose and calling as heirs of Christ. A people pursuing the heart of God with the desire to replicate the desires of His heart in a manifested way here on earth.
There are two things in life we can be sure of; death and taxes. But I say there are three; hope, love, and eternal life. And every day we advance closer to eternity, we have a history of Jesus intervention to look behind us and see.
Lastly, (and for some of you) - most importantly - I want to say that your past can never tell you who you are! Christ has already done that for you! The past are not the chains shackled to your feet called "defeat". You have never, nor will ever be defeated! Christ has secured the only victory that will ever matter. And it was done for us, and then handed to us. The past looks like many different things to all of us. And no matter what you see behind you, never forget who is with you. And never forget where He is leading you! Be reminded also, that when I mentioned His victory - it applied to all of those things. The things we did. The things we endured. The things done to us. There is one word that cannot live within you, and that word is defeat. It has no place in you! Let that sink in. Embrace it! Guard it with your life! You are not your pain, your mistakes, your failures, or any other thing. You are a son or daughter of the King!
Your past is just the excess clay the potter cuts away as He shapes you into a priceless artifact.
He makes all things new!