Bury the Past - Live in the Present!
Philippians 3:13 says, "I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead."
One of the most difficult things to achieve in life is to not live in the past. If we don't learn to bury the hurt and pain of the past, it will intimidate and stifle our present and future. Simply stated: Control the past or it will control you.
It is easy to look back to last week and rehash the disappointment our children brought to us; or to last month and rethink the anger we felt when we were terminated or laid off from employment; or to last year and relive the pain, hurt and rejection from the spouse or friend who left. It is so easy to do, but so dangerous to do. There is a definite price we pay for allowing ourselves this ï¿½unneeded luxury.ï¿½
- The joy of life is gone - the positive, expectant attitude does not show
- The present is stifled - we are not as productive as we should be
- The future is clouded - our goals are unclear
- The walls go up - we draw into a shell to "protect" us from possible future pain
There is hope, however! Losing one of life's battles does not mean you've lost the battle of life! Just because you have lost something in life does not mean you've lost life. Just because you experienced failure does not mean you are a failure. It's not wrong or unhealthy to be down. How you look upon your past will determine how you live today. How you choose to think about your past will influence how you choose to think about your present and future. God say's, "I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for evil - to give you a future and a hope!" (Jer. 29:11) God thinks good thoughts about us. We need to also. How can we learn to bury the past and live in the present?
I want to suggest three ways!
- Bury the Past by Expelling the Negative
Get out with it - tell someone about the hurt, pain, etc. Confide in someone you trust. Allow this person to hear you, feel with you, pray with you, encourage you. Do not go to more than one or two people. If you do, it will be a sign of wanting only pity and not real help.
Get over it - choose to let the past be the past. Nothing you can do now will change the fact of what happened. It happened! Drop it, forget it, let it go! This is a choice you make! Heb. 12:1 says, "Lay aside every weight that does so easily beset us." You need to lay it aside. You need to quit dwelling on the past. You choose what you continue to think about. Don't give into the temptation to pity yourself and continue hanging onto the hurt. Get over it.
Get on with it - begin to live in the present. Build your life on what you have, what you are, and on what God says you are. He looks at you as a bundle of potential, not a bundle of problems! He sees the good in you, not the bad. Build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
- Bury the Past by Replacing it with the Positive
Philippians 4:8 says, "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think of all you can praise God for and be glad about."
Think about the good of the past - What was good about the past incident? What happened that brought you joy? What did you learn from the experience? What was beneficial about the relationship, or the job, or the circumstance? Recount the positive. It couldn't have all been bad. Change your thinking from dwelling on the hurtful aspects to dwelling on the helpful aspects.
Think about the good of the present - Begin to list the things in your life that you have at this point. For example, you have a God that loves you, people that care about you, possibly good health, possibly a job with some income, a place to live, several abilities etc. Think on these things. There are many blessings we take for granted that will come to mind if you will begin to think about them.
Think about the good of the future - What do you want to do with your life? What do you desire spiritually? Vocationally? Relationally? Financially? Begin to set some goals in these areas, then formulate plans to reach these goals. Don't wait for marriage to do this! Begin now. Think about your future. It's exciting to dream, plan, and work toward your goals.
- Bury the Past by Embracing Jesus
Isaiah 43:1, 19 "Remember not the forever things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing."
Christ wants to do a new thing in your heart! He desires to bless you so that you will be a blessing to others. It is not His plan for you to hang on to the past so that it intimidates your present. He wants to free you from it! How will He do this?
You'll be freed if you surrender your past, present, and future to Him. In short, surrender your life to Him! Allow Jesus to be your Lord, your Guide, your Savior, your Hope. Trust Him to work out the details of your life. "Love the Lord God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength." (Luke 10:27) Let Him be everything ; your sustenance, your hope, your all!
Don't let the past govern you any longer! You can bury it and all its pain. You can be free to live a joyful, victorious, abundant life in Jesus. Determine to have it, and you will. Bury the past and live in the present!