Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks we face is letting go of the past, particularly if we have been hurt, or if wonderful people, relationships, circumstances, or events from the past are no longer part of our present lives.
As I mentioned in my opening post and on my “About” page, this is an area I have struggled with over the past several years since losing my Dad. Around that same time, my marriage also fell apart with my children’s father, so it was stressful and emotional in many ways.
It’s so easy to blame God, blame others, and beat up ourselves over real or imagined failures. But what does that accomplish? It certainly doesn’t produce peace or confidence in who we are today, nor does it help us move forward. Instead, we remain mired in the past, drained of strength or desire to face our daily lives and responsibilities.
My parents used to read a wonderful devotional book together (Mom still does), and since Dad died, Mom gave my new husband and me a copy of that book. It’s called “31 Days of Praise,” written by Ruth Myers. Among the numerous thought-provoking daily devotions is one I have highlighted, underlined, and circled – and tried to implement in my life.
The general theme (Day 14 for anyone who has, or plans to purchase, the book) is renewing the mind and walking in newness of life, allowing God to develop the gifts He has placed in each one of us. This is the line that is particularly meaningful to me: “...I need not be forever shackled by my past…” but instead, by God’s grace, “…with confidence and joy I can look forward to actually becoming all that [He has planned] for me to be.”
This necessitates taking an honest look at what’s holding you back – what is shackling you – and then dealing with it. I have been endeavoring to do that in this year of 2011 so far… facing some painful truths, setting things straight, forgiving and asking forgiveness, and taking some baby steps forward. I have further to go – but it’s a good start – and on those days I struggle, I repeat to myself, “I need not be forever shackled by my past…”
How about you? What’s holding you back and not allowing you to let go of the past?
Remember – YOU need not be forever shackled by YOUR past!
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandi
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one. ~Henry Ward Beecher
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes, “Forgiveness – The Power to Change the Past,” Christianity Today, 7 January 1983