Think of someone in your life who has had a rough past. They were injured and it seems they “walk” through life with a limp. Now, you don’t judge them. Life dealt them a complicated hand. You look on them with love and compassion. At the same time, …don’t answer too quickly, but…do you feel the same empathy for you? Or are you convinced the pain and stain of your past is destined to color your future? What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could use your past as a recipe for a better future? Would you extend yourself the same grace to try?
Would you be willing to:
1. Scan the horizon.
First, remember your past. You don’t hear that a lot. Experts, authors, and even advertisers encourage us to move forward. Set goals. Just do it. The past is painted as a lost cause or not worth returning to. I disagree. There is a lot to be learned from our past.
With a healthy view of your past, you start a better future.
So, take a look back and learn from your pain and your missteps. It may help to write them down. For a moment, jot down the laundry list of bumps in the road. This isn’t an invitation for a pity party, a time for bitterness, or a time to get stuck there. But, it is worth looking back at the pain.
Now, don’t stay there.
Release – or re-release – those hurts to God. Ultimately, He found value in the experience for you or His Mighty Hand wouldn’t have allowed it. So, let go of that pain and give it back to the only One who can handle it perfectly. You can’t change the past. And hauling it around doesn’t change a thing.
Now, as you embrace your past and release that hurt to God, you will notice the hurt and the pain begins to fade on the horizon.
2. Remember your future.
Do you wonder how can you “remember” something that hasn’t yet happened? Tricky, right?
Scientists discovered the same area of the brain used to recall your past is also key to your future. They found if you choose to envision the future based on your past, it’s more likely your future will imitate your past. And, you may miss the future.
Although, it’s important to process your past, it’s not healthy to frame your future through that same lens. Just as God looks “through” Jesus to see a Believer as spotless and cleansed, we need to choose how we look to the future. You have a choice–through a dirty, broken lens or a shiny, new, clear one.
Subsequently, choose a new course for your future by basing your hopes and beliefs on God. He is reliable. God loves you like no one else ever can or will. He has a plan for your future.
Try it. See if others notice. You may inspire someone else to “remember” their future and experience the fullness of God’s love.
3. Embrace the journey for a better future.
Now, travelers, once you’ve scanned the horizon of your past and used that to “remember” your future you are ready to live in the “now”. Let’s think of it this way:
If your house needed painting because of the sun damage over many, many years, you would paint it. Sounds simple enough! Your life doesn’t have to be that dissimilar.
Now, with your peeling-paint house: You would scan the past damage. Assess it. As a result, call it what it is. No frustration that the house’s paint isn’t getting better over time. Just an accurate assessment of the natural wear and tear. Next, you’d gather your supplies, or for the bigger jobs enlist the help of experts. And then you’d paint it! You would change the future by accurately assessing the past, addressing the future, and living in the now.
So, put on your painter’s pants and do that for your life. Break free from your isolation, refuse to be bound by past pain, take steps with a professional to make new choices for the future, feel the love around you, and begin to bathe your soul and mind in God’s truth.
You can choose to do it.
God often uses the pains and hurts from our past to grow us so we can help others.
“All things work together for good to those who are called.” Romans 8:28
Now, you were never meant to make this journey on your own. Many of our childhood hurts were not our faults. They weren’t your fault. But it is your choice now what you will do with that hurt.
God has plans for your life and they are grand. Bigger than you may imagine. But join in Him in anticipation for all He has in store for you. He won’t leave your “house” peeling and unprepared for the future. God wants to help you pursue a life of purpose as you journey with Him.
If you’re curious about how to take those next steps, I’d encourage you to reach out to me. Let’s set some time to talk in person or online. I can help you start a journey to a new horizon no matter how rough the seas feel right now.
You can also assess the past and “remember” a new future when you grab a copy of my free eBook, Experiencing Divine Drift, to begin that restoration process. I’m here for you.