If you have children or grandchildren, you’ve probably seen the movie “Frozen” – many times. The theme song was “Let it go, Let it go, Let it go.” Kind of like leaving 2021 and headed into the New Year. Before we can focus on the new, we have to let go of the past. Easier said than done. Or, at least that’s been a challenge for me.
I used to say frequently to others (and myself) in counseling when discussing getting past our past, “Go to Lowes, get a ladder and get over it.” Your past and my past are different, but the principle of simply getting past our past challenges are universal.
What’s in your past that you need to get over so that the New Year can be more fruitful on your journey with HIM? What do you need to deal with, instead of kicking the proverbial can down the road? Whatever “IT” is, we have to deal with our past in order to get past our past.
Paul says it this way in a couple of scriptures: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: FORGETTING what is BEHIND and straining toward what is AHEAD.” (Philippians 3:13) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us THROW OFF EVERYTHING that HINDERS and the sin that so EASILY ENTANGLES, and let us run with perseverance the RACE marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1).
WHAT - It could be a SIN – sincere confession and repentance is the answer. Jesus died for my sins, iniquities, shame, etc. The question isn’t, will HE forgive, it’s will I confess and receive HIS forgiveness and grace. It could be a habit or STRONGHOLD that requires us humbling ourselves and seeking help. It could be a RELATIONSHIP that brings up past memories that may require granting and receiving forgiveness from others. Whatever the past, we ultimately will find help in SURRENDERING that situation to Him. It’s above our paygrade to change anyone, but we can make truth choices that sets us free.
We Are Products of Our Past, But We Don’t Have to Be Prisoners of It
WHY should we put the past in our past? We can’t run the race effectively with a backpack (baggage) strapped to our bodies. We can’t carry the weight of yesterday and today simultaneously. You can’t run the race pulling junk from the past. Have you ever seen a runner in a race pulling something behind him? We can’t drive forward looking through the rear windshield? We must deal with our past in order to get past our past.
HOW to let it go. Some SUGGESTIONS ….1 - It begins with our CHOICES. I can’t choose all the circumstances that occurred in my past, or present, yet I’m RESPONSE-ABLE… for how I respond to my circumstances. Forgiveness is a great priority in being a follower of Christ. Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion. When we forgive others, it’s like taking the arrow (root cause) out of our soul which allows healing to begin. Choosing to forgive is for our good, not the other person. Surrender that relationship to the Lord. It’s above our pay-grade to change anyone.
I Can’t Choose All My Past Circumstances, But I’m RESPONSE-ABLE For How I Respond to My Circumstances
2 – Realize that Quality CHANGE occurs ONE DAY at a TIME. God told Israel when they entered the Promised Land “ LITTLE by LITTLE I will drive them (enemies) out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” (Exodus 23:30) What are the giants in your promise land? Proverbs 13:1l tells us, “… he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Real change that lasts doesn’t happen in one moment; it’s a process. I remember reading a quote from John Maxwell, “You will never change your life until you change something YOU DO DAILY.” Change begins with a choice, but it’s not a one-time occurrence, it’s a continuous process. I made the decision to become a follower of Christ decades ago, but I manage that decision one day at a time.
3 – QUIT Rehearsing or Talking About IT and begin SPEAKING God’s Truth over your Situation. HOW by allowing the Word to become part of us; to change us. ISRAEL was delivered in one day from Egypt, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the Israelites. Have you ever noticed that when you talk about a “past” hurt or offense, that you tend to relive it to some degree? Your emotions get stirred up. Am I the only one who experiences that? I don’t think so. Quit talking about your past and begin to declare what God says about your future. It’s easier to control your tongue than your mind.
Quit saying I can’t and begin to say I can…..”I can do all things through Christ…” (Philip 4:13), “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7), “….you have overcome them, because the one who is in you (me) is greater than ..” (1 John 4:4) I encourage you speak God’s Word over you, your family and your life, rather than speaking your past over and over. “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21). Our words can build us up, or tear us down.
It’s Easier to Control Your Tongue Than Your Mind
Our DAILY Bread – the twenty-four-hour Rule. I read that Emmitt Smith, the NFL hall of famer who holds the record for rushing yardage (18,355 yards), has something he called the twenty-four-hour RULE. We can only imagine the pain (physical and emotional) he entertained with both the joy of winning and the agony of defeat over his long career. How did he do it? He said, "one play at a time, one yard at a time and one game at a time." Win or lose, he gave himself a twenty-four-hour span to savor the victory or let go of the defeat. Wow, there's a life-lesson for all of us on our journey with Christ.
What is it that you need to let go of as we leave 2021 and enter 2022? Before you can focus on the present, you have to deal with your past. Do it God’s way, instead of your way.