Leaving the past in the past

This is actually something I wrote five years ago, that I tweaked for today as it is still true of my life. It reminds me that I don't have to get stuck. And my life is pretty good really. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to count our blessings and remember how good God has already been. If He never changes, and He's already blessed us so memorably, why would He not keep doing so???

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As I sit here and ponder the things that are going on in my life, it seems that it is very easy to dwell on the past. I can recount with painful accuracy every single thing I faced as the child of mentally ill parent. I can remember every moment of pain and friction in my first marriage which ultimately failed. I can remember every mean thing kids said to or about me in high school. I can remember all the times in my life I have been faced with pain--emotional or physical--and dwell on them. I can scream out loud until I am blue in the face, "Why me?"

But in taking just a brief moment to look to God, I see that the past needs to stay in the past. I cannot change or undo those things. I have survived every single moment of pain, embarassment, frustration, humiliation. I am here now, breathing and taking each moment as it comes. I have survived with God's help.

This morning, in my quiet time with my Father, I read through the book of Philippians. And two verses really stuck out in my mind. "Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

It seems that what I have already experienced is meaningless as I search for a better future. All those experiences have formed me, who I am and who I will become. But I will not be defined by them. I will keep my eyes looking upward and forward, seeking the prize ahead.

Sure, it's not always easy. I am human and I have this self-defined sense of judgment. I know what I think is fair and right, and I can point out to you whenever something in my life doesn't fit into that category. But life is not fair. People starve to death each day, as I toss away extra food. Children are living in cardboard boxes as I complain about the color of the carpet in my house. LIFE IS NOT FAIR. But when I change my view from past "wrongs" and instead look forward to all that is still waiting for me, the world and life has a much different value to me.

So today, my goal is to look forward to all the gifts that are coming and let go of all my past pains and disappointments. Boy, I can hardly wait to get the next blessing!

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