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Lord, Please Help Me Forget My Past!
By Brenda Rodgers
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
The other day I was slicing tomatoes to put on hamburgers for dinner. I looked carefully at each tomato, placing the knife just in the right spot so that my slices wouldn’t be too thick or too thin, and so I wouldn’t cut my finger. Suddenly my mind got lost in my tomato-cutting, and I was sitting on my grandmother’s sofa, a seven year old girl.
Make sure you watch what you eat, my grandmother proceeded to tell me, You don’t want to get too fat.
Where did that thought come from? I thought to myself.
As if I reached up and started picking tomatoes out of the air, this memory of my grandmother plopped right down into my mind. There was no forewarning. No trigger. Nothing related at all. This memory was a lost acquaintance trying hard to become my best friend again.
Isn’t that just how it is with memories from our past?
Throughout my day, memories from my past creep into my thoughts. They pop up, uninvited, and without any real purpose except to remind me of some not-so-pleasant experiences. There’s usually not a particular time they come from either. Some are from my early childhood, some from being a teenager, and even others as recent as a few years ago.
Ideally we want thoughts from our past to bring us happiness. Happy thoughts of people we love, celebrations we cherish, and places we felt comforted. We want our thoughts to lead to stories to share with our children and traditions to continue.
However, many times our thoughts leave us feeling one of several ways: discontent where we are now, remorseful for past sin, regretful for missed opportunity, or nostalgic over a simpler time. They try to reintroduce a lie that the enemy wants us to believe.
Rarely do they leave us without opening an old wound – without stealing our joy.
I began to notice that uninvited memories from my past are not equal to tomatoes magically falling from the sky. By meditating on them past their initial entrance into my mind, I am forming a habit.
In some way, I am trying to get something from them. Maybe I’m trying to justify an action. Maybe I’m holding onto resentment. Maybe I haven’t forgiven myself. Maybe I haven’t forgiven someone else.
But whatever the reason, by meditating on them instead of casting them away immediately, I am forming a habit that is stealing my joy.
God does not intend for our past to define the happiness we experience in the present. If that were so, then He would not have sent Jesus to take care of the past for all of us. We all must take every thought captive so that it does not become a habit that leads to dwelling on untruths instead of God’s truths.
So often thoughts from our past bombard our minds without us even recognizing them enough to stop them. They come in without permission or without an invite, but they leave us with a reopened wound.
We may not be able to completely stop unwanted thoughts, but we can prevent them from stealing our joy by not dwelling on them – by not allowing them to become a habit. Over time, they may just decide it’s no use to make a visit any longer at all!
Oh, sweet Jesus, I want to experience fullness of joy through You. I don’t want my past to steal my happiness. I also don’t want to dwell on untruths that do not bring me life. Please help me forget my past and open my eyes so that I can see the new thing You are doing in me on a daily basis. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your gift of salvation, for making all things new, and for working everything out for Your glory.
For more encouragement, visit Brenda at Triple Braided Lifewhere women do life with Jesus moment by moment.
© 2013 by Brenda Rodgers. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Tuesday, 09 August 2016.