I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
~Philippians 3:13-14 NLT
To work on forgetting the past, I carried sentimental gifts, collections, and other accumulations to my garage for a garage sale.
My dark and threatening path through divorce brought me a God-appointed mentor. I had joked with Jan the week before that “out with the old and in with the new” was easier said than done. She agreed.
But it was too early to forget the past. I hung on to the injustices, still wanted to blame the guilty party, and wallowed in this pain that had brought this forced life change. Tears crept down my face as I affixed neon price stickers to once-beloved items.
People crowded my garage the morning of the advertised sale. The idea of trading sentimental knick-knacks and once-valued gifts for cash brought only a small thrill. I doubted trading old candles for a dollar would grant me any kind of great future.
Jan showed up later in the afternoon with a two-piece gift. The first was a notebook-sized composition book. She had printed a label and attached it to the front cover. I read the dark bold letters: FUTURE.
The second part of her gift was a miniature composition notebook. Its tiny label read PAST.
Jan knew I could not live in my past and overcome my past. But many of us try to do that. We want to forget the hurt others have caused us, leave behind the injustices we’ve seen, and forget the mistakes and messes we’ve made.
Nevertheless, too often, we focus on the past without a thought to plotting a fascinating future. Inside each of the notebooks, in Jan’s handwriting, was the biblical reminder to do just that.
During the sale, I watched special outfits whisked away from my wardrobe and wrapped collectibles in newspaper to stuff them in used grocery bags. The memories didn’t have the same sting as when I had prepared for the sale. Now, I dreamed about a fun and full future.
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
~Hebrews 12:1b KJV
Consider how much your past weighs you down. Remember, no matter what you’ve been through, or how badly you’ve acted or been treated, you can decide to lay it all aside. Forget about it. Then you can design and embrace the free, fun, and fascinating future God has planned for you.
God wants to do a new thing in and with you. Will you resist or help Him make that happen?
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
~Isaiah 43:19 NLT
What things keep you stuck in the past?
Dear Father, allow me to learn from my past but to lay all the rest of it aside. Fill me with Your hope and peace as I design and embrace the future You have planned for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2023: Forgetting the Past: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved