If you’ve lived for any considerable amount of time, you’ve experienced some type of pain. We’ve all had some challenges that we’ve had to face. Some we’ve been able to overcome, others we’re still battling every day. Our pasts can be our greatest teachers in life or they can be devastating nightmares that we’re unable to wake from.
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren wrote:
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
I love this quote by Rick Warren. In fact, if you haven’t read his book The Purpose Driven Life, I would highly recommend it. His perspective is spot on. It’s easy, when you’ve had a difficult past, to remain in it. The trauma or experiences you’ve suffered have a way of shaping our views about life. The opposite is also true. If you’ve experienced overwhelmingly good things, it can be easy to get stuck in the past, thinking that nothing will ever be as good as the past was. Whether your past was a great one, a horrible one, or somewhere in between, you can choose to learn from your past and make a better future.
I used to disdain my past, but now I see it as a blessing. For years I tried to cover up what I had done, lived through, and what had been done to me. I wanted to hide the mistakes that I had made to maintain the image of perfection that I deeply desired. Now, however, I realize that the imperfections, limitations, and hang-ups as a result of my history, come together beautifully to make me who I am today.
I hope and pray that you come to see your past as a blessing instead of a curse. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who rose above setbacks and problems to become heroes of our faith. Our stories are no different; we have the opportunity to build upon our pasts to a great future ahead of us. I believe our futures could be even brighter if we learned, over time, to see our pasts as lessons learned instead of anchors holding us back. Let’s build upon the foundation our past has established to make an even better world for ourselves and those around us.
Lord, you are sovereign over time and space, you know the beginning from the end, and our pasts from our futures. Forgive us for the times that we’ve let our minds stay stuck in the past, neglecting the present and forgetting about the future. Thank you for what we’ve come through and all of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Heal our hearts and minds and give us the courage to shed the baggage that we don’t need to carry into our future. Thank you that you are with us as every step of the way. Amen!