||: Without realizing it, we often carry something around with us everywhere we go. We bring it out in our conversations, and it shows up in our attitudes. Whatever that thing is from the past may never have really existed, yet its power lives inside us and keeps us from moving forward. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18–19 Some of us take our past and, stress with us everywhere we go, towing it along behind us. Why do we do it? It’s familiar to us. It’s that warm and fuzzy bag of stories we like to take out and share with our family, friends, and coworkers. This comfortable past is often our “best friend.” It’s who and what we know best. It’s like a worn-out easy chair or an old pair of shoes that fits us and feels just right. But God commands us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18), lest we miss the new thing He is doing right in front of us!
When people talk about or think about their past, it seems to take on the characteristics of a real-life being. The past cannot breathe, talk, think, or do. However, it is immensely powerful and can take over our future if we let it. It’s like the sirens on the shore, luring you toward the rocks over and over again. Focusing on the past will certainly limit your choices for the future.
For a lot of people, I know the past holds a difficult childhood, an abusive marriage, or a financially draining job loss. Yet no matter how painful our past may have been, for some strange reason we often choose not to let go. In order to get on with our future and simplify our lives, we must choose to make a clean break and leave the past behind. Each of us has a powerful choice. We have the ability to create our own simplified future by starting with a blank sheet of paper and a heart surrendered to God’s will for our life:||