“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
Someone has said, “People’s lives are limited by a compass of compromise, indecision, past thinking and lack of vision.” In an earlier meditation we spoke about the enemy of distraction. Distraction has a twin called compromise. If we are to live to our full potential in Christ, then both twins must be dealt with.
Then there is also our tendency to dwell on the past. Put in Bible language, we hear the Lord’s imperative to “forget the former things”. Work is done in many organisations specifically to address the imbalance of time spent on things that are in the past, when all possibilities for development and advancement lie in the future. In other words, less time spent reading minutes and more time enacting vision and strategy!
Similarly, some experts estimate that as individuals we spend as much as 80% of our time focusing on the past. If that is true, how do we enact personal change?
Some years ago I became conscious of God’s voice redirecting the use of my time. Much thought and prayer resulted in three significant statements that I purposed to live by. I wanted to focus my energy where I could build rather than bless, on what would be significant rather than merely successful, and on what was important and not just urgent.
These statements related to my life and ministry, but translate them into your own context. To what extent is your life driven by urgency to the detriment of that which is truly important? Are you building something in life that is truly significant (a business that has purpose, a strong family, godly personal character), rather than something that will produce short term success? And to what extent is your future being hampered by a fixation with your past? What is holding you back from moving forward?
I must pause to acknowledge those who have suffered immense setbacks in life or other trauma that has made it difficult for them to move on. But even in such circumstances, God has the ability to help and heal. No bad start in life, however abysmal, is beyond His power to redeem. God, who lives outside of time and sees the end from the beginning, knows how to bring you to that place of wholeness and fulfilment He has planned for you. Fully understanding your past, He beckons you forward:
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Does this resonate with you? Perhaps it is time to stop living in the past and embrace the present; to turn your attention to thinking, praying, planning and even dreaming about the future. All our possibilities are today and tomorrow!