Recently, I caught up with some old friends while on business back home in Augusta. We talked about a lot of different things, one of which was the subject of the past and that everyone has one. There isn’t one person that walks this earth that doesn’t have to deal with past decisions, actions, or circumstances. We have to deal with them or they will deal with us. I am convinced that there really are only two ways the past can affect you.
The first way is for the past to define you. This is when you allow yourself to be a victim of those past decisions, actions or circumstances. No matter how hard you try to run from the past, the past will always catch up to you. So everything is done with a perpetual limp, a lens that is used constantly to see the world through. Forward movement and growth are hard to maintain because you will always be taken backward until we choose to face your past.
The second option is for the past to refine you. Again, you will have things from the past to deal with. Junk is bound to happen, but you can decide to deal with those issues and use them to help make better, wiser decisions and to become a better, all around individual. Part of it is accepting your part in it all. If you did something wrong, own up to it. Don’t pass the blame. The second is realizing that you really don’t have control over life, only over how you respond to it.
Like I said, everyone will have to deal with past actions, decisions, and circumstances. Otherwise, they will deal with us. As much as I want to protect you from it all, I’m afraid you will not be an exception to this rule. However, I hope that you can go into life with the upper hand, with a better understanding of how it all works. And always remember:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! (Proverbs 3:5-8)