Your Past Doesn’t Define You

The past…. That’s what we’re talking about today. In the last few weeks I’ve had quite lengthy conversations with a few friends concerning this issue so I thought, why not pen it down? As I begin, I understand that we have gone through different things and I don’t want to downplay your experiences. However, regardless of what you have been through, remember there is healing at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Drop the Baggage

A doctor once told us that according to his findings, more women suffer from heart conditions than men. He mentioned that he didn’t quite know the reasons as to why heart problems were more common among women, but I have a couple of guesses: Many women carry a lot of baggage. Unlke men, we struggle to get over stuff.

So many of us are still living in the past. We’re caught up in the things that were done to us and our regrets and mistakes. We blame ourselves for stuff that happened even when some of those things were out of our control. And yes, some of the things were unfair to us, and it did hurt.

But to be honest, we cannot continue to live in the past. We have to move on. We have to let go of the pain that we have carried for so long, and this especially affects women. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders when Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV).

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

First things first…. Forgive

You’d be surprised how lighter you would feel if you just forgave those who hurt you. The thing with unforgiveness is a lot of times the person that wronged us, doesn’t even know that they did because we never let them know! Let them go. It is therapeutic, the heart feels so much lighter after making the decision to forgive.

There’s a saying that goes like, “You are not responsible for who/what hurt you, but you are responsible for your healing.” I found this piece of advice so profound!

If you do not know where to start in the journey of moving on from the past, start by forgiving.  While at it, don’t forget to forgive yourself. This is another area that Satan takes advantage of. If you feel like you did something stupid, you’re not good enough, you should have done things differently, you do need to forgive yourself, brcause none of those things are true.

A Healthy Mind

What controls your thoughts controls your life. So what are you allowing into your mind? If it’s the past, then you will always live there. Things like guilt, regrets and remorse are meant to keep you from enjoying the present.

Derek Prince shared that the devil understands that whoever has control over your mind, has control over your life. So he will work extra hard to ensure that your mind is full of self-doubt, guilt and always thinking of the past. But God wants you to know that it doesn’t matter what you did, you are forgiven as soon as you repent! Those things are thrown in the sea of forgetfulness.

Micah 7:18-19

Where is another God like you,
    who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
    overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
    because you delight in showing unfailing love.
Once again you will have compassion on us.
    You will trample our sins under your feet
    and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

God wants us to have a healthy mind. How can we do that? Through prayer, reading the Bible and through music (praise and worship). But by being in constant communication with God, one is able to keep negative thoughts at bay.

Another thing that I need to mention is,

  • What are you watching/listening to (TV/Music)?
  • Who are your friends and what do you talk about (remember misery loves company)?
  • What places to you expose yourself to? What are you eating?
  • What are your beliefs (the negative ones) and how have they shaped your life?  

All this things have a lot of influence on the state of our minds. A lot of us, have allowed things and people that have distorted our mindsets completely!

So what are you allowing into your mind? Do a thorough self-examination of the things you have allowed into your mind and find the root cause. Then cut those roots off! Of course all this things are though the help of the Holy Spirit.

As you cut them off, replace these things with what God says in His word.

Therapy

I’ve found myself recommending therapy to quite a number of people. Life is hard, and we all have different coping mechanisms. And if it gets too difficult to handle by yourself, there is no shame in seeking professional counselling services. Contrary to what many people think, counselling is all about talking. In that space, one is given a safe space to unburden the things they’ve carried. Try it.

In the African setting, we like to pretend that all is well when it’s really not, don’t pretend. God wants us to be whole and if one of the ways of achieving this is by seeking professional help, on top of talking to Him, please do it.

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