Moving past the past
When did I become an idiot? I didn't use to be an idiot. I used to actually be rather smart (former Mensa member) and I had some real common sense. Now, however, that all seems to have left me to the point that some days it feels like I don't even know how to tie my own shoes. OK, that's hyperbole — but, truthfully, I sometimes find myself face to face with things that seem like they should be so obvious but that I simply haven't been able to get out of my own idiot way enough to see. And it does feel, to me at least, that I'm just blindingly stupid sometimes.
Here's the latest...
We've been talking at church about what it means to follow Jesus — to boil it down to brass tacks. For example, you know all that stuff that we obsess about doing or not doing? Yeah - Christ never said anything about those. He said to love each other and follow Him. The only thing He told people not to do was keep sinning.
Anyway, part of the focus of this series is that, when Christ said "Follow me" to His disciples (notably Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James, and John), they left everything they knew and followed.
Yesterday I was compelled to pray at the end of the service but, honestly, I didn't really know what I was praying about. As I knelt there, however, just talking through where I'm at right now, it dawned on me why I was there. So many times I've given God my future. "Lead me where You want me. Use me however You want. Whatever comes along, I'm Yours (even if it's not what I want and I grumble through the whole thing.)" That's all well and good but I've still had this nagging feeling that I couldn't figure out. But yesterday it hit me. I've given God my future, but I haven't given Him my present. And even more so, I haven't given Him my past. The mistakes of my youth, my failed marriage, all the things I've put ahead of God, the times I've simply turned my back on Him instead of running to Him, the temptations I still struggle with on a daily basis. Like I said, it seems so obvious now but it simply didn't occur to me that I needed to do that. I suppose I was so concerned with not repeating my mistakes and giving up — or at least trying to give up — control of the future. I felt like I needed to hang onto those things in order to learn from them. Not that I thought that through but that's my gut feeling about it.
So when Jason, our pastor, asked "What's holding you back from following Jesus more fully?", it was finally clear that what I needed to leave behind was my stubborn hold on my negative past. By continuing to dwell on — OK, not really dwell on but maybe keep my eyes on and fingers in — those past situations and not giving them over to God I keep myself from moving forward into the amazing future that He holds in store for me. I don't know if this is the case for everybody. In fact, I rather suspect it's not. I'm sure that most of you can hold onto your past situations more tightly than I can and deal just fine. But for me, well, I've learned the lessons of my past. I know the mistakes I've made and the things I've mired myself in and don't want to relive them. I know what I would do differently if I ever have another woman in my life. In short, I'm a different person than I was. I won't forget the things that have happened. They are, after all, part of the very fabric that makes up the tapestry of who I am today. But I can't continue to think about and (over) analyze my past. So I gave it to God. And, like most things, I'm sure I'll need to continue to do so while I work to change this ingrained habit of mine.
Last night, Thing 2 and I went to a concert. One of the performers was Lauren Daigle who I quite like and who has some really good songs. But her final song was one I hadn't heard before and it not only reiterated the point from that morning but is so poignant and beautiful that it has easily become my favorite song by her. God, in His amazingly graceful way (and yet with a sardonic sense of humor), let me know that I needed to lay it down. Once and for all.