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“You can’t get where you need to be if you don’t face where you are.” ~ Joyce Meyer
I use to believe the past had nothing to do with today and certainly not our future. Once the day had gone, it was gone. Never to be seen or heard from again. I thought we could just push it out of our mind and those bad days or horrific encounters with certain people would be forgotten forever.
I was way off! It’s our past, the people and circumstances of it, that shape who we are today and who we will be tomorrow. When something bad happens, like losing a job or a friend due to an argument or a loved one passes, and we handle it badly, it stays with us. We can shove it down deep and refuse to look at it, but it will always be there.
When someone says something hurtful to us or mistreats us and we ignore it, it will stay with us. We often choose to ignore the person who hurt us. We even pretend the words or actions didn’t affect us. The hurt we experienced will always be with us. It will shape our actions in the future. It will cause us to make poor decisions that will not only be hurting ourselves but those around us too.
I believe it’s necessary to look back at our past, not to keep reliving the hurt and discomfort, but to improve and grow to become a better person. The hard part is in order to grow from these situations we need to look them square in the eye and walk through the pain and feel uncomfortable for a while. When we come up against something from our past that’s painful, we ignore it. We tip toe around it rather than walk straight through it. Ignoring the pain of the past is how we can get stuck.
When my mom was sick with Breast cancer I was her caretaker. When she passed I didn’t realize how it affected me. It was to upsetting to look at so I ignored it and stayed focused on the tasks ahead. Then years later when my husband got sick, the pain from my mother’s death that I hadn’t dealt with paralyzed me. My husband needed me to be his caretaker because he was to ill to take care of himself. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was terrified to. The last person I was a caretaker for didn’t make it and I felt responsible. I should’ve had the doctors work faster or do more. What if I couldn’t get the proper care for my husband? What if he passed while on my watch?
I had to work through the pain of my mother’s death and the guilt I felt. I needed to let God show me the truth so I could put the lie behind me. I had to believe God had a plan for me being my husband’s caretaker and trust He would enable me to do just that. Whatever the outcome was to be, I had to trust God with it.
In Matthew (5:14) Jesus says we are to be the light of the world. How can we be the light if we are covered in the dust of our past? Jesus knows our hearts and what hurts we are carrying around. We can call upon Him to reveal our past hurts. He can help you work through them if you just let him. Really though, if you stop for a moment I bet you can think of one, probably more, painful memories that you carry around today.
Ignoring our pains of the past keeps us from moving forward into the life God has planned for us. We let our past hurts control our lives by turning our reactions into negative ones. We block the blessings God desires to give us. We block the gifts God has given to us to build the awesome life He has in store for us. It stops us from getting to where we need to be.
So how are we supposed to work through the pain of our past? We should have someone we know well and can trust that we can talk to when the pain of the past creeps up on us. Talking is a great way to work through things. If you don’t have someone close to you that you feel comfortable sharing with, then I suggest finding a Christian Counselor. If you don’t know of one, I’m sure you can contact your church, or any church, to see who they recommend. Some churches even have Chaplains on staff that can help.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the beautiful plans you have for us. Lord I pray you help us to work through the pain from our past so we may move forward into the future you have planned for us, Amen
Over the weekend Robert and I were able to see Joyce Meyer in Sacramento during one of her free conference sessions. I’ve seen her TV show and subscribe to her magazine Enjoying Everyday Life, but had not seen her in person yet. The message was how to fight like a Christian. Joyce spoke about having past hurts buried deep down that we usually forget about but they keep bubbling to the surface with our reactions to things. She said we should pray and ask God to reveal these issues to us and help us work through them. I thought it was a great message and was thankful to attend this conference with Robert. However, I didn’t think the message was for me. I didn’t feel like I left the conference with any new information. God had something else planned for me and boy did it hurt!
When we arrived at the conference we had time to look over the resource table at all the books, CD’s and DVD’s she had available to buy. Wow! There was a lot to choose from. I think most of her conferences are put on CD and/or DVD for those who couldn’t attend. I found myself overwhelmed with all of the choices and tempted to say “I’ll take one of each”. Seriously, how do you choose when there are so many wonderful resources to pick from? After looking over all of them and not picking up one, because I was afraid I would find one I liked better, I decided to go back through and pick up the one (two, three or maybe four) that stuck in my head.
These are the items I ended up with:
- Speaking The Truth: Putting God’s Word to Work in Your Everyday Life. It’s a teaching CD and 28 topic cards. Each topic card, (ex: temptation, fear, faith or humility) describes what the topic is and how God would like us to be. It also lists about 9 different scripture passages to go with the topic.
- 8 Ways to Live Conflict free. I’m all about avoiding conflict so I thought this would be perfect for me.
- Embracing a Life of Leadership: Having the Heart of a Leader. I continually find myself in leadership roles having no idea how I got there so I thought this CD set could help me embrace it instead of always wondering what I’m doing.
- The Power of Words: What You Say Can Make All the Difference. I thought this would help me speak God’s Word more confidently.
I’ve been listening to The Power of Words CD’s in my car all week. On disc #2 Joyce is talking about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The beginning of her talk is about the type of words that should NOT come out of our mouths, the first being complaining. She mentions all the constant complaining the Israelites due regardless of the many miracles God performs on their behalf. Joyce also says “look for the treasure in your trial”.
But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Exodus 17:3
I was recently asked to help out with something and obediently said yes. Then complained, a lot, because it’s not what I had planned. There were other things I wanted to do. At the time I didn’t think my complaining was actually complaining. I thought I was just voicing an opinion. After listening to Joyce and her message I realized I was definitely complaining.
When I was first asked to help and said ‘yes’, I knew I had a bad attitude. I had asked God to help me shake the attitude and be grateful I was being asked to help. He did. Isn’t it amazing how God already had given me the resources I needed right when I needed it. He knew I was going to react the way I did and made sure I had the resources needed to help me get past it. God is so good! Recently He has reminded me, over and over again, that he is truly in yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amazing!!!
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. Matthew 11:29-30
The moment when I realized I was the complainer Joyce was talking about and my words were dishonoring God I fell on my face and cried out to Him. I thanked God for gently showing me my sinful ways and asked Him to forgive me. I thanked God for the abilities He gave me so I could help. I told God I trusted His plan and timing and believed He would provide a time for me to accomplish the other things I felt I needed to do. I asked God to reveal to me anything on my to-do list that wasn’t His will.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for being kind and gentle with us. Lord, I pray our eyes and heart are open to your teachings, Amen.