Carrying around some of the chains from your past will not only make the journey miserable and steal your joy from the whole adventure, but it limits you, and grounds you from moving forward. Before you can step into the height and beauty of the future for all that God has in store for you in this life, you must break off any chain that may be holding you back. Once we make the decision to surrender our lives to God and walk with Him, many times one of the first things God may do is to take us back to our past. He does this not to torture us, but so that we can begin to unchain ourselves from our hurtful past and clean up any wreckage that may have occurred.
Before you can move forward into God’s divine purpose for your life, you must have may have to deal with specific problems from your past. These can come from decisions you or someone else made that resulted in pain. Wherever the hurt in your past comes from, it’s important that we find the courage to temporarily park there, simply to heal and then remove the hurtful chains.
It is almost impossible to move forward without unchaining yourself. Perhaps you are going into a new relationship, but you are still carrying the chains from your last one. These chains may be holding you back and keeping you from fully embracing the future.
Spend some time with God and let Him reveal to you those things that are still chaining you to your yesterday. And then begin to untangle and unchain yourself of hurts from the past, so you can release yourself from the bondage to your past so that you can move forward because we are not slaves to our past!
It can be frightening, but necessary to learn to let go, not just of those hurtful chains from our past, but also of our idea of how we thought things were supposed to turn out. Some of our greatest disappointments will come as we wait for the life that we thought we would have. This will always leave us stuck, and never moving towards the future. We stay stuck in the past when we believed certain things were supposed to happen in a certain way.
Don’t focus on what should have been, but rather focus on what will be. Jesus and his disciples could have remained in mourning after their Saviour was brutally beaten and hung on a cross (Mark 10:34). I’m sure they thought this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. But the power of Christ’s resurrection launched them into their mission to expand the church and preach the gospel to the lost, moving towards the hope of the future.
There is a difference between remembering the past versus actually living in the past. You won’t find God in the past. His name is not I WAS, His name is “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). If we live in the past, we’ll miss what God wants to do next, in the future.
Although, remembering the past is a beautiful thing. In fact, remembering the past is remembering those moments where God’s faithfulness shone through. So when we doubt or fear the future, it’s important to remember the faithfulness of God in the past. God Himself reminded the Israelites to “remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years” (Deuteronomy 8).
To remember holy divine moments is to remember God’s faithfulness. I encourage you to always remember His faithfulness. But to try to live and dwell in the past, it’s difficult to move forward where God is ready to create something new. As you are living in the past, you’re missing the opportunity to seize the future God has for you. Don’t linger in any place for too long or you will miss what is ahead.
As we begin to heal our past, remembering the past and the Lord’s faithfulness, it’s now time to put our attention forward, not backward. Paul encourages us in Philippians 3:13-14 as to where our attention should now be focused. He states, “but one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
Many of us want to move forward. Many of us want to let go of what is tripping us up about our past. Many of us know that in order to move forward and seize the future ahead, we must let go of things of the past. If many of us know this, why is it so hard then to actually move forward?
In Matthew 22:14 Jesus says, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The Lord wants us to come up into His higher calling for our lives. He wants us healed of our pasts. He healed many people in the Bible with broken pasts and ended up changing their entire future. The woman at the well and her past provocative lifestyle, or Paul who murdered Christians, and King David, an adulterer. All these characters of the Bible, whom we know as heroes, had pasts they could have clung onto, but they chose to take that step to move forward, and they ended up living lives that still impact us today. They made a significant difference as they helped expand the Kingdom, but they all had to let go of their pasts in order to seize the future ahead.
There is nothing too shameful, too far gone, and too hidden about your past that you can’t move forward from, for this is why Jesus came; to forgive and die for our sins (John 3:16), and anything in our pasts that threaten to hold us down in shame. Make your past story your purpose for today.
Make the mess of your past your message you share with others today. Your purpose is about your past story and God will “work together with all things for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). He can turn the bad into good. We are all called to go higher with the Lord, but not all choose to move forward as we are still tied to our pasts. Make the decision today and choose to use your past for His purpose.
We all have treasured memories from our pasts that we will never forget. Just so, we also have many tormenting or shameful things from our pasts. Our past is a part of who we are and who we have become in the Lord. Let us make sure that we remember the past, but not live in it. Let us go through the painful process of unchaining ourselves from things we were attached to in the past as God wants us to live in complete freedom.
Let us then run the race forward, bound to nothing holding us back. Even painful moments from our pasts can be used by God as He did with many others who went before us, and He wants to do the same with you and I today. Do not let your past stop and prevent you from becoming everything that God is calling you to become in Him. Seize the future ahead and use all that past for His mighty purpose and glory.