“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”- C.S. Lewis.
Without a doubt, we spend too much time in the past — even though the past is over and done with and the future is as vast as the Atlantic Ocean.
In reality, though, you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Yes, of course, the past is familiar; it’s cozy and comfortable, while the future is unknown, uncharted and uncertain. But moving forward brings peace of mind and hope. Only the first step is actually daunting, but leaving the land of the familiar may be the gutsiest thing you do in your life.
Whatever situation, conundrum or dilemma you are facing, here are the cold hard facts. Most of your greatest challenge is in your head. In fact, it’s probably all in your head.
You can’t reach out for the future with one hand while holding onto the past with the other. Just doesn’t work that way. You have to let go of something to get something.
As Mark Batterson suggests in Win the Day, it’s time to bury your yesterdays. Bury them and be done with them. Hold a mock funeral if you have to, but it’s time to put away the hurts, the damaging words, the burned bridges, the old relationships, the lies and innuendo, the failures, the defeats, the missteps and the harmful mindsets that led to destruction. You’ve carried that baggage long enough.
You may never forget, but you can let go of the pain. You may always carry the scars, but the scabs and itching will be history. What’s holding you back? Is it the actual event, or is it the wound from the event that you are carrying? Face it straight on, tell it goodbye and don’t look back. When you move forward, resist the urge to revisit and wallow in the pain and misery.
Tomorrow won’t be born until your past is buried, so refuse to straddle the line because the land of tomorrow requires both feet. Celebrate the victories, learn from the failures, bury your yesterdays and take the next step into the unborn tomorrow.
If you’ve been so wrapped up in the past you can’t envision the future, it’s okay, but be determined and focused. It’s alright to take one step at a time.
Failure litters the road to success. Disappointment is the seed that grows victory.
Are you challenged to move forward? Here are a few guard rails to implement.
- Don’t isolate. You aren’t the only one facing similar circumstances, so find the right people to surround yourself with.
- Find an accountability partner who will help keep you focused. Remember, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This may be the most crucial step you take to break ties with the past and move into your future.
- Remove the temptations to revisit your past: Old messages on your phone, pictures, even people who are determined to remind you of failures or defeats.
- Replace negative memories with encouraging thoughts. Post-it notes with scriptures, messages of hope, inspirational ideas or good reminders of your future.
- Set clear boundaries that will help guard your heart, your mind and your daily routine. Boundaries that will guide you to the future on the clearest path without detours.
- Do one thing every day that will take you further into your future. Start to dream and let God guide your way.
If you’re ready to bury your yesterday once and for all, the first step is the decision. You may have tried many times, but if you’re really sick and tired of being sick and tired, say goodbye to yesterday and tell your heart to beat again.