Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Your Past – The Bully

The past often feels like a giant that towers over you, limiting the warm, nourishing sun.  With its big rusty hooks in you, the past feels like the relentless bully who blocks your way from leaving the room and demands that you empty your pockets.  Even though it threatens and blusters, it cannot blow your house down.  The past has no power over you.  You can break free.
Life has truly given you a large lion’s share of grief, trouble, and betrayal.  There are times when you feel doomed to repeat cycles and incapable of jumping off of the merry-go-round, that was never fun for you anyway.  What has been done to you has such a pull, that you’ve been sucked into its orbit and you fear you will never escape.
You’ve made some mistakes, sometimes placing your trust in the wrong people.  The repercussions often feel like chains around your neck.  Failures and missed opportunities dance in front of you, taunting, and promising to never let you forget, to never let you move forward.  The consequences of every bad decision, made by you and for you by others, have a reach and power that always seems to overshadow any positive steps you make.  How is it possible that each misstep seems alive and strong enough to subdue and eclipse every good thing you’re now trying to implement in your life?
Take a moment and take a deep breath.  No matter how painful the past is, think about all that Jesus has done for you.  You weren’t created to be chained to your past.  Yes, the reality of your past may slow you down.  It may even require you to forge new paths or travel the long-way around to arrive at your desired destination.  In Christ, your progress can’t be crushed.  When doubt and anxiety move in, let the Lord fight for you.  Renew your mind by meditating on His word.  Do your best to stay the course and remain positive.
Keep light in your heart and the shadows of your past will flee.  Yes, the past, with all its heartaches and disappointments, was real.  All of that really happened to you.  However, living there now helps you as much as a motorcycle helmet saves you from drowning at sea.
Stop giving power to your past.  Stop believing that your past is stronger than now and every possibility that lies ahead.  Ultimately, the past keeps doing a number on you because you’ve handed it the access code to freely come and go as it pleases.  The enemy knows where your wounds are and will try all day long to trigger those buttons.  Yes, the past is a dangerous threat, especially when you keep moving to a safer neighborhood, but send the past a postcard with your new address.  If the people in your life are what anchor you to an unhealthy past, it’s up to you to remove yourself.  You owe it to yourself to walk away from any toxic situation.
Yes, most bullies aren’t known for having a change of heart.  Rarely do they decide that you’ve been tortured enough.  Bullies don’t know when to stop.  Bullies want everything – your shoes, socks and undies.  Bullies aren’t satisfied until your confidence level drops to the basement.  Bullies can be scary.  Bullies don’t quit. 
Well, don’t you quit either.  You can move forward.  You can stand up for yourself.  Bring every little thought captive, even if it’s a minute-by-minute requirement on your part.  Replace every defeatist attitude with a positive, affirming thought about your new plans.  Imagine better for yourself.  After everything, don’t you think you deserve it?  So claim it.  Live like it’s yours. Focus on now.  Be grateful that you even made it this far.  Don’t you dare give the enemy the satisfaction of keeping you shackled to fear and uncertainty.
It isn’t fair that your past was so painful.  It isn’t fair that people don’t appreciate how groovy and brilliant you are.  It isn’t fair that you were hurt by the people you love.  It isn’t fair that people have given you bare minimum effort for your loyalty.  It isn’t fair that your heart and life bears the mark of other people’s recklessness.  It isn’t fair that the ones you love spend their time celebrating and pining over others, who could care less if they live or die.  Just think of all those lessons you’ve learned.  Think of the wisdom that can’t be taken away.  Think of the warrior-heart that beats inside of your chest.  Think of how strong you are now.  The Lord has a beautiful plan for every nasty thing you’ve endured.  He can do a new work in you.  He is expert at restoration.  So trust Him and keep praising Him.

The light of the Lord’s promises is reaching out to you.  The past can only keep you away from your blessings if you remain convinced of its control in your life.  The power to move forward is yours.  You can move this world in a positive direction.  When you decide to wake up every day with victory on your mind and reject the lies of the enemy, the shadows of the past will disappear.

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