God has so much more ahead of us than we could possibly believe.
That’s why the Apostle Paul said that he resolved to keep moving forward: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14).
But forgetting the past is easier said than done. The past continues to haunt our present, weigh us down, and keep us from running.
We need to resolve to leave the past in the past so we can run in the present, but we also need help with how.
Below are four weights that keep us from running the present and how we can “forget” them and leave them in the past.
Losses include more than people. We can experience loss when our dreams collapse, when we lose a job, or when plans or relationships fail. These losses weigh us down and make us feel like there is no hope.
How to leave it in the past: grieve. God has given us a way to deal with losses: eyes that cry. That’s why we have funerals. We gather friends and relatives and grieve together. Sometimes we need to have a funeral for a lost dream, vision, or relationship.
People have hurt us in many ways. We hang onto these things because we rightly feel that justice needs to be done against wrongs.
How to leave it in the past: forgive. Forgiveness means that we commit it to God as a Just Judge and release ourselves from needing to do anything about it. When we commit to letting it go, we can have peace. This is something we will often have to repeat mentally several times before we are really able to leave it in the past.
Our sins and failures from the past make us believe that we are unlovable and worthless in the present. They keep us from taking hold of the gifts and opportunities that God has for us now.
How to leave it in the past: trust. Believe the promises of the good news about Jesus Christ. God loves you and wants to forgive you no matter what you’ve done. He values you and wants to use you no matter how many times you’ve failed. You’re still His workmanship.
Ironically, the blessings of the past can keep us from enjoying the present. We liked what happened before so much that we can’t enjoy the present (see Ezra 3).
How to leave it in the past: give thanks. We should be thankful for the blessings of the past and not try to re-create them. Be thankful for the place you grew up, your old job, your old friends, or a loved one who has passed on. Give thanks to God for the blessing in your life, and recognize that the same God who blessed you in the past wants to bless you in the present in new ways.
We must not let these things weigh us down and keep us from running in the present. Why? Because God has so many more opportunities and blessings for us! “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18–19).