Let the Past Have Its Place

Live in the present.  Have you noticed that “being mindful” or “living in the present” is very trendy lately?  I hear (or read) the reminders and the admonitions almost everywhere.  It seems f the phrase or idea is used to validate just about any everyday choice – from the worthwhile to the ridiculous.  But that is often the case with any current idea.  There really is nothing wrong with the idea and I understand, even appreciate, what is most often meant when I read it; however, just for the sake of this post, I looked up the definition: to pay attention to and appreciate one’s current situation or the events currently happening in one’s life, without being overly focused on or distracted by the past or the future.

There is a lot of good advice in that definition.  Especially the thought of not allowing our focus to be on the past or the future.  Focus on the future leads to worry.  And having our focus on the past, I believe, tends toward regret and even shame.  This is one of our enemy’s greatest tools –  to distract us.  And to defeat us and rob us of our joy.  Satan delights in drudging up and revisiting the past…but just in the most negative ways.  He reminds of us of failures, regrets, hurts, disappointments and, yes, sins of the past.  Over and over and over.  When he is able to make that our focus, we feel unable and unworthy to walk with the Lord in the present.  To walk in faith and to walk with victory.  It is a trick as old as time but it never stops being effective.

In many ways, the past needs to be buried.  At the very least, covered by the blood and forgotten.  Otherwise, as the above definition says, the past becomes our distraction.  However, there can also be much value in the past.  Perhaps better stated as our history.  The past, and history, of our country.  Of our churches.  Of our families and our individual homes.  And even in each of our own personal history – or our past.  There are lessons to learn, victories to be rehearsed and joys to be remembered.  It is especially worthwhile to regularly look back and recall all the ways that God has led and has been faithful as we followed.  Becomes sometimes the present can be that which distracts us.  And that is not good either.

God has always wanted His children to remember.  To give account of His goodness and mercy.  For our own sakes as well as the next generation.  Of course, our enemy knows this as well.  That is why he is always trying to focus our attention on the “us” part of the past.  Our mistakes.  Our regrets, etc.  Focusing on God allows the past to have its place.  We can mindful of today – even live in the present – and still look back at the past.  Don’t let popular trends skew that truth.

6 thoughts on “Let the Past Have Its Place

  1. I had to come through my past to get to my present! While I try not to dwell on mistakes from years ago, I do appreciate having traveled that road to get to where I am today. I agree with you, we can’t just try to act like the past never happened.

    My daughters are my shining examples of something good coming from something bad. My marriage to their father was an abusive, miserable relationship but I wouldn’t undo it because that would mean undoing my babies. I ignored a lot of red flags that I hope I will never have to deal with again. Having to struggle through that difficult time helped me to appreciate the marriage I have with Paul.

  2. This is insightful, Jennifer. I’ve had times where I got caught up in my past mistakes and regrets. And, they tripped me up for a time. There’s a place for learning from our past, seeing God’s presence in it, and accepting the grace He offers. And, there is a place for fully engaging in our present without worrying too much about doing it all perfectly. I’ve found that the choices in my past have helped me become more the woman God created me to be.

  3. I love everything you’ve said here. Yes, we shouldn’t let our past condemn us when we are covered by the blood of Jesus! But viewing history in the sense of remembering what God has done, and is still doing, is SO important! And I think there is some danger in forgetting history as a nation too – I think we see that in Scripture with Israel, when they forgot what God had done for them. And we can see the danger of erasing history in current events too I think.

  4. Beautiful insight…let God always get the glory and the most attention in the past, present, and future…beware that most effective tool of the devil to get our eyes on self and not on Jesus…Love your writing, my sweet friend. Xo

    1. Crystal, so glad you found your way to the blog:) Thanks for your sweet comment. You are such an encourager. Hope this will be one more way that we can stay connected!

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