How do we move on from the past?
This was also the same question I asked myself a lot of times. Whenever we hear this, the first thing that always comes to mind is about moving on from a relationship. It is always associated with memories that remind us of a person that has occupied the major portion of our thoughts, our dreams, our reality, and… our heart.
Yes. All these belong in the past. But we have to take note that the past is a broader term. For now, let us take a deeper look on the three significant terms in this question.
Past: Is a collective term for events that happened before the now, which includes all the memories and feelings that come along with them… whether good or bad.
Move on: Moving on means not choosing to stay where you are…or where you were. It is consciously moving your feet a step forward… or choosing what music would accompany your next heartbeat. Moving on requires our will and our effort. It is made out of a decision. Therefore, it does not come naturally.
While others say that time heals all wounds, we also have to remember that our own willingness to heal is what determines our progress. We won’t hear the clock ticking unless we take time to listen to it. We won’t see the days passing by if we choose to lock ourselves in a room where we see the same view every single day. Time is just a number to those who refuse to see its essence.
How: An adverb used to inquire about the process of doing things with accomplishment as its primary objective. When we ask the how question and we were given an answer, is it our goal to make it happen? Or we just want answers?
It is quite sad that oftentimes, we know how to do things, but we refuse to take action. It’s either the situation does not permit, or we really don’t want to do it. We sometimes make some silly excuse that “we are trying”, but the truth is that we choose to stay on the safe side. We position ourselves in the middle, avoiding the extremes of ‘not trying’ and ‘the actuality of getting there’. When we ask “how”, our goal should not be just to try, but to actually do it or get there, regardless of the failed attempts.
I want you to take time to think about this for a minute. Have you tried dissecting a frog? Well, in my case, that was one of the requirements in one of our major subjects in college. I asked myself back then, how could this be helpful to me in the future? (It surely is helpful if I had pursued medschool, but I didn’t). Now it makes sense…the primary purpose for doing such activity is for us to understand the frog’s entirety. The same is true with our everyday thoughts… we have to dissect them in order to fully understand and grasp its meaning, like what we just did on this popular question above.
A question is always followed by an answer. And the answer to the question above lies behind our decision.
I remember reading one poem during college that said: “If your memory is an altar, and paying you a visit is a sign of worship, then I don’t want to be too religious.” Indeed, the past may be a good place to visit, but certainly not a good place to stay.
If theres’s one thing that truly helped me realize the answers to ALL of my life’s questions it would be none other than the Word of God.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16
Now, we will take deeper look and hopefully be enlightened on what the bible has to say regarding this matter.
Someone who is held captive in their past needs someone and something to set them free. The bible,in which every single word is God-breathed is an all-powerful tool in doing this.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Living in the past is one of the ways by which the enemy holds us captive and makes us slaves. The enemy is out there to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10. So, what exactly does he want to steal from us? In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord says: “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give hope and a future. It was clearly stated in the above mentioned verse that God has promised a bright future for us. This is what the enemy wants; to kill every hope that we have inside; to destroy our present so that he can steal our future. He is willing to do everything he can for us not to reach to that Promised Land that God has prepared for us. He makes his subtle moves by keeping us enslaved in the shadows of the past.
If you ever found yourself stuck in the past, it might be an indication that you are under attack. Get up and open your bible. I encourage you to meditate on the following verses.
The Word says: “Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing.” Isaiah 43:18
Every second of every day is an opportunity to start over. The former things refer to the things that happened years ago, months ago, weeks ago, days ago, or perhaps, just seconds ago. What does the bible say? Forget them. Forgetting doesn’t mean that we won’t treasure those memories. Of course we will and we should, especially if they have been beneficial in making our present lives a better one. But, we have to take note that there is a thin line between remembering and dwelling on it. The Lord commands us to DWELL NOT in the past, and instead choose to look at the great things ahead.
Since God is a God of surprises, I believe that there are lots of things to look forward to every day. He says, “see”… meaning take a look or pay attention to a new thing that He is doing. Creation still takes place now, and it is happening every single second. Isn’t it a sight to see? New things spring up everyday.. new and exciting things made by the hands of our Wonderful Creator.
However, most of time we fail to ‘see’ and appreciate what’s in the ‘now’ because we focus so much on what’s behind. In fact, we also fail to see that there are lots of blessings that we unconsciously neglect whenever we choose to focus so much on the past.
Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived shares to us this wisdom “Do not long for ‘the good old days’ it is not wise.” Eccelsiastes 7:10 Likewise, Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” makes a lot of sense in relation to the previous verse. To summarize these two verses in Ecclesiastes and Psalms, the bible says that we should not be stuck in the past and be aware that our days on earth are few so that we will always operate in wisdom and be able to use our time wisely.
In one of the preachings in our ‘Time’ Series last year, our pastor discussed about how the use of our time can be a way to take a glimpse of how our future would probably look like (although, it is not the sole determinant). One thing that struck me was this:
God is just. We are all given 24 hours a day. The same sun shines for us in the morning and the same moon gives light to us at night. Our destiny depends on how and where we choose to spend the time given to us. The rich can be poor, the poor can be rich. But, what do they have in common? They both have 24 hours to spend each day.
How is this relevant to the topic? This wisdom teaches us about consciously choosing and deciding to live in the here and now; that our time on earth is limited. Therefore, we shouldn’t waste it longing to fix our mistakes in the past because it is something that we can never alter nor bring back. Same is true with comparing the present and the past, and longing to go back to the good old days. Though it is impossible for us to go back and straighten up those mistakes, we can always start anew and make better decisions. We can always make new memories instead of just reminiscing the old ones.
So what do we do now?
The apostle Paul inspired the church in Philippi to press on toward the goal – a brighter future waiting for all the believers of Christ in eternity.
“..one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13
I believe that the first step to moving forward is being aware of all the good things waiting for us in eternity. This leads us to having a goal and taking every necessary step to achieve it, including letting go of the past.
In my own opinion, the reason why the word ‘straining’ was used as a term to depict an act that should be done along with moving forward, is because doing so is never easy. To strain oneself like in training for a sport is to persevere and push oneself to his/her limits and to put on a great effort in order to achieve a goal. It includes possibilities of being injured and losing strength in the process. Paul understood and experienced the struggles of moving forward. Yet, he encouraged his people to do so, because he knew that the struggles they are currently facing is nothing compared to the great prize that is waiting for them in eternity.
The answer to our question can be found easily. Asking the how question was made easy because we were already given the answers long ago. Jesus has won the victory for us 2000 plus years ago when He died on the cross for you and me. There is a sure reward waiting for us in the future. He is inviting us to take a step forward and be excited for what is to come.
The true question now is, “Are you willing to take action?” You decide.