Do you ever find yourself looking back and wishing things hadn’t happened as they did?
We all do it. We wish we would’ve made better choices so we would have a better life today. We wish others would not have hurt us. We wish we wouldn’t have experienced trauma, deception, and heartaches.
We keep wishing life was better than it is today. We’re frozen in time. It’s as if we can’t “get over it.”
Some of what we wish away is a result of our own choices, while some are the result of what others have done. Either way, we have no peace today because we cannot get beyond yesterday.
Dr. Richard Dobbins recommends that you “make peace with your past so you can enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow.”
It’s impossible to live in perfect peace today if we keep looking back and wishing things would’ve been different! I lived there for far too many years.
I’m reminded of the bible story in Genesis 19 when a man named Lot was visited by two angels that asked him to gather his family and quickly leave the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
They received one final instruction – “DO NOT LOOK BACK.”
So Lot, his wife, and two daughters left the place that was their home and walked to a town called Zoar. (Zoar means “a very small town.”)
When they got to where their next home would be, it was nothing like what they had just left. They had lived in a city where they had all the luxuries of city life. They had made a life there among family and friends.
I can only imagine the stress and anxious thoughts as they entered the small town of Zoar.
They had left their home with “nothing,” and their future was in an obscure place where “nothing” was familiar and “nothing” would ever be the same again.
This time was a traumatic moment in the life of Lot and his family.
Lot’s wife had to look back one last time. I don’t blame her! Everything she loved and enjoyed was behind her. Looking back at your losses seems to be a natural response to losing everything.
When she did, however, she turned into a pillar of salt. She became frozen in time.
Looking back and longing for what was can freeze us in time so we can’t move forward.
I don’t think any of us have ever turned into a pillar of salt, but many have experienced trauma that turns us into zombies.
We’re alive but not living.
Our dreams are shattered, and we have no joy or happiness today. We become resentful of our past, angry in our present, and fearful of our future.
How do we move forward?
The first thing is to look back and remember your past life is not what keeps you frozen. You’re frozen because you can’t talk about what happened.
Talking about your losses is a way to move forward and embrace all that you have endured.
Understanding that we cannot forget our past is a relief, and how we manage our memories can leave us frozen or give us freedom.
As long as I believed the past is behind me and I could not talk about it, I stayed in a place of confusion. I couldn’t forget the past, but I couldn’t talk about it either.
Believing I can not talk about my past was an impossible feat and an unbearable burden that kept me from embracing my present or moving into my future.
If forgetting our past is what we must do, then history itself would be of no value.
Our history is our story.
Our history is a teaching tool.
It shows us the pitfalls and the triumphs, the losses and the wins.
Our history is our way of remembering how God has been good to us. The memories of our past reveal His faithfulness.
As I share my story, I clearly remember God’s grace and love to my family and me.
The secret to a healthy life is embracing ALL of it the good, the bad, and the ugly. You must share your trauma, pain, and loss.
Embrace it by talking about your past experiences and the feelings surrounding them.
I’ve made peace with my past by sharing it openly. I feel joy today and hope for my future. I no longer wish things would’ve been different, and I’m not frozen in time anymore. I am fully alive and YOU CAN BE TOO!
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