Friday, July 9, 2010

Ouch, what was that for?...Doesn't matter because it's in the Past!

My headline is from a beloved movie the Lion King. Grown Simba is talking to wise Raffiki about the mistakes and regrets from the past. How he can't go back or forward in life because of the things that he has done in his life. Raffiki interrupts this speech by wacking Simba on the head. Simba cries out, "Ouch! What was that for?" And Raffiki replies..."It doesn't matter, it's in the past!"

That easy is it? It doesn't matter, it's in the past. Not an easy concept at all I can tell you that from experience! I recently shared conversations with several others about everyones pasts and experiences in life. And believe me when I say that the last thing on my mind when it was my time to share was it doesn't matter. We all carry the weight of our choices and decisions in life around with us where ever we go. They are always with us....sometimes rearing their heads at the most inopportune times. We walk into our jobs, our churches, our home lives, and our relationships with our loved ones with them. Sometimes we find that the past controls our future and keeps us from moving forward (like in the movie). Sometimes we find that they spur us on forward with the wrong intentions or approaches. And then we are right back where we did not want to be in the first place.....face to face with the past!

Why do you suppose the past controls us so much? Why do we dwell? Why can't we seem to move on and let go at times? Why can't we realize that even though the past is a part of who we are, we should learn from it instead? That's what I want to talk about about. I don't want to dwell on the things that we can't change, but on the hope that we have that lies ahead if we can take hold of it.

There's a little prayer called the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

This is the perfect example to illustrate what I am getting at here. The truth of the matter is that we cannot go back and change the past! We CANNOT! It's not within our ability, so then why do we dwell on the if only's? This is a topic that hits very close to home with me. I am one that will take my mess ups, bad decisions and mistakes to heart...I can't seem to let them go. Not only not letting them go, but even gripping on to them so tight that my knuckles turn white. This seems a bit extreme. Ask yourself what you do when your past whatevers won't go do you handle it? Really.

Let me tell you what God says about it and what to do. Psalm 103:10-12 says, "he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

If our past is as far away from us as it could possibly get...I don't know about you, but I find extreme relief in that! Knowing that I am no longer defined by the actions of my former life and past is the most relieving thing that I can possibly comprehend. You see, God does not see the sin in our lives whether past or present because of our savior Christ Jesus! It's his blood that covers us and God can no longer see the sin, but instead sees his son Jesus who is blameless and without sin. What a beautiful thought that the issues of our past longer exists when we accept and give our lives over to God!

1 John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

Not just some....but ALL sin! Take hold of this promise. Don't hold on to the things of your past that will continue to hold you back or bring you down. Let your relationship to Jesus bring you to the sight that the things of your past are forgiven and you are to move forward in step with our Lord, Jesus! Let go! Because what God says to us is..."Precious child you are now mine, your past no longer exists because of my son! Rejoice!"

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So over the last few weeks I have been on several trips that have taken me out of town. And while going on vacation is great, I come back and feel so out of place. Everything that I had going on in life suddenly seems different and as if I have come back missing a piece of the puzzle. Almost like life has continued while I've been out of town....the nerve that this would go on even in my absence! Funny our opinion of things isn't it? That life in general revolves around our own person and how things are effected by us or how we effect other things and people.

Well, isn't this the same thing with our relationship with Christ? When we step away from our relationship with God, a vacation or hiatus of sorts, doesn't it seem harder to step back into the same place that we left? Isn't it a bit difficult to jump right back into the flow of things, especially with God? We go through struggles and questions before we consider ourselves worthy, don't we?

I need to get myself back on track first before I go back to God.
Does He even want me to come back?
I'm so unworthy because I was the one who walked away.
I can't let God see me like this, I'm unfit to be in His presence.
Am I ready to go back?

Aren't these the thoughts that seem to race through our minds. But the thing is....these inklings couldn't be father from the truth! Yet as humans we feel this disconnection. Sometimes, even to the point where we feel like we're only hanging on by a thread. Why do we feel like this? What has happened during our vacation time? What causes us to take time away from God to start off with? I know that times that I have stepped away has been because I want to try things my own way. I have found that I am not a very patient person when it comes to waiting on God's timing. So, I've have stepped away and tried to do things on my own. I remember occassionally looking back to what it was like with God and longing to be there again. But at that point I was embarrassed at my leave of absence and behavior toward God with respect to my impatience. My insecurity, whatever that may be, kept me at a stand still...kept me from walking back towards God. The shame that I felt completely consumed me...ashamed that I would leave the one who trully knew everything about me and loved me for it!

See, that's the thing that we forget when we disconnect from God. That He loves us! He loves us despite our flaws...He loves us with our flaws! Did you hear what I just heard? He loves us just the way that we are, the way he created us to be! I don't know about you, but when I think about this I want to cry! But the emotion is not an emotion of sadness, but an emotion of complete amazement!

In Luke chapter 15: 11-32 is the story of the Lost son or prodigal son. The youngest of two boys wanted to take is share of inheritance and go off to experience life on his own instead of sticking around home. He went off to a distant country and blew everything that he had. He then slipped to the lowest of the low because he had lost everything and a didn't have a way to make a living. Scrounging at the smallest, most depressing job to scrape by. While at the bottom in life looking up, he realized what he had left and set off for home to beg forgiveness and plead to become hired help in his own home. Have you been here? No where to go after you have set off and done things on your own....made mistakes along the way....and wound up worse off than you already were. I have been here.

What gets to me every time is this next part to the story. verse 20 - "So the man got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

I'm quite speechless at this because we are the Lost Son/Daughter and the father is our Glorious Father above. And even though we have turned away, lost ourselves even along the way, God our Father sees us turn and walk back to Him. And He rejoices in our return...Rejoices! This is incredible!

Romans 8:34-35 - "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died- more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or or famine or nakedness or danger or the sword?"

Nothing can separate us from the love, the unconditional love of God through Jesus Christ. Not even our own stupidity! Which is exactly what we face everyday. When we doubt, when we make a mistake, when we turn away, when we make complete fools of ourselves..............when we look back to the cross after our absence, God is there with His arms open wide rejoicing for our return!