Moving Past the Past...

Last night, I had a really scary thought. What if I can never move past my memories, my assumptions, and my fears in order to finally accomplish a lifelong goal? What if I never move forward?

Is the past so alive, real, and concrete to you that you can't seem to escape it? Like huge iron pylons framing a skyscraper, do these memories seem to take up all the landscape in front of you? Is the framework of your life being built around this old structure because there seems no way to build without using the old framework? Or have you built something small, kept it low, and avoiding touching the existing structure altogether, not allowing yourself to lean on it for the future, but not allowing yourself to grow higher or spread wider because the framework of the past is always in the way?

I'm not strong enough to pull up that destructive framework. I can't see past it. I keep seeming to knock into it just when I see myself finally moving beyond it.

As I look to the Master to give me direction, I feel the need to tell you that I don't have it all figured out. The past of my childhood doesn't hold me. But the immediate past of my present relationships do me so much harm sometimes. It's like I can forgive a million dollar debt, but not a five cent one. What is going on with me?

I'm praying for you today, because as I work out these seemingly trivial details, I'll discover a key that I pray that you will also discover along your path. Let's keep praying about it and trusting God for direction.

So many of the things I write are about what I've overcome, and instructions for you to help you get over it. I can tell you this. If the person's gone from your life, it's infinitely easier. Just pray to release them. Look right at the harm that they did, cry it, out, and then pray to release them. And it's over. Repeat as much as necessary, but your heart will go where your decisions take it.

But oh, when the person's still in your life on a constant basis, and there is literally no way to remove that person, now you're in Forgiveness Central. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, you're forgiving just as they continue piling on the offense. And since each offense looks so much like the last one, it can create a bitter hole in you, outlined by the shape of one offense after another, cemented in place because of the similarity of the blows.

Please forgive, even when it's hard. I'm forgiving, and I'm choosing to take each hit as a different, completely different shape. I'm choosing to try to believe it comes from a different kind of offense this time. And where I know that it isn't different, I'm choosing to avoid that blow in the future. For instance, if the blow comes when you're in a group with this person, avoid groups when they're in them. If the blow comes when you help them with something, avoid helping until the blow stops. You do not have to stub your toe every time you carry their books, particularly if they won't nudge that stumbling block out of the way for you. Either move the obstacle yourself, or stop entering the room until it's moved.

Don't take abuse. Taking abuse makes you a doormat, removing all credibility with those you want to influence. Take a bit of abuse if it's an accident, an oversight, a mistake. But once it's a pattern, break that pattern. Just stop being there if you know that it'll keep happening when you go.

What about my situation? It's complicated, which is how most of them are. I'm seeking guidance. Good advice tells me to work around it. Life experience tells me there's no way around. I'm praying for God to reveal a work-around or to set me free from the obligation. Ask Him. He's faithful, even if you don't see Him working. I trust Him, and you can, too.

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