I’m not going to lie about this, but I love my church. The reason why I started and stayed going is because my pastor is awesome. His messages are relevant and thought-provoking and always make want to dive more into the Bible to keep learning.
The past few weeks, the messages have been about the book of Philippians which is really cool because two of my girlfriends and I did a 4 week Bible study of our own on it. So I was excited that we were going to be breaking it down even further on Sunday mornings. Every week I feel like I’m learning something new and it’s been pretty cool when something jumps out at me that I didn’t realize before even if I’ve read it a billion times.
With the new year being here, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my past. I’m not entirely happy with everything that happen. I don’t try to dwell in it (which is ironic as I am a history major), but sometimes you can’t help it. The past just comes up and creeps up on you when you’re least expecting it. And it can hurt. It can make you ignore all the good things that you are currently experiencing and just overtake you with painful memories. Things that you want to forget, mistakes you made, regrets of what you could have or should have done instead. It can be hard. People will tell you to just buck up and to not focus on it. It’s not that simple however.
Things in your past can make you hesitant about your future. You’re scared to do things because you got hurt in the past. And you don’t want to go through that again. If your past seems to keep repeating itself no matter how hard you try to avoid it, it can get frustrating to the point to where you want to give up. Because it seems like there’s nothing you can do to stop repeating the cycle.
But it can be done. You don’t have to let the past control you. You can learn from it. You can focus on what is ahead. And even if the past keeps coming back, you have to stay focused on your goal. And so this is a passage we studied on Sunday, that I’m choosing to focus on this week. My past doesn’t define me. It has molded and shaped me to who I am today. But at the same time, it’s not going to control me. And I’m going to keep moving forward.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:12-15)