Healing Your Past
‘DON’T KEEP GOING OVER OLD HISTORY … I AM ABOUT TO DO
SOMETHING BRAND-NEW’ ISAIAH 43:18 TM.
Cremate your past, don’t embalm it! Dr Harold Bloomfield writes: ‘Unresolved emotional pain wreaks havoc on your immune system, cardiac function, hormone levels and other physical functions. We must make peace with our past because our life may literally depend on it!’ Challenging words! Here are four suggestions for dealing with your past:
1. Re-frame it. Ask yourself, ‘How did it make me stronger? What do I know now that I didn’t know then?’ Be a learner, not a loser.
2. Break the shackles of shame. Shame isn’t feeling bad over what you’ve done, it’s feeling ashamed of who you are. It’s lethal! When God created you in His image He said, ‘I like it! It’s very good.’ (See Genesis 1:31). Start agreeing with Him!
3. Arrest the acid drip of regret. Stop punishing yourself with ‘if only’. David said, ‘…how happy you must be, you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean’ (Psalm 32:1-2 TM). Forgive yourself, God has! When He looks at you through the finished work of Calvary, you look better to Him than you do to yourself!
4. Move from grief to gain. Healing takes time so expect some anger, fear and sadness. Don’t disown them; they’re part of the healing process but don’t adopt them either; know when it’s time to move on. You can’t walk backwards into the future and the future God has for you contains more happiness than any past you can remember! Drop the Blame Game.
‘God has a future awaiting you to grab it.’
Three further suggestions for healing your past:
1. Practice acceptance. While working in the Congo as a missionary, Helen Roseveare was brutally raped. Later she said, ‘I must ask myself the question, ‘Can I thank God for trusting me with this experience, even if He never tells me why?’’ The secret of trust doesn’t lie in answers, it lies in acceptance! It’s knowing that in the midst of whatever has happened is happening or will happen; God’s in control! Either you fix your mind on that and determine to laugh again or you whine your way through life complaining that you never got a fair deal.
2. Bury the past or live with its ghosts. Rehashing old hurts is like watching the same movie over and over again, hoping for a different ending. Learn from it and move on. You don’t drown by falling into the water; you drown by staying there!
3. Get out of ‘the blame game’. Blame is a waste of time! When you blame yourself, you multiply your guilt, rivet yourself to the past and decrease your already low self-esteem. When you blame God, you cut yourself off from your single source of power, doubt replaces trust and you put down roots of bitterness that makes you cynical. When you blame others, you enlarge the distance between them and you, losing the only option that works; forgiveness.