When We Avoid Looking Back, We Can’t Grow to Help Others
The past, it can be a very tricky thing. Some of us struggle moving forward in life due to fear of the unknown. And then some of us struggle with learning and growing from our past because we don’t want to face or relive it. There are those who can’t talk about past events because it is too painful. I am the complete opposite of that, for I recently realized it’s SO MUCH EASIER for me to talk about my past trials and tribulations than it is to write about them. I’m not sure if that is common or mostly applies to those who are called to share their difficult experiences through written word. I recently spoke with another dear friend of mine who is working on her own book. She shared with me the same sentiment, but she is forging ahead through the pain of reliving her past because she knows the story of her situation will help many others. She is one of many who have inspired me. As I share a few of these inspirations with you, I hope you, too, will be encouraged to move forward as you look back and learn, so you can grow and help others.
Over the last 10 years or so, I have been nudged about writing numerous times by the Holy Spirit. He has been so patient with me as I played the ‘Hide and Seek’ game with Him. I was constantly making excuses about how I wasn’t ready, while making other tasks a priority. I was spending too much time honing my procrastination talent. But then I would read a quote in a book, see something on social media, hear a speaker’s thought during a Bible Study lesson, etc. I was bombarded with conviction, knowing I am supposed to write about my experiences to help others on their journey. My passion is encouraging others, but how could I truly do that if I kept avoiding the sharing and writing process just because I didn’t want to relive it? When I truly looked at my so called “reasoning,” all it amounted to was SELFISHNESS. I was making it about what I didn’t want to do, and ignoring what God wanted me to do. God has brought me through too much not to share, help, and encourage others.
Steve Harvey summed up ‘Learning from our Pasts’ so well when he said:
“Stop recycling in your mind past traumas that God already brought you through. Instead, take inventory on how you made it through and thank Him!”
Yes, we are to THANK God for our trials, and then move forward (in my case, share with others so they might be encouraged to win the victory over their trials). “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). What I had to come to terms with was, my story, my history, was part of His Story for me. My relationship struggle with two alcoholic parents, who are now deceased, was going to shape me and make me better as a child of God, a spouse, a mother and a friend . . . but only if I let it.
I wrote this quote down a short time ago, I wish I remember who said it:
“Stop waiting. Start now. Someone needed this 10 years ago.”
(Ouch, this one really hit home with me. I had been pushing my writing assignment off to the back burner for quite some time at this point.)
I don’t know what is in your past or what you may need healing from. What I do know is God wants you to take comfort in His Word and His path for you. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Do not be afraid or ashamed to share your story, because, my sister, that fear isn’t from God.
I am not saying you have to write a book or speak to throngs of people, maybe you just need to start journaling about your experiences or open up in a Bible Study to begin your healing. How about letting someone really get to know you? They may be the one needing your encouragement by hearing about the circumstances you survived. Share with people how God carried you through and is still with you.
Remember, you are not alone. Even if you feel everyone has abandoned you, you are still not alone, for God will never leave nor forsake you (see Hebrews 13:5).
We all have a story to tell, and sometimes we may feel like our circumstances are the worst possible or our past is too shameful to share. I felt abandoned and unloved until I armed myself with Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” God is with us! How encouraging is that?!?!
There was a time when I felt I had lost so much, until I reminded myself of Job. Job could still praise God and so should I (Job 1:21-22). And today, I can say I am experiencing God’s peace over my past. Is it hard sometimes? Absolutely! But I am good with that and will continue to trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as I continue on my journey of writing and sharing about God’s presence in my life to encourage others.
“Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become,” ~ John Maxwell, “The 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth.”
Whatever difficult past circumstance you may be facing, I want to encourage you to strive to become the best you can be for Christ. Let your victory through Him over your past inspire others. Start small, but start today. Write it down on note-cards, start a journal, whatever makes it simple for you to begin. Turn and face it, pray and let God help you through the pain. Learn and grow, don’t avoid it but don’t dwell there either. Face forward, receive the healing and peace of God. Then, move forward to encourage and inspire others.
My hope and prayer for all reading this would be for a JOY filled life despite your trials. May you live a life with a deep desire to please our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And, if you lack that desire, pray the Lord would place that desire upon your heart.
Much Love in this Blessed New Year,