For most of my adult life, I have felt that my story was my enemy. My story was heavy, like chains that shackled me to shame, denial, and fear. If I could just hide from it or outrun it, then I could live the life that I longed to live. So I kept striving, running harder, faster, further.
I thought I was working towards rewriting my story, but the truth is, I was running from it.
I had been pleasing people, climbing ladders, shutting down feelings, and denying my past for fear that if I felt anything at all I would break.
Until I hit my 40’s. I could no longer keep up the pace at which I had been running and my past finally caught up with me. It was time to reconcile all of the things that had happened in my life and embrace my whole story.
I picture my life as a filing cabinet. That may sound strange but stay with me here. The folders of my story are all in a row with nice, neat labels and organized subfolders categorizing each area of my life, all hanging neatly in a cedar-lined cabinet. These folders are filled with everything that makes sense to me, like happy memories, laughter, friends, family, vacations, hugs, kids, and more.
There is no space in my cabinet for abuse that I experienced in my past, the grief of my mom passing away, finding out I survived two abortion attempts, neglect, regrets, and the biggest file of all…fear. The files with all of those titles just didn’t seem to fit in my perfectly organized file cabinet of life.
By not allowing these folders to settle into the realness of my life, I was truly running away from my story, rather than finding healing in the midst of it.
We see an example of this in Genesis 16. Abram and Sarai were married, but they couldn’t have a child. Sarai wanted a child so badly that she thought it would be a good idea for Abram to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar. Hagar conceived, and then she started to despise Sarai.
When Abram heard about the feud, he told his wife Sarai to do whatever she wished with Hagar. When Sarai began mistreating her, Hagar ran away. An angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert and said, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” Genesis 16:8
Hager said she was running away from her mistress. The angel told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her. The angel promised her blessings through her descendants that would be too numerous to count.
I’m still figuring out where I have come from and where I am going, but I know that the experiences in my past have equipped me to be the person I am today. All of those experiences that I was running from, that I thought were my biggest weaknesses, are actually my greatest strengths.
Where have you come from and where are you going?
I once heard a pastor say, You can’t see your future if your past is standing in front of you. That space between your past and your future is the tension that you live in right now. It is in finding healing from our past, that we find our future.
We all have to make a decision about what to do with our past.
Do we keep running from it?
Let the experiences of our past define us?
Hold us back from our potential?
Do we place our story in the hands of our redemptive God and allow Him to do what only He can do?
What would be different in your life if you received His perfect love and forgiveness and out of that, learned to forgive yourself? What if you trusted Jesus to heal the places in your heart that you have learned to hide? What if your redeemed story brings hope to others to know that if God can do it for you, He can do it for them.
It is never too late to reframe and reclaim your past and see your future through the eyes of Jesus.
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In the comments, would you share one word that stood out to you from the video? Is it Accepted, Qualified, Beloved, Forgiven? What is God speaking to your heart today?