Monday, September 29, 2008
The Present is Sweeter than the Past
(Picture taken from THE RAVENNA MOSAIC COMPANY)
Genesis 19: 15-17
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished."
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"
We all know what happens to Lot's wife in vs. 26
26 But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
(My Pastor preached an amazing message Sunday. I'll attempt to encourage you by a piece of what the Lord gave him to say concerning our present and past.)
Have you ever known someone who can't stop mentioning their past lives? Maybe it was a guy they dated or a club they used to go to. Maybe it was a certain lifestyle they remember and friends they used to associate with. I admit, I'm guilty of going there from time to time. For me it's more like reminiscing or remembering than dwelling. The problem begins when we dwell on our past, stirring up old emotions and thoughts and then allowing it to conflict with our present.
In the scripture above, God sent angels to warn Lot and his family about getting out of the city of Gomorrah. He specifically told him to get his family and leave without looking back. Why did he warn them not to look back?
This is a good question. If you were Lot's wife, would you have turned around?
I imagine she turned around to look because of people she knew back there. I'm sure her heart ached for people who were stubborn and didn't listen. Or maybe she turned around to see how God was going to destroy the city. Whatever her reasons were clearly weren't good enough. For her disobedience, she died.
Looking back on our lives, most times, cause us to go backwards instead of moving forwards. You know what I mean? When you're having girltalk with your girlfriends and say stuff like, "Girl, when I dated Marcus, we used to go here and there, then after that we'd hit the club and then end up watching movies late at night, until you know what almost happened". This is pretty detailed stuff. What's happening is, you're not just reminiscing about your relationship with Marcus, but mentally, you're painting the picture so well to where you're reliving it in your mind. And let's face it, if you had any type of relations with this person you're probably thinking about that too. If you're a married woman, that's dangerous because it resurfaces old drama and can affect your relationship with your husband. This is why we shouldn't look back.
When I obeyed the Lord and relocated from Atlanta to New Orleans, it was hard. Towards the end of my journey there, I met nice people who were becoming good friends. But, there were also people I associated with who I knew I couldn't remain friends with after I left. It was a struggle for a couple of months. But, eventually, I had to stop answering the phone until they got the point. I was about forward movement. I was trying to get my life back. I was on the road to recovery after a lifestyle of sin and shame. I had to let them go so God could deliver me. I had to let them go.
Friends. They come and go.
One thing my mom used to say is, "You'll always make new friends. The ones you have now won't always be there." I never understand that until I was in my early 20s. After going through various friendships that unfortunately ended with betrayel, I learned this lesson the hard way.
A little later in life, my god-mother said, "People are in your life for either reasons, seasons or lifetimes." What's interesting is that I can count on hand the people who I know for sure are lifetime friends. Then, there are people I never thought I'd say good-bye to. But, it was so important that I let them go so I can move forward in what God wants me to do.
God may be trying to take you to another level, but because you won't let go of friends- people who are stumbling blocks from your past life, you'll remaine in a stuck position, as if your feet are planted in cement.
Is it easy to just let people go? No, it's really not. Especially if it's people who you grew up with or who you had such a tight-knit bond with. But, when you finally do, you'll have a less drama filled journey as you move ahead in life.
And sometimes we have no clue as to what God is doing or where we're going. But, rest assured- God knows.
In each state I've lived in, God specifically put people in my life that poured such encouragement into my life. I had to let some of them go so I could position myself to be where God needs me to be. But God is so awesome because for the ones who are no longer there, God added new people to be a greater blessing in my life! He loves us and knows how important it is to have people in our lives who will help build us up!
How did you learn how to let people go so you could move on? Was it easy?
Let me encourage you today. Don't look back and dwell on your past. Your present- your now, is so much sweeter than the past. Sure you've gone through some things. We all have great testimonies of God's faithfulness and grace in our lives. We all knows that sharing a testimony is one thing. But going back in the past and trying to reconnect with past people will only hinder your future. Let's embrace the present and trust God with the rest!
And so we pray...
Dear awesome Father, Sometimes I tend to go mentally go back to my past. It's not healthy and can cause severe conflict. I ask that you will take way thoughts in my mind that don't need to be there. Help me to appreciate where you've taken me and trust that you're steering me in the right direction. Lord I don't want to go backwards. I want to move forward. Help me to keep my eyes on you as I continue on this journey. In Jesus Christ name! Amen.