Have you ever felt like you've been stuck in the same place for so long it seems like you are going around the same mountain over and over again? I have. For years I wasted a lot of time stuck in the same place—blaming others, feeling sorry for myself, complaining and the list goes on... I was miserable until I discovered the truth about the life I could have through my relationship with Christ.
I was in my late 30s when my eyes were opened to the truth in John 10:10 that showed me I wasn't living the good, peaceful, joy-filled life Jesus died for me to have. The problem was I had a very negative mindset because of the abuse I had experienced throughout my childhood.
God showed me that it was holding me back and keeping me from dealing with areas of life that He wanted to heal and restore. I was stuck in the mindset of, "My future is based on my past and my present." But God really wanted me to have a hopeful attitude of expectation that said, "I'm going to look ahead because something good is going to happen to me!"
Don't Let Your Past Hold You Back
The Bible says in Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV): "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Without a doubt, holding on to your past will keep you from looking forward to your future. And sometimes it may even feel like you are being pulled in two different directions because God is trying to pull you forward toward a new thing and you're trying to hold on to something that's behind you.
The Israelites did not want to let go of their past either. They stayed in the wilderness for 40 years because they compared everything to their past. In fact, they complained to Moses that they wanted to go back to Egypt and return to a life of slavery because that's what they knew. But God wanted them to move forward to the promised land―a land flowing with milk and honey (see Ex. 13:5). They just couldn't get past their past.
Focusing on the Future
We've got to get a vision—one that goes beyond what we've already seen and experienced—if we want to see change happen in our life. The apostle Paul says it like this in Philippians 3:13b, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."
God has good things planned for us, no matter what has happened in our past. He is looking and longing for someone who's waiting for Him to be good to them. God wants to be good to you, but you have to be expecting Him to move in your life! I've gotten into a habit of regularly saying, "God is good, and something good is going to happen to me today!" I encourage you to do the same.
Setting Your Mind in the Right Direction
God can help you set your mind in the right direction. The Bible tells us to set our mind and keep it set on things above, not earthly things (see Col. 3:2).
My husband, Dave, is a great example of what it means to set your mind. Dave loves to play golf, so I asked him one day, "How's it going to be for you if you ever get to the point where you can't play golf?" And he said, "I've already thought about that and I've just made up my mind I can be happy anyway."
Setting our mind and keeping it set means we keep our focus on where we want to go, not on where we have been or even where we are right now. God wants us to have a vision for our life and trust Him to help us get there.
Remember, God has a good plan for you, and He wants to see you live out that plan. But spending too much time looking back or thinking about what's happening in your life right now can keep you stuck in the past and not experiencing all that He has for you. Your future has no room in it for the past.
So, don't get stuck in the past. Let go of what lies behind and press into the great future God has planned for you. I can promise you: God is with you. He wants to lead you, strengthen you and help you every step of the way!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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