Keep going. Move forward. Don’t look back.
We are told these things growing up. It is meant as an encouragement. We’re told to never give up, to reach for the stars. Don’t let our pasts hold us back.
But what if we reach the point where the only way to move forward is to work through our pasts?
I used to think I could do everything. And I did, to the best of my ability. I would always be the one doing the most, getting the best grades, and dreaming bigger with each passing day. I thought life would continue like this until I reached my goals decades later.
There were things I thought I could ignore, people I thought I could just forgive and forget so I could move on with my life. But forgiving and forgetting isn’t the same as processing circumstances. How can you forgive if you don’t know to what extent it affected you?
I’ve recently been asked by someone about tender areas of my past – things I have already prayed about and considered forgotten. But after talking about these things again, I realized how hurt I still was. I had been wronged, and put a band-aid on a bullet wound. I thought I had healed from these things that had taken place years ago. In reality, I was pushing these memories to the back of my mind, hoping they would eventually go away.
The renewal of the pain forced me to realize how much I needed God’s help to process everything. I needed to go through it all, to feel the pain all over again in order to remove the shrapnel from old wounds. I needed to properly heal.
“Not looking back” wasn’t an option anymore. Refusing to remember things didn’t mean they weren’t there.
Now, by the grace of God, I’m working through things properly and properly forgiving people in my life. I’m realizing that I can’t just refuse to “look back.” My past is what has made me who I am today. Both the good and the bad have structured my character and the essence of my being.
It’s not always easy working through your past, but I find joy in knowing that I have a unique past that has created a unique me, and God is here for me to help me through it all.