Hi, friends. I (Stephanie) hope you had a refreshing God-filled weekend, and you woke up to a God-filled Monday morning. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve got quite a busy week ahead of me. BUT, in spite of my full schedule, I’m resting in Jesus–instead of “resting” in my imperfect self (see my last Faith-Full Friday enough is Enough is ENOUGH post where I spilled the beans about my newly revealed struggle—perfectionism) (wink).
So Maggie, Vanessa, and I just finished up our insanity series and are moving on to another series that I believe is a pretty logical follow-up.
The word itself can conjure up a salad bowl of mixed emotions-happiness, sadness, confusion, hope, anger, pride, fear, embarrassment, shame, relief, stress, disgust, bitterness, resentment, guilt, gratitude, love, awe….Like I said, a salad bowl.
Friends, what emotion(s) do you feel when you think about your…dun, dun, duuuuuun… past?
That’s such a broad question, right? Am I talking about the past as in three hours ago when I irritatingly tucked Caleb in for the night? Or am I talking about the past as in ten years ago when I eagerly said “Yes” to David’s marriage proposal though fear of marrying again began to churn soon after? Or am I talking about the past as in twenty years ago when I was in an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship that I just couldn’t seem to let go of?
Frankly, I’m not sure it matters. The reality is that each of these “pasts” includes at least one bad decision on my part. Caleb’s aggressive, energetic nature got the best of me as I tried and tried and tried to coax him into bed; when I finally “succeeded,” I numbly read through Duck and Goose and stubbornly didn’t offer up much cuddle time. Marrying David was the best decision I’ve ever made, yes, but it came after a marriage proposal that I should have said “No” to. And time and again I chose the emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship over the overbearing fear of loneliness.
Can you relate?
I initially thought this Monday Mayhem would be a “you’re not your past mistakes” post because, let’s face it, we all have a past ladened with bad experiences and bad choices, and many of us have carried the weight of our past into our present although the Bible teaches us to “[f]orget the former things [and] not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18). And although the Bible teaches us that after repentance “as far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). But forgetting and forgiving ourselves are easier said than done.
Even after I rededicated my life to Christ the burden of some of my past poor decisions weighed me down. It kept me stuck in a sludgy mess of guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and unforgiveness. BUT GOD, my friends. He’s in the business of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. And that truth is what leads me to the main point of this Monday Mayhem introducing our new series on the past.
I spent nine months digging into my past in a Celebrate Recovery step-study. In that study, I revealed pieces of my story that no one but God knew. Now, every few weeks, I write parts of my story in Share His Peace posts that reveal some of the bad experiences and bad decisions of my past and include some of my past pain, suffering, and sorrow.
In a world that says we should keep our deep, dark secrets to ourselves, why would I share such intimate details of my story with others? Isn’t it enough that God knows every one?
I’ve actually been asked these questions quite a few times, because, like I said, telling the good parts of our stories is okay, but telling our whole stories is a no-no. Sharing the skeletons in our closets is an anomaly. Being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. Speaking about past hurts only opens up old wounds that should remain glued.
Perhaps Maya Angelou answered these questions best when she said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
Friends, I write, I tell, I share my past, my story, because it actually helps mend the wounds of my past, and on Friday I’m going to talk more about how.
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 desert and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43: 18-19).