Some of life’s biggest roadblocks are not the ones seen through the windshield. They are, instead, the roadblocks that fill the rearview mirror. It’s easy to get stuck in the past. But someone who keeps looking in the rearview mirror experiences their pain over and over. However, it is possible to make peace with the past and have hope for the future.
1. Accept the past.
Because every person is an imperfect human being who lacks perfect control over their thoughts, they may allow themselves to become stuck in the past—even though they know better. But the sooner they face reality, the sooner they will be able to move on.
2. Let go of the pain.
Sadly, many people can’t let go of the pain from the past. So, they dig it up again and again with predictably unfortunate consequences. A better way is to meet with a licensed counselor and talk to them about the pain from the past. By discovering the root of the pain, it’s possible to begin the process of healing.
3. Forgive others.
For many, making peace with the past is difficult indeed. Why? Part of the problem has to do with forgiveness. When a person finds themselves focusing too intently on the past, it’s a sure sign that they need to focus, instead, on a more urgent need: the need to forgive those who’ve hurt them.
4. Learn from yesterday.
If someone has endured a difficult past, they must learn from it—not live in it. No amount of anger or bitterness can change what happened. Tears, regrets, and worries won’t change yesterday, either. Instead, ask questions such as “What can I learn from the past?” “What part did I play?” “How can I grow from what I went through?”
5. Treasure today.
One of the biggest problems of living in the past is that it keeps a person from experiencing joy in the present. Go to a New Life Intensive Workshop and learn how to get rid of any anger, bitterness, and resentment. Then, look for—and be grateful for—God to bring blessings every day.
6. Trust God with tomorrow.
A child of God is no longer bound to their past or who they were; they are a brand-new creature in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
by Steve Arterburn