Looking Back to Go Forward
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."1
You've no doubt read that if flies are placed in a jar with air holes in the lid, they will fly around frantically, banging into the lid, desperately trying to escape from their prison. However, if left there long enough, eventually they will stop banging into the lid. Later, if the lid is removed, they won't even try to escape. Somehow they have been conditioned "to believe" that there is no escape. They just keep circling in the cramped jar.
Some of us are like that. Somewhere in our past, through a bad experience, perhaps in a bad marriage, or as a teenager or child we were hurt and have been "conditioned" to believe that there is no escape, so we are afraid to try again for fear of failure or of getting hurt again.
To overcome, one needs to acknowledge where and how in the past he or she had been hurt, express the hurt, anger and/or grief creatively if these feelings exist, and then let go of them so he/she can go forward into the future unencumbered by his or her past.
As Peter said, "So get rid of your feelings of hatred."2 Repressing or denying feelings doesn't get rid of them. It only adds interest to them and makes things worse in the long run. Negative emotions need to be expressed verbally (or written out) in a creative manner. With grief we need to sob it out until it is all gone. That's what tears are for. For some of us skilled counseling may be needed to help us re-connect to our super-charged repressed negative and damaged emotions, and to express them creatively.
Once this is done, forgiveness becomes possible, which we need to grant to anyone who ever hurt us. Only then can we be freed from the past and put it behind us. And then, if there is still fear of being hurt again, acknowledge the fear but choose not to allow it to control you. With God's help step out and try, try, try again until you succeed in what it is you want to do, or better still, to do what you believe God wants you to do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to resolve any hurts from the past that are affecting my life in any negative way, and help me to forgive any and all who have ever hurt me. And help me to seek forgiveness where I have hurt others, so I can put all these things behind me, forget them, and be free to fully live and fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB)(NLT).