Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."1
It is true that our lives are significantly shaped during our early formative years and many of our character issues formed then are with us for the rest of our lives.
What if we grew up in a home that was less than wholesome or where we may have been emotionally abused if not physically abused? It's interesting to note that where I live physical and sexual abuse of a child is justifiably considered a crime and is punishable by law with the likelihood of being sentenced to time in jail. Furthermore, if the abuse is by a parent, the child is often removed from his or her custody. Tragically, emotional abuse is not even considered a crime and, depending on the intensity, can be just as psychologically damaging as physical or sexual abuse.
As an adult, overcoming the effects of childhood abuse and love deprivation is possible but it can be very challenging. Speaking personally, I grew up in a very dysfunctional family and because I felt unloved and rejected, especially by my father, for many years I felt extremely insecure and felt that I was ugly and unlovable. True, I was not responsible for my upbringing, but as an adult I realized that I was responsible for overcoming my less than wholesome background.
Besides having a lot of therapy, one of many significant things I did to resolve the effects of my impaired relationship with my father was to go to his gravesite and in my imagination I "talked to him" as if he were there with me. I said, "Dad, if you were still alive today, what advice would you have for me?" The answer that came to my mind was, "Don't let your past control your future."
Good advice. True, I may have been a victim in the past but if I chose to remain a victim I would have become a willing volunteer.
For healthy living and loving relationships it is imperative that we resolve all our past impaired relationships and forgive all who have ever hurt us. We donít have to remain a victim but with God's help, and that of others where necessary, we can overcome a hurtful past and become all that God envisioned for us to be. The choice is ours. So, whatever you do don't let your past control your future.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for all the good that I received from my parents and my past. Also, help me to acknowledge where I may have been abused or hurt in any way physically, emotionally or spiritually and lead me to the help I need to overcome the effects caused by these destructive experiences. In so doing may I be freed to become all that You planned for me to be. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV).