“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Philippians 3:13-14 NLT
For many years I was easily distracted with reflections from my past. These thoughts could range from tearful disappointment to a rising tide of resentment. It was as though my past held power over me. I recognised that I was not the victim in this and was a contributor to the source of my darker memories. Yet, my mood was determined by these disruptive and destructive thoughts.
Strangely, the Christmas season was a time when I experienced an acute assault. An annual pattern established itself. I’d take myself off on solitary walks with this civil war within my own head. I was not expressing the ‘Christmas spirit’ and I was failing to find God in my inner anguish. It was this experience that started me on the course of deliberately preparing to look back over the past year and carry out the rubbish that had accumulated in my own head and heart. At first there were years of memory banks that needed a spiritual spring clean. Not that the cleaning changed my attitude. It identified the rubbish and I adopted the strategy of “forgetting what lies behind” (ESV) and reminding myself that today and tomorrow were all I might effectively influence.
I needed to keep my eyes on my calling as set out by Jesus.
Pressing on is a challenge when the human spirit is weighed down with past regret and resentment. Best to set these aside as they cannot accompany me as I focus upon my primary purpose.
What memories weigh your spirit down?
Lord, help me to entrust all my burdens to you and fix my eyes on you.