Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 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. – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) [emphasis added]
Paul understood that our life journey often requires straining and pressing on to win the prize laid before us. Paul had a past he wanted to forget, just like I did, maybe like you do. He persecuted Christians, and had many killed at his command! But, God used his painful past to bring many to salvation!
Paul’s past did not define his future.
Paul knew his life had to be open to God’s healing, allowing God to remove the pain, guilt, and shame of his past. And during this process God not only never let him go, but He also had a great plan for redeeming Paul’s past! Regardless of where his journey took him, Paul knew and believed enduring until the end was worth it because although Paul had a past, Jesus has a promise, a plan and a prize.
Over the many years I have served in woman’s ministry, I have discovered a startling trend.
Sometimes those of us in churches are just as bad, if not worse, than those outside the church when it comes to running and hiding from the past. Of course we declare that Jesus has “saved us” and “forgiven us”, including forgiving our past. The problem is, many times we stop there and neglect to allow Him to heal our past and use it for our present and future.
When we stop–we get STUCK!
You are STUCK when you can’t share as God calls you to share!
You are STUCK when fear of your past does not allow you to share what God has done with your children, Grandchildren, friends and loved ones!
You are STUCK when anger, un-forgiveness, shame, fear–hold you back from the abundant life and ministry God has for you!
The Bible tells the story of Hagar, a woman who knew what it was like to run from the past. Hagar was a woman much like me, and maybe like you. Her dreams for family, youth and love did not go the way she planned—the way she had dreamed since she was a girl. Please take some time today to read her story in Genesis 16.
You will see in Hagar’s story how she responded to a seemingly hopeless situation by running away as hard and fast as she could. I don’t think she stopped to consider where she might end up or what consequences her choice would bring. She simply responded to her pain and loss with desperation and panic.
I can identify with her because I have been like Hagar.
Perhaps you have, too.
Have you responded to some memory, loss, or heartache the way Hagar and David did in Psalm 139—running? Did you hide those heartbreaks away, never to see the light of day? Perhaps you always feared should they ever be uncovered, you and others you are trying to protect would simply fall apart. Just like Hagar, many of us have felt lost, alone and betrayed. So we ran and made a choice that would change us forever. It may have been a choice that seemed to be your only hope or option at the time, but desperation doesn’t make sound choices.
Hagar’s flight to the desert left her at a spring beside the road. The angel of the Lord met her there and told her to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. After that encounter with God, Hagar gave God a new name. She called him El Roi: The God Who Sees Me (Gen 16:11-15), the very God that David is beginning to understand himself.
God’s word beckons us to gird up in His power and strength and confront the past. He calls us to share our losses and pain with him, realizing He has already seen. Why? Why share our wounds, painful losses, or horrible decisions from the past with God who already knows it all? Because inviting Jesus into your pain and secrets allows God to use all our past for our freedom and His kingdom. An Unstuck past allows Him to completely heal us and move us into His complete kingdom plan.
I am sharing on Periscope this week on Tuesday and Thursday some very practical steps for facing backward to move forward. Join me will you? (You can “KATCH” past scopes on this link!)
Also, leave a comment below telling me that you visited my blog this week and I’ll enter your name MY WEEKLY FREE BOOK drawing and the EXTRA WIN for my FREE PDF on the 8 Steps to Peace with the Past.
Congratulations to last weeks winner! @RachelTemple
Remember this UnStuck Truth: Sometimes we have to go back to get ahead.
More times than not, our past weighs us down from a Life Unstuck.
Hope awaits when we understand God wants to use EVERYTHING we have gone through, to bring us the peace, purpose and passion He desires for us.
He SEES YOU!!