Your Past Does Not Need To Define Your Future
New Years is a time of new beginnings. Sometimes we look at the past and feel sad, because we’ve been hurt, because life has not panned out the way we’d expected it to, and worst of all, sometimes because we feel we have failed ourselves and/or those we love.
Some of the best advice I’ve received is:
“Yesterday ended last night. So today it is more valuable to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. Regret looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.
“Life can be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. If past history was all that mattered, librarians would be the only successful people in the world. The past should only be viewed with gratitude for the good things God has done, so look backwards with gratitude and forward with confidence. Your past is the start of your fresh start.
“Experience is at best yesterday's answer to today's problem.
God doesn't review your past to determine your future. Stop taking journeys into the past. Don't make the mistake of letting yesterday use up too much of today.
"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Is.43:18-19)."
- John Mason, www.freshword.com (taken from the “nugget of the week”)
Whatever has happened in the past is water under the bridge.
What is wronged cannot be righted.
Getting Past an Extramarital Affair
In the case of an extramarital affair, we often look back and wish the past could be undone, but it can’t be undone. It happened and nothing will ever change that.
Then a sense of justice overcomes us and we want those who’ve wronged us to “pay the price” for what they’ve done. And if we’re the ones who’ve committed the wrong and are overwhelmed with a sense of remorse and regret, we even seek ways to punish ourselves as if that will somehow make us feel better – and we long for reconciliation with those we’ve wronged.
But the more one thinks about major wrongs like this, one realizes, there is no price, we or those in our lives can pay, that would be big enough to right the wrong.
The encouraging thing is today is a new day. There is a time to recognize we cannot change what is past, but the past does not need to determine the future.
If you’re unhappy with the way things turned out in the past, be encouraged, you can learn from your mistakes and right the wrongs of the past, by correcting them in the future. Who you were yesterday, is not who you are today or tomorrow. Who your spouse was yesterday does not mean that is who they will be in the future. People do have the ability to change, if they choose to. It’s all about choices.
How Do I Change My Spouse?
Daily, I receive emails containing this exact question, so I’ve decided to share the secret with you …
You Change Your Spouse by Changing Yourself!
“If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.”
– Stephen Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”
When things are going wrong in relationships, what we often don’t see is how we are contributing to the situation. Every relationship establishes set patterns: he does this, she responds like that, which causes him to respond with, which causes her to respond with etc. etc. etc.
The way to change the people around you is to change the way you’re responding to them. Do something radically different.
The New Year can be a new beginning for all of us, if we decide to let go of the past and focus on the future instead.
One of the best things to do is to live your life on purpose. Some ask, but what is my purpose in life?
The only way to find out is to start. Do what is in your heart to do, but most importantly do something. Thirteen years ago, I thought I wanted to be an accountant. (Hilarious to think about that now – how wrong could I have been!) However, the right thing I did is I started doing something, I started moving towards the goal, and like a ship sailing through the sea with a destination in mind, at least I was going somewhere. Since I was moving it was easy for me to eventually find my true destination and go there. If I’d stayed there wondering if being an accountant were right for me, I’d probably still be sitting in the same spot.
As you contemplate your purpose, and set goals, here are some things to consider:
1. Faith – your spiritual life. Most people today acknowledge that there is a spiritual part to this world. Set goals to grow spiritually.
2. Fitness. If you do not take care of your health you will not be able to attain your other goals. Being in good health is essential for a sense of overall well-being. If you’re too busy to exercise and eat right, you’re too busy not to. Taking care of your health can literally add hours to each day, and days to your life, plus quality to the days you live.
3. Family. Most people say they value their families highly, yet when push comes to shove, the family gets the least (or none) of our time. Set goals to spend time nurturing your family relationships. Don’t take them for granted. Great marriages and good relationships with parents and children don’t just happen. Quality time usually comes from spending quantity time together.
4. Friends. No man is an island. Friends help us grow as people. Friends help to keep us on track. Make time to develop and nurture quality friendships.
5. Finance. Okay, we all need money, so you’ll have to take care of that … but notice, it’s not listed as a top priority. Years ago when I started my first business, I remember thinking, if this business makes me millions but I lose my family in the process, I will consider myself a failure, but if my business fails one day and my family remains close, I will consider myself a success. No one has ever sat on their death bed saying, “Gee, if I had my life to do over again, I would spend more time at the office.” And when a son stands over a fathers grave, he’s not likely to be caught saying, “My father was one of the greatest fathers there ever was. I never saw him. He was always at work!”
6. Fun. This is not optional. It is essential. You cannot live your life like a martyr giving every moment to achieve success or giving to others. You will burn yourself out, and lose what really matters. So prioritize some time to do something just for fun every week. Otherwise no one will want to be around you anymore.
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