Have you ever played the game “CLUE”? I love that game. I always loved it and nobody ever wanted to play it with me. You can’t just play it by yourself either. I like to listen to clues from the other players and I make little notes of what they’re asking for.
If Rodney says, “Was it Mrs. Scarlett with a candlestick in the library” – then I put little RF (his initials) by those clues to show that he probably doesn’t have any of those things he just asked about. (I hope he’s not reading this….). He and Kassidi don’t even realize that they are leaving me CLUES every time they speak! And I usually win!
Well, I believe that God left us clues in the Bible of how to be successful – how to fulfill His plan for our lives. We just have to be looking for them. They could go right over our head and you might say, “I don’t have a clue what God wants me to do!”
For example, Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old, Behold I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth.”
In other words, God is giving us a success clue: if you want to experience something new in your life . . . stop thinking about your past! He’s finished with it. Don’t even give it a second thought. It sounds simple enough, but boy, have I had a hard time with letting go of the past!
We all have memories of things we did or said or witnessed that we simply wish weren’t there. Whether the past is the remembrance of sin(s) you committed, the pain someone else inflicted on you or the heartbreak of a relationship that still stings your heart, if the past is still being relived in your mind, then it becomes your present and ultimately, destroys your future.
Memories of the past can harass you for the rest of your life – if you allow them to. And the harassing takes place in your mind. You will only keep the memories alive by thinking about them, replaying them, reliving them, rehearsing them, revisiting them…in your mind.
Satan can torment your mind over and over again by something as simple as the changing of the seasons. Maybe Spring time reminds you of a time in your life when something tragic happened and just the atmosphere, the sounds in the air and the climate all take you back to that moment in time. Sure enough, every March 21st when Springtime comes, your mind is back there. Or a song on the radio! That’s a big one! You hear that song played and you can even remember what you were wearing, who you were with and what you were feeling (10 years ago!).
What about the smell of an old ‘flame’s’ cologne! Just one whiff of that familiar smell and it takes you back. Where? In your mind! Photos, clothing, jewelry, letters . . . they all remind us of things in the past.
After suffering through many years of needless torment over some bad decisions in my past, I have arrived at the place of writing my new book, Make Your Dreams Bigger than Your Memories. I’ve devoted an entire chapter on getting aggressive where your thought life is concerned and getting your mind to do what you want it to do! When you find something that ‘works,’ you can’t help but want to tell others. That’s my purpose for writing.
I want you to get to a place in your life where you instantly get a hold of your thought life and make it line up with the Word of God. You need to memorize Isaiah 43:18-19 and confess it out of your mouth frequently and consistently if you want to see freedom from your past. We see from this scripture that “remembering” and “considering” are both mental processes. They both take place in the mind. And God is telling us to not remember nor consider the former things (the past). In order for God to do a new thing in your life, you have to first remove the old things!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten quiet before the Lord and sat with my journal in my hands ready to write anything I might hear Him say, and constantly, over and over again, I would hear in my spirit, “Let go of the past!” I’ve cried out to Him because of the pain and the shame of things I’ve experienced and not known how to make the memories go away. He led me to this verse from the Apostle Paul.
“..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)
It’s obvious when you read Paul’s famous verse that he knew, in order to “press toward the mark” or to be in God’s perfect will for His life, he had to: #1. forget the past and #2. have a vision. You must have a vision to get up tomorrow morning and pursue something…even if that ‘something’ is to get your laundry done. That’s vision!
I’ve had to make myself grab hold of this concept by typing the statement “you can only conquer your past by focusing on your future” really big and taping it in front of my daily planner. Personally, I have to have action steps in order to comprehend a lesson. So, in each chapter of this book, I have outlined a “chapter challenge” for you to walk out. Every single chapter challenge is something I’ve walked out in my own life one at a time… consequently, I am now writing a book on letting go of the past. In other words, if you really do it, it works!
“A person with no vision will always return to their past.”
The first challenge is to dream. You must have a vision or you will go back to your past. Whatever “your past” means to you. It may mean a life of drugs, alcoholism, crime, not serving God, a wrong relationship, bitterness, anger, isolation, fear, grief, laziness, poverty, debt, insecurity, a series of bad choices and the list goes on.
Whatever you have battled and worked hard to overcome in your life, satan will attempt to bring that exact same temptation, habit, or behavioral tendency back into your life hoping to drag you back to a past you’re trying to forget. He cannot do that if you have vision, if your eyes are focused on a plan. If you’re not focused on something, you’ll be easily distracted by everything. Especially a temptation or habit from your past! You must have a vision, a plan, something to fix your eyes on today.
Another ‘success clue’ is found in Habbakuk 2:2 – “And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.’” Having a vision for your life is vital to living your life with purpose versus just existing. God did not create you for the purpose of taking up space. He hand designed you for a specific purpose. Your job is to discover that purpose, get a plan and pursue it.
The Bible clearly says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”(Proverbs 29:18). There’s no confusion about that verse. YOU WILL PERISH if you do not have a vision for your life. Perish means die!
You can’t change what happened to you. You can’t change what you did. You made choices. You did things you wish you hadn’t done, but it’s over. And God wants to use you. . . while you’re here. He is incapable of making mistakes. And He made you…for a purpose.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Don’t be like Lot’s wife who lost her future because she looked back! Turn around and start walking towards your vision. You may need to assign a special clean up day at home. You may have reminders of your past just laying around your house and you have no idea what those “things” are doing to your emotions. I never knew just how powerful certain things from my past would be in keeping me tied to it. Satan works through our 5 physical senses. He uses our sense of sight, sense of hearing, sense of touch, sense of taste and sense of smell to tempt us to go back. Go through every closet, every drawer and every cabinet. Throw away anything that has a negative emotional tie to it. There may be things you can sell such as jewelry given to you that you don’t need to hang onto.
I’m not saying that everything connected to your past has to be trashed or every single picture of you and an old “flame” has to be destroyed. I am saying that anything that has a hold on you in some way and is keeping you from total freedom needs to be thrown out of your life. You will experience a certain freedom inside and out — simply by cleaning out your past. What a release!
Deut. 7:26 says, “Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction.” Why is this so important? Why is this so serious? Because God wants to do a new thing in your life and He doesn’t want any old things keeping you back! Satan will use whatever he can find to drag you back to the past! Psalm 101:2 says, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”
Get ready for the new thing God has for you and start making your dreams bigger than your memories.