"You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one."
My little sister says it out loud. She felt like reading off an inspirational quote she saw on Pinterest, she says.
And it rings loud into the air between us because I know the truth of that statement.
I am too often a re-reader. Perhaps you can commiserate. Maybe you are a re-reader, too.
It is an important and healthy life skill to be able to look at, revisit, or consider the past in order to grow. Growing from the past and making positive changes because of it is very productive. However, sometimes you and I can fall into the trap of living there. We build a little house in the past and we sit in it and think and re-think and mull over everything and we let it affect our hearts and our souls and it slowly starts to steal what we own and what God gives.
Our God gives new life. Our God gives resurrection.
Your past does not solely consist of the list of shameful things you have done or the mistakes you have made. Living in the past consists of forming decisions based on what other people have said about you, or constantly thinking of unhappy experiences you have had. It looks like an inability to forgive those who have hurt you. It manifests in dwelling on things you wish you could have done better or things you wish had turned out differently. It looks a lot like spending a life consistently remembering the ways you have disappointed others or disappointed yourself.
And these things, if given the power, will ruin a life that is meant to be joyful. They will make you deaf to our good God and His resounding promise..."I make all things new." They can destroy present joy, steal your faith, or leave you hopeless. Dwelling on these things can wreck relationships or rid you of any sense of direction.
But the beauty of this life is that you and I both get to choose. We get to select our direction...forward or backward.
I am persistently taking great steps in consciously choosing to not dwell on the things of old. For those of us who fall into this trap, it can take a continual decision against the dwelling. But today, after she says it out loud, I think to myself...
It is time to stop re-reading the last chapter. It is time to start the new one. It is always time to move.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19