Your Past Does Not Define You

In my Wednesday morning Bible study we are working through a book titled FerVent by Priscilla Shirer. She was in the movie War Room and she played the character Elizabeth. She wrote this book after doing the movie and I will forever be thankful. 

This Strategy 5 was actually a couple weeks ago now. I wasn’t going to post about it. Yes I am open and honest about my past on here, in bits and pieces. I didn’t put this up though because it gives a brief but scary description of my past. It gives you just enough to understand that I have a past and it wasn’t good, but doesn’t give many details. 

So here is what I wrote to the amazing women in my Bible study.

Hello Ladies,
Today we talked about Strategy 5, “Your Past”. The past is such a tricky thing to deal with. It is often used to put stumbling blocks in our path. 

The problem with the past is that it is always right behind you! You could lay down in bed tonight and start thinking about something you said, did, or didn’t do 30 seconds before laying down all the way to 30 years before you laid down. The way the devil works, the way his demons work, they see what you do, they choose things that bother you and they exploit them. 

I have a very unchristian past. I grew up catholic, so it isn’t that I didn’t grow up in the church. I went to Our Lady of Consolation from kindergarten to fifth grade. During that time, I had struggles, but it was in sixth grade when it all really came out.

I was not good enough. I was not smart enough. I was not cute enough. I was not friendly enough. I just was not enough. That is where it ALL went wrong! 

By the time I was in seventh grade I was making awful choices. By the time I hit high school, I was living with the devil himself (or so it felt like). Her exit 59 was my Rockford, Belmont, Grand Rapids, Sunfield and Greenville and beyond. I look back and can’t think of a single good choice, wise choice, unharmful choice that I was making at this point in my life.

It wasn’t just then it went beyond the teen years. It went into my young adulthood. Funny thing is I always felt like I was missing something. I was trying to fill this big empty hole in my life and I no matter what I did, I just could not fill it. 
Love didn’t fill it. Children didn’t fill it. Marriage didn’t fill it. Smoking cigarettes didn’t fill it. Drinking didn’t fill it. Friends didn’t fill it. Owning a home didn’t fill it. Even going back to my old church didn’t fill it. So I kept on searching and making unwise choices. 
Finally I came into NCC’s drive back in 2004. God was calling me home. I listened for the first time in a long time. This is when the past really started to hit me, the guilt, the shame, the choices I had been making and justifying year after year after year. 

Satan used people to bring me down. He used me against myself. He used my children. He is just really good at being a snake and slithering in where he has no business being. 

God is good all the time. God is love all the time. God is our encourager. The devil is negative. The devil is hate. The devil is the accuser. 

We do need prayer. We do need to have our strategic prayer. We also I personally think, need to memorize some verses to use against the devil. When he starts to use our past against us, we need to hit back, with his worse nightmare – our Savior, Our God, the Word, the Rock! 

When we turn our lives over to Christ, we are made new! Our past sins, our current sins and our future sins are as white as snow. Guilt and shame brought on by the devil need to take a hike, and we need to arm ourselves to kick him to the curb. 
Pray to God about your past. Ask Him who you can help with your past sins. Use those things for good and not for the shame and guilt satan wants them to be used for. 

Each of you when you share, amaze me. We all have our own journey and yet one thing bonds us all: Christ. Each of you is beautiful inside and out. Each of you has a gift inside of you waiting to be shared. Keep on growing in strategic prayer and allowing God to heal each of you! 

Next week, we tackle our fears! 

God Bless Each Of You!
Amy 

What was it that made me decide to share this today? My past actually. An old friend I reached out to. 

Our past does not define who we are. It is a part of us, yes. We can’t ever go back and erase it. We can’t go back and change what happened. It isn’t on a computer where we can hit delete and start over. It is out past. 

It does help shape who we are, but it does not have to define who we are. God sent His son here for me, for you, for my children, and yours. He came here so that I am made new once I come to Him.

This doesn’t mean I can go ahead and do whatever because I am forgiven. This doesn’t mean I will be perfect and never sin again. What it means is that I am striving to be love, light, and His. I do my best not to sin, but it still happens. When you love someone, you want to do what is best for your relationship and this is a relationship. I want to do what makes Christ happy, what is correct, what is good and what shows that I have Christ in me.

It doesn’t always happen, but that is what I want. 

Today I invited the past back in. I reached out to see how this friend was doing. The best thing about today, I found out he found Jesus! It has been about 10 years now for him and it shows. You can feel Christ flowing through him. Even with me just reading his words. It was amazing, it was fabulous. 

I didn’t know what would happen when I reached out. He could have told me to jump off a bridge. He could have been the same person he was years ago. He could have ignored me all together. Instead, we talked, I said sorry for any pain I may have caused. Now I have this peace, this peace that God gave me. 

Your past does not have to define you. It can and does shape you in your life but it does not have to define your future. If you were writing a book, you as the author have control of the beginning, the middle and the end. In life your parents typically control your beginning, you control the middle and the end. 

For a long time, I was stuck in a spot in my life where I felt I was what everyone said I was. I was stuck at about 14 years old in my mind. When people looked at me, spoke to me, looked down at my choices, I felt as if I was a 14 year old child. It took a lot for me to realize I was in control with Christ at my side and I was in control of my future. My past helped shape who I was but it was no longer going to define who I was.

Where in your story are you? Because if you do not like where your past has you at currently, write yourself a different ending! Your past does not have to define your future! 

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