I was blessed earlier this week to speak to Reverend Jocelyn J. Jones for an episode of her podcast, Faith on the Journey. We discussed the keys of overcoming guilt and shame. I am a firm believer that guilt and shame do very little to help us grow, transform, or mature. Guilt and shame, if unchallenged, can make people sink into feelings that seem impossible to overcome.
On my journeys as a coach and counselor, I have learned that the way we interact with the past directly determines the trajectory of our current season. In general, people tend to have three primary interactions with the past. They either learn from it, they lose themselves in it, or they pretend that the past never happened. Do any of these reactions sound familiar to you?
Pretending that the past never happened is the worst of these interactions. It is impossible for you to learn from what you fail to acknowledge or accept. We repeat the history that we do not learn from. If you pretend that the past didn't happen, you'll find yourself repeating old seasons, tests, and lessons that you should have already learned.
Just as there is danger in ignoring the past, there is extreme danger found in staring so intently into the past that you lose yourself in it. Similar to Lot's wife in the Bible, if you stare too long into your past, you will become salty and will eventually fall apart. It is impossible to learn from a past that you are still enthralled in. Hindsight becomes 20/20 when you have separated enough from the past in order to see clearly and learn from it.
That leads us to the method of glancing back at the past in order to turn the lessons of past seasons into wisdom in the current one. Learning to live life with your primary attention towards the future is the ultimate posture of faith. I believe that God has already prepared me for everything that is to come. I've learned my past lessons. I'll keep my eyes forward with an expectation that my greatest days are ahead. That, to me, is the ultimate mindset of faith. That is true faith on the journey .