Peace With Your Past
Making peace with your past is essential to living an authentic life. Your past does not define you. It prepares you.
Yet, for some of us, letting go of the past is something we really struggle with.
Why is it so hard to let go of something so painful?
If we are honest with ourselves, which is really the basis for authenticity, sometimes holding on to the pain of our past is a self-serving habit. Hear me out on this. There was a time in my life where I played the “victim” game.
Every. Single. Day.
You know the game. It has two players, the victim and the perpetrator (sometimes that perpetrator was me). Whenever I failed at something or felt jaded, abandoned or rejected by someone else, as the victim I would rehash the hurt and pain from my past as a way to confirm the current pain I was feeling.
It was a vicious cycle. The payoff was the “acceptance” of myself as being a complete failure. I would essentially agree with the perpetrator, and in so doing, compound the pain even more. This was the easiest thing for me to do because fighting the pain was just too hard. I didn’t have the confidence or the energy to do that.
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Another reason it is hard to make peace with our past is because we somehow feel that if we forgive the perpetrator, including ourselves, we’re essentially condoning the actions.
But this is just not true.
Forgiving someone is completely freeing. Doing so releases us from the grip they have over us. Forgiveness allows us to acknowledge the pain, but not give that pain the power to rule our lives and influence our decisions. It will take some time, especially if the pain is traumatic, but it is definitely rewarding.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
There is a spiritual practice I have recently discovered called stone stacking. As I was researching it I came across a great article from Jane Hugo Davis. She explains the practice very well:
The spiritual practice of stacking stones:
Find three stones of decent size, somewhat flat. They don’t have to be huge. … As you stack them, assign each a meaning — a stone for something specific that God has done, a way that God has provided, something for which you are grateful or hopeful or struggling. Each time you notice the stack, remember what each stone stands for and offer a prayer of thanks.
And when someone comes along and asks you, “What do these stones mean?” tell them the story of what God has done.
It is a visual representation of acknowledging what God has done in your life. However, in regards to making peace with your past, you can change it a little and have each stone represent a past pain you have released or forgiven.
Spend the next few days writing out as many pains from your past as you can. Look at the list and see which ones are holding you back from being who you want to be, who you need to be, and most importantly, who you were created to be. Decide in your heart to release those hurts and use the practice of stone stacking if you feel it could help. Philippians 3:13-14 reminds us of our ultimate goal; to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Remember, our past does not define us.
It prepares us for our calling.Our past does not define us. It prepares us for our calling. #truth #authenticliving #authenticity #write31days Click To Tweet
I hope this gives you some encouragement to make peace with your past on your journey toward authenticity. I know I don’t have all the answers, but hopefully this is good place to start. I’ll leave you with the words of J.D. Nolen…
Now go—find the strength to make peace with your past. And then, put that peace with the past to work. Let it quiet your fears and calm the noise of the present. And with that peaceful mind and heart, go create, take that next step, and make something wonderful for someone else.
This is day five of the 31-Day Journey Toward Authenticity series! To see all the posts in the series, click HERE.