Not your past by Atikonda Nyirongo
Have you looked back at the person you once were and all of a sudden miss what or who you were? It may be the people you had around you, the level of optimism you had or the experiences that you had at a certain point in your life. I mean it is perfectly normal to miss certain aspects of the past because they did affect you in one way or the other. I will use music as one of an example. When it comes to music in my case, I can listen to one song and it will bring a particular memory. It may be the person who shared this particular song with me or a situation that I was going through at a certain point that made the song relevant for me to listen to. It is perfectly normal to at times look back at the person that you once were, this brings about some sort of reflection towards where you are currently and the improvements that you have been able to achieve. Where am I driving to? As the title suggests, you need to remember that:
YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST!!
I feel like I’m not stressing this enough but ladies and gentlemen, YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST!
One of the reasons people fail to progress is the fact that they do not want to cut ties with their past which hinders them from progressing into what God wants them to be. This will mean that instead of using their past as a way guiding them into changing for the better, they do the opposite and repeat the same things they used to do in the past.
I will use an example of a girl (we’ll call her Jane) who wanted to have a closer relationship with God but was once a drug addict. Jane started attending Sunday services and was part of the church youth group. She had regular meetings with a counsellor as she is trying to keep herself from going back to using drugs. As a result of her trying to stop using drugs, she lost many friends because most of them were drug users as well. One day, Jane had a terrible argument with one of her close friends and this left her very stressed. In the past, she used to take drugs to relieve her stress and she currently has not found other ways of dealing with such stress. Since she does not know any other way of handling this stress, she decided to take drugs as a way of reducing the stress that she had. This meant that she has gone back to where she was and instead of progressing, she is backsliding little by little.
Going back to old tendencies may seem to be appropriate as the person has grown accustomed to behaving in a particular way but it does not bring about an element of growth. The growth may be physical, emotional as well as spiritual and going back to old tendencies may make a person feel incapable of changing or improving. Referring to the example, it would be necessary to find other ways of dealing with situations that may cause you to behaving in a way that you once did in the past. An example would be of talking to friends or a trusted adult regarding your issues other than using drugs or harmful substances to try to solve the problem. When it comes to friends, it may be necessary for you to find a new group of friends that behaves in line with a new behaviour or way of life that you want to implement. It is not easy I know but holding on to friends that tolerate your past behaviour may in many ways cause you to continue living in your past.
The past may be positive or negative in one way or the other. As Christians we need to use the past as a measure of success. As a way of determining how far we’ve gone and how far more we need to go. It should be our desire to view the past in this way because we know that the old has gone. We need not to repeat things of the past but rather learn from them when it comes to building ourselves into the people that Christ wants us to be.