With it being the holiday season, a lot of people are already proclaiming [predictably] that they are getting ready for their fresh start in 2019. Past mistakes are all being wiped away and they are walking to the starting gate, ready to jump into the next year with no connection to their previous setbacks or blunders—a clean slate. No insult or shade to anyone, but I do not want a Fresh Start. I don’t want a do-over. I want to be able to take the experiences and lessons from my past with me to motivate and provoke me to move forward. I don’t need to act like my past didn’t happen, and I don’t think other people would let me even if I tried.
[Slight Petty Deviation: You ever realize how some people love to say, “I remember when she/he/you used to….” as if you suddenly have a memory problem? And they are not doing it to help jog your memory, but instead, they really do it to try and keep you within the limitations of your past! Alas, that isn’t the focus of the blog post…so where was I.]
As I prepare myself for the possibility of a new year [and yes, life is a possibility and not a promise for anyone], I don’t want to do it detached from my past. For me, the thought of preparation must include introspection. Included in this process is taking time to reflect on all the things I did wrong and the things that happened to me, as well as the people I offended or the ones who deliberately tried to hurt me. Though you may think that looking back may cause the reliving of painful memories, for me it doesn’t. Reminiscence does not take me to a place of sadness or anger, but instead, it gives me hope and shows me new levels of my inner strength.
This inner strength is the type gained from knowing that though you may have faltered, you didn’t break. The type of resilience from knowing that even when you felt alone and unprepared, you were not motionless. This is the type of fortitude where a glance in the rearview mirror of life sparks appreciation for all that you have done and where you came from. It is all about your climb and your progression. You don’t have to distract yourself with the steps taken by others. Your journey belongs to no one but you. You don’t have to hide your past to live up to other people’s expectations or journey. Your journey is yours alone and there is no shame in having lived and learned.
The realization that I am able to survive my past, no matter the distractions or pain, opens me up to believing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Faith without sight is always my aim, and I am a work in progress. I jump into my possibilities knowing that God is closer than a prayer away, but if I am honest with myself, faith by sight is always my backup plan. Seeing/knowing that I have climbed back up after a fall, provides me with sufficient evidence that God didn’t fail me then and will not fail me now. No one is perfect, and we all have days when our faith drops and doubt sneaks in. But by having the souvenirs of my past tucked into my memory, I can pull them out to remind me of how far I have come and how far I will go.
It is from this wisdom that I pull comfort knowing that my 40 years of experience are there, not to weigh me down but, to encourage me. And now empowered by the sheer fact that I am still on this earth breathing, I am enabled to try new things and break my own self-made boundaries. No longer will doubt limit me to playing within the box and keep me fearful of what lies ahead. Facts show me that there will be good days and I know there will be great days. I also know that there will be days where fear will whisper to me and I will have to lean on my mustard seed-sized faith to pull me through. [Note: fear will come, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t push through kicking screaming—or in my case crying].
So, as I prepare to plan out my next projects and adventures in my My Worth My Work Planner for 2019, I will courageously lay out my goals and the steps I will take to execute them. [Yes, shameless planner plug.] I feel more equipped to do so boldly and with the faith that God will see me through. And if by chance He decides that I am thinking too small—as I have done in the past—and He needs to shake things up to get me on the path, I know that it is okay and that everything will still go according to His plan.
There are lessons from the past that prevent mistakes in the future……
You just have to be willing to look.