As I stood there breaking up ground beef for chili, I smiled and even laughed a little. A few minutes earlier I had a conversation with my husband. During the conversation I was irritated because a suggestion had been made by a family member about how we care for our son. Now, I like to think a momma and daddy know best, but in this case I actually agreed with the suggestion. The fact that I agreed irritated me even more. We discussed moving forward with this suggestion, and then my husband went outside to play with the kids while I cooked.
A few years ago, I would have blown it. I would have exploded all over my husband for even mentioning this suggestion, as if he and the other family member were personally attacking my mommy rights. Following the explosion, I would have mentally berated myself for not thinking of this suggestion myself, and beat myself even more for exploding and hurting my husband. But I did none of these. Not because of a wave of the magic wand, but because with hard hard work God helped me heal and deal with the baggage of my past.
Due to things that happened when I was a teen, I wanted to be perfect! I wanted to make up for all the things I thought I had done wrong. Anytime someone made me feel slightly less than perfect, I attacked! It was like a shield flew up around my heart, and I could hear nothing they had to say. With counseling, I learned that no amount of perfection would change the past, and also that I held myself to unrealistic expectations. This helped me learn why I was so defensive with others, and how to respond in a more rational manner.
Have you ever heard someone say, “You can’t move on to the future until you have effectively dealt with your past”? I have, and I believe it is true. We don’t go back to the past so that we can re-drag ourselves through suffering. We go back because it helps us understand why we are the way we are. And when we understand these things, we can effectively address our self-destructive behaviors, and move towards change.
I know you may not want to go back. And we certainly do not need to dwell in the past. However, understanding our past and the way it affects our present is an essential step for growth. I love what Psalm 71:20 says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
From the depths, He will bring us up, again and again. His grace is capable of deep sea diving. He is sufficient to delve into and redeem any circumstance, thought pattern, or emotional bondage from your past. But we must be willing to let him go there. He has already seen our troubles, but we must let Him restore us. Bring us back to life. Make us new. Why must we go back? So that with Christ, we may move forward.