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Laying Aside Your Past

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It's a new year, so naturally, everyone is talking about new year’s resolutions! I know, I know, some of you are saying “I made a resolution last year to not make anymore resolutions,” but I’ve got great news for you. Since resolutions are “never kept,” you can make some this year! What can I say, I like lists, so I can’t resists writing down a few things I want to try to accomplish in the new year. If it makes you feel better, you can call them goals (it does make me feel a little better).

As I was reading, I came across a verse that I thought would help me not be discouraged about things I had not yet accomplished because of one difficulty or another.  

I’m sure many of us have heard the encouragement given by Paul in Philippians 3:13: “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it [the goal = fully knowing Him]. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

It's considered that that part about “forgetting what is behind” is the idea of forgetting hardships and moving past them, but interestingly enough, the context of this passage can also imply Paul not wanting to allow his past accomplishments to hold him back. He didn’t want to live in the past. He didn’t want to allow himself to use his past successes as excuses for why he didn’t need to continue striving toward knowing Christ fully.

I find that quite fascinating. Quite opposite of what I would think. However, if I consider the times I’ve talked myself out of listening to the extra sermon material because “I already went to the service. We go every week.”, or explained away the idea of doing a short-term mission trip because “I’ve already done missions overseas,” or skipped being involved in a Bible study because, “I’ve already studied that book of the Bible,” I can start to identify with Paul a little. It can be easy to let past “good things” get in the way of future ones that would help us toward the goal of knowing Christ more fully.  

Paul seems to have a way of shedding new light on things (or maybe I should credit the Holy Spirit). Here I was wanting a verse that patted me on the back and said not to worry about past hardships or broken resolutions and keep pressing onward. Instead, my opinion would be that Paul is speaking to the mature in the faith and saying “Hey! Stay active! Be on the move. God has done great things through us, but He isn’t done with us yet.”

So, as you consider some of the things you would like to do this coming year, try not to rule out things that would help you know Christ more fully just because you’ve already done it. Sifting through our past successes can give us perspective, but we don’t have to let it stall us in our walk with Christ.

Be Here Now

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“Be here now!” was the banner that often decorated our walls at my workplace.

It attempted to encourage an attitude of excitement about being somewhere you were required to come in order to make a living. It was a great job and atmosphere, but work is still work. It was hard to be very excited about it.

However, as I moved on to different stages of life, I’ve realized how wise and right that statement is.

Isn’t it easy to wish for the next thing? If Christmas would just come... If winter would be over (or never come)... If Johnny was potty trained... If Sally would only get married... If I could just graduate... If I only had enough money to retire... If we could just get our house fixed up. The list goes on and on.

There's always something to be looking forward to, but only at the risk of losing the moment.

I can’t tell you how many moms have told me not to wish away the late nights with my babies or the “one more story” moments. Each stage can seem to drag on at times, but all stages will pass without returning.

Be in the moment. Be here now.

There is so much to enjoy in the moment that will never be the same in the next one.

Take notice of your spouses changing interests and strong qualities.

Enjoy the living room despite the unfinished basement.

Squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of your job.

Highlight the best aspects of your friends instead of imagining a perfect one.

Be thankful for whatever salary you have.

I have an accountant friend who just told me how he witnesses regularly the fact that no matter how much money someone is making, it doesn’t mean they don’t have problems. If some problems are solved by the money, they come up with new ones. The people who are happy with a small salary are still thankful with a big one, but those who aren’t content with a small one, aren’t content with a big one either.

Putting our focus on people as they are now and not on stuff as it should be later can go a long way in keeping our hearts aligned with Christ’s.

He knew what was to come in His life on earth, but He still took time for people.

Be here now with the people God has put around you by being grateful for whatever is filling your moment and stage of life. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by Michaela Goen with