This is not a post on family caregiving, but I felt someone needed to read this today. So, I updated this post on trusting God. I hope it helps and makes your life just a little bit easier.
Trust God and let go of the past. Looking back with disappointment or regret is a waste of your time, and it’s keeping you from God’s best. So, stop doing it, friend!
Let me get the heavy stuff out of the way first.
If sin keeps you stuck in the way-back machine, then confess and turn away from it (1 John 1:9). This faithful, humble act will remove any impediments you are sensing in your personal connection to Jesus.
Remember, though He did not sin, Jesus experienced weakness and temptation as a man on earth. Because of that, He sympathizes with us, even stepping into our suffering, so we are not alone. Now, then, go to Him with confidence, and there find His grace and mercy. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Be encouraged, my friend. Jesus is waiting for you, so you don’t need to look back. Instead, scripture tells us to look straight ahead (Proverbs 4:25) with confidence in Christ (Philippians 1:6). On the other hand, the consequences of sin in our lives often lead to disappointment and regret. Still, we learn and move forward with repentance. But God is faithful, so let’s get going.
Maybe fear is holding you back. Friend, I believe that a lack of trust in God is the root of fear. We don’t think God can do what He says He can do for us. We might believe it for everyone else, just not for ourselves. Well, that is what the enemy wants you to think. Don’t believe this lie. Don’t let those roots grow deeper. Instead, why not pray and find out why you can’t trust God yet?
Getting out of the rearview mirror
It’s ok to look back at the good things that came out of bad choices and circumstances. Reflection has a way of reminding us of the good things God made from our messes. But don’t spend too much time in backward contemplation. The past is a reference point, not an anchor. Lessons to keep moving us forward, in Christ. So, let’s be intentional in this “letting go” process by doing the heart-work. It takes constant practice but it is so worth the effort! So, encourage yourself by focusing on what God will do, not what you did.
The good news is that as we mature in Christ, we learn to make better choices and trust God more and more, living in confidence because of His faithfulness.
Help to let go of the past
I’ve chosen a few verses that helped me put one foot in front of the other when I’m stuck looking in my rearview mirror for too long. I’m counting on them to help you, too.
Fix your gaze directly before you
Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
In other words, don’t look back. We can’t undo the past, reel in words we let escape, undo the bad decisions or their lasting effects. Nope, do-overs don’t count.
What we can do is live a redeemed life. Christ died so you could live (John 3:16). So live!
We can mourn our yesterdays, but this only feeds today’s disappointment. So let’s not live there. Instead, let’s learn from our yesterdays while we live today and hope for tomorrow (Rom 15:13). Take it from someone who is working hard to stay unstuck. I’m coaching myself to trust God and let go of the past just as much as I encourage you to do the same. Releasing it is the key to moving forward.
Psalm 55:22a Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders – He’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. (MSG)
Releasing whatever IT is from your past or present circumstances won’t get easier until you start doing it. Getting and staying in the bible helps. Go ahead, relax your grip, open your hand, and give it to Jesus. You can do it in His strength (Phil 4:13). You may have to release your troubles repeatedly before finally letting them go. So, keep doing it. Sooner or later, your troubles won’t be the dominating factor in your thinking. You won’t think of them quite so often anymore because you’ll be busy looking forward.
Stop the replay
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my steps; it lights the path before me. (The Voice)
Be careful in your thinking (Prov 4:23). When you hear the coulda-woulda-shoulda tapes start replaying in your head, the enemy would like nothing better than for you to keep listening. Hit the eject button! You have the power (2 Tim 1:7) to turn it off. Then toss it out the window. Just don’t trip over it later. It’s gone. No do-overs, only forward.
Here’s the thing, we all have only so much time here in this world, so why waste it on the way back machine? Now go! Now go! Instead, fix your gaze directly before you and, by faith, take one step at a time. There’s a path that the Lord has planned just for you (Prov. 4:26).
Make the most of your time
Psalm 90:12 Teach us how short our life is so that we may become wise. (GNT)
Why is it so hard to let it go? You can do it. Start with prayer.
Release the tension.
Relax your grip.
Open your hand.
Could you give it to Jesus?
He is waiting for you.
With prayer and practice, you can do it (Phil 4:13).
Offer praise and worship for what God is going to do in your life. Now, you have something to look forward to.
Trust God because He is trustworthy, friend. Know whose you are as a chosen and beloved child of God. So, why not do the good work? Learn to trust God and let go of the past, live confidently in Christ today, and fully expect Him to show up tomorrow. Just make sure you show up too, not allowing yourself to stay stuck in sin or fear any longer.
We’ve learned that it takes practice and that staying close to God through prayer, worship and His word is important to the “letting go” process. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8), energizing us for what comes next.
So with all of this in mind, why not start trusting God now?
Updated on September 2, 2022
Most weeks you can find me on these blog linkups: Inspire Me Monday, Grace and Truth, and Five Minute Friday.
Arrow Photo by Smart on Unsplash
Hourglass Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Well said Suzette
I’m just trying to stay unstuck. Thanks for visiting.
I so agree with you though today I wrote that we should look back to see what we have learned to pay it forward.
Agreed! Yes, let’s learn and share, just not dwell. I appreciate your insight. Thanks for stopping by.
Don’t look back is such an important reminder! I’m your neighbor at FMF this week.
I remind myself every day. Thanks for visiting, Tara.
Thanks for visiting.
…and Amen! Thanks for visiting.
Hey friend! Sorry I never responded to your email about Breathe…I won’t be able to attend this year. Good to see you posting here- I know how hard it can be to stop living in the past and coulda-woulda-shoulda land! I’m #2 in the link up this week.
Hi Amy! Don’t think I’ll make Breathe this year either:-(
Thanks for stopping by, it’s great to hear from you. Your website looks fantastic!
Amy, Had trouble leaving a comment on your new post, but I want you to know that So glad to see you’re writing again. This is a great return from where you left off. I really enjoyed reading the piece and look forward to more.
Amy, Had trouble leaving a comment on your new post, but I want you to know that I’m so glad to see you’re writing again. This is a great return from where you left off. I really enjoyed reading the piece and look forward to more.
Yep. Darn right.
Y’all inspired a sonnet.
If you look back, over the shoulder
doing eighty on the interstate,
you’ll find you won’t get much older,
and will meet spectacular fate.
The stuff that is behind you
doesn’t need examination;
it’s already part of all you do,
and it colours contemplation.
Just let it go, it won’t be lost
(though it might be better so!);
writing it off won’t change the cost
of where you’ve yet to go.
Just give it to God, and wave goodbye,
drop the weight, and learn to fly.
#1 at FMF this week.
Hi Andrew, Thanks so much for the lovely response. Yes, I’m learning to give it to God, wave goodbye in my rearview mirror, and leave it there knowing I can’t undo what is already part of me. Only move forward in Christ.
I’m so thankful for the encouraging tone of your writing. You’re so easy to identify with, and I love the reminder to keep giving the past to Jesus, as we walk forward with him. Thanks so much for sharing!
I’m so glad you stopped by. Yes, giving the past to Jesus is sometimes a challenge, but only done in Christ’s strength. Thanks for your encouragement.
Looking back often brings regret and a beating our self up. Which doesn’t change anything. So many good tips here. Just this week when I was telling a friend about some guilt I was carrying she said, “Don’t you think it is time to set that down for good?” The answer is yes.
Yes! I hope this post serves as reinforcement of your friend’s encouragement to lay it down. Leave it with Jesus. Thanks, Theresa.
The Lord knew I needed to read your post today, Suzette. I’m struggling to let go of something that happened last week. I keep replaying it in my mind, but I need to stop and move forward, trusting God with it. Thanks for the gentle nudge.
Hit the eject button, Lisa! I’m glad this post is nudging you forward.
I love this. At times we should look back, but when that look back pulls us back into a bad story, we know it’s not a good idea. I know I need balance in that area and found this article so helpful!
Donna, I’m glad you found this post helpful. Knowing which nuggets to take from our story and when to turn forward is always tricky for me, too. I really had to study this cycle to stop it.
Ahhh, Suzette. This is such a great post. With some things going on in my life right now, I could spend a lot of time lamenting past interactions and decisions. However, they can’t be changed. And you’re so right . . . we only have so many days to circle this sun. We shouldn’t waste them in the “shoulda-coulda-woulda” thinking. Let be like Paul and press into the present and forward on this path God has laid out for us.
Hi Jeanne, I agree. God’s path is soooooo much better. It should be easier for us to look forward to His destination instead of looking back at our wrong turns over and over. Press on, girlfriend!
I like to think I don’t get stuck in the past…but reading this made me realize I DO get stuck there more often than I’d like to admit. Thank you for the reminder to let God and to practice releasing over and over until it happens naturally!
Practice makes perfect, eventually. 😊 Thanks, Anita.
Fistbump is my web host. I’m not sure why my reply came back as FB. Tech is a mystery to me.
Oh, how much time we waste looking back with regret and anger! Thanks for a beautiful reminder to walk out the grace we’ve been shown.
Amen! If only we realized the time and energy we were wasting at a much younger age. But let’s not linger there. Instead, move forward in His grace. Thanks for stopping by and come again.
The past is done, so let it be!
That’s harder than it looks;
just go to Amazon and see
all of the pshrinks’ wise books
on letting go and moving on,
a freed heart taking wing!
But when that final chapter’s gone
it does not mean a thing
unless you take forgiveness
from God’s gentle care.
Elseways you are in a mess
picking self up by own hair
(which if you do it sure will shock
your followers upon TikTok).
Nice to here from you, Andrew. I think I have a few of those “pshrinks’ wise books” in my bookcase. No TikTok for me though.
You’ve wrapped a lot of encouragement and wisdom into this post. I especially relate to the need for releasing my troubles. God is teaching me the importance of surrender and, while it isn’t easy, I am learning to trust more in His love.
Thanks for linking up with Truth and Grace and for speaking to my heart today!
Oh, Tammy, I am so glad you were encouraged. Surrendering is a struggle but always the best, and definitely something that takes practice.