I was deleting old pictures from my camera the other day, when I came across this picture that I'd taken a while ago. Even though I hadn't noticed it before, it stood out to me this time round. For the first time I noticed how - without meaning to - I'd managed to capture everything in the frame out of focus except the rear-view mirror.
As I was admiring my unintentional photography skills, I couldn't help but wonder why I had never noticed that about the picture when I looked at it before - or rather why I was only noticing it now. I suspected that it had something to do with something that had been recently weighing heavily on my mind...
A few weeks ago, my morning devotions led me to these verses:
“Forget the former things;do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness,
and streams in the wasteland." - Isaiah 43:18-19.
My devotions led me to these verses twice in one week - something I don't believe was a coincidence. Nevertheless, even after reading the verses the second time around, I was still finding it hard to act on them. For some reason I wasn't ready to stop dwelling on the past. I had become too comfortable re-visiting it every now and then; after all, it is a familiar place - one that holds a lot of beautiful memories for me. It only made sense that I would want to go back there every now and then, right?
But what I didn't realize was that it also held memories that were keeping me from moving forward...
As is the case with everything in life, there is always bad to accompany the good, and it's no different in the case of my past. The bad was in the form of memories that I spent too much time re-living - time that should've been spent trying to forget them and move on from them instead. Memories of me making poor decisions about the people I spent time with and the things I allowed myself to be a part of - or rather I allowed to be a part of me. Memories that to this day still make me feel a bit insecure and unsure of myself.
It's hard to focus on who you're becoming when you're bent on keeping your eyes fixed on who you used to be.
The saying goes, "When your past calls, don't answer; it has nothing new to say."
But I disagree. Sometimes answering that call could be the key to moving on. There are parts of our past that just won't seem to go away. They keep creeping up even when we think we have seen the last of them. When your past keeps calling, maybe it's because it's trying to alert you to a part of it that you haven't dealt with yet; maybe it's trying to pull your attention to the root of the problem that you're trying so hard to ignore...
In my case, at least, answering the call finally led me to realize that what was keeping me from heeding the words in the bible verses above was that I hadn't dealt with these parts of my past from their roots.
So one last time, I went back to the past and I finally made peace with the bits that were holding me back. And it was only after I'd done so that I was finally ready to move on for good. I can finally look back at my past without dwelling on the negatives now; instead, I am grateful for the lessons they taught me, and I am confidently carrying those lessons with me as I walk into my future.
Now when I look at the rear-view mirror, I hardly keep my eyes focused on it for too long. I'm more excited about what's ahead of me because I know that who I was won't get in the way of who I am anymore. I can now walk into my future as a wiser person, a person who has made peace with her past, and is confident about her future.
And with that I leave you with a quote that I think describes better how we should deal with our pasts:
"Make peace with your past so that it doesn't spoil your future."😉😊