Last night, during a book study at church, God told me to tell the group a specific story about my past. This is not a story I tell to many and telling it to a group of people at one time was a bit scary. Instead of being obedient to God, I figdeted in my seat quietly. I kept on asking, “Why this story, God? Any other story but this one.” He reminded me of what I said two weeks ago in the study. I said that I was working on my past to make it a testimony. Last night, God gave me the opportunity to tell my story, and I left church with a misopportunity. God kept telling me that someone needs to hear your story tonight, but fear got in the way of telling it.
The truth is, we should never be afraid to share our past with others, because we are living in victory today by overcoming it. We should never be ashamed of who we were, because what happened in the past shaped our today. We need to realize our story matters, and it encourages others. I need to put into practice what I preach.
Below is the link to my story. A story full of regret, past hurts, and being unlovable. A story that is powerful and can encourage others if I allow it to be talked about in group settings. The second link is to encourage you to write your story on my page, and let it encourage those who read it. Your story matters! Our story matters!
Our past hinders us from moving into our future. We allow shame and regret to discourage us from seeing what is right in front of us. God is trying to lead us in a new direction, but, yet, we look back to see what we are walking away from. It only takes one moment to miss God’s opportunities for our lives.
We are all familiar with a story in Genesis when God decided to destroy the city of Sodom. Their sinful ways brought about God’s wrath on the city. Abraham, after much persuasion, changed God’s mind from killing everyone living in Sodom and saved Abraham’s brother and family before destroying it (Genesis 18:16-33). “Two angels arrived at Sodom” the same day to warn Lot about God’s decision and to flee from the city (Genesis 19:1). Lot hesitated and the angels took “[Lot’s] hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them to safety (Genesis 19:16). One of the angels told them to “‘flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17).
The keywords in verse 17 are: “Don’t look back!”. The verse did not say what would happen if they looked back toward Sodom. The angel just told them to look forward and continue up the mountains. When Lot and his family reached Zoar, “the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom — from the heavens” (Genesis 19:23). The Lord “overthrew [the city] and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the [city]–and also the vegetation in the land” (Genesis 19:25). God did as he said he would and the people lost their lives to sin. Only four people were saved because of Abraham’s plea to the Lord.
As God was destroying the city of Sodom, “Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” instantly (Genesis 19:26). She had no time to rethink her decision and had no idea what happened to her. She allowed her old life to get in the way of the new. She allowed her past to hinder her future. We can all relate to Lot’s wife. How many times have we looked back on our past life and missed opportunities to see our future? Maybe there is shame or regret keeping you in the past. I pray you let that part of you go so you can live in the present. Lot’s wife had her whole future ahead of her, and she let that all go because of one moment.
Leaving our past behind means we don’t look back. We look forward to our future and hold on to the memories we once had. God made a choice to save Lot and his family from the burning sulfur. He gave them a future which His original plans did not. God gives us the same opportunities. He gives us a future as long as we don’t look back. What do you need to let go so you can step into your future?