Refuse to saw the sawdust
I’m sure you know people who like to revisit the past and pore over it, again and again so that they make themselves miserable recounting the evils that have beset them throughout their lives. You can’t do a single thing about the past but you can learn from it and choose to live in the present.
We all have imperfect pasts. Some people blame their parents and their childhood. Others blame their school, their work environment, their ethnic background, their spouse, their church, their hometown, the colour of their skin – the list goes on and on.
Paul writes, “I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:13 NASB). In other words, Paul lets the things of the past stay in the past and he keeps his eyes on what lies in the future.
In this way, each day is a new beginning, not just a reworking of the past. You can rebuild your life from ruins so that you can be made whole and happy. Let’s look at a Bible character who gives us the keys for what that rebuilding can look like.
Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and burnt. He had heard, whilst he was living in exile in Persia, that the city was in ruins so he turned to God to bless his plan to return the people of Israel to their homeland. He sought permission to rebuild the walls from the reigning monarch in Persia and carefully prepared materials for the rebuilding.
Despite Nehemiah facing sabotage, propaganda and lies the walls were rebuilt by him and his faithful Israelite builders in just 52 days.
The lessons I draw from Nehemiah when you are facing the brokenness, failures and sins of your past is to turn to God with a soft heart and ask Him to forgive and restore. Be courageous and immovable in your determination to see your life rebuilt. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers but forge ahead believing that if God is for you, who can be against you?
And God can do the impossible – even in just 52 days!