Your Path is not determined by your Past
“Our path is not about what we have done or where we have been; it is about where we are going and what we are becoming.” — Reyna Aburto
Do have regrets, feel bogged down by your past mistakes, by past injustices melted down on you and past betrayals from those you have given your trust? Well, I would like to tell you that you are not alone. It is true that your current life is, to a large extent, the result of your past actions, choices and experiences. The great news, however, is that your future path is determined by how you act in the present moment. Thus, your future path is not determined by your past.
As a person, I know that I have made some bad choices in my past. I have hurt and have been hurt, wasted precious time on frivolities, told lies, been selfish and self-centred. I also have been a victim of bullying in secondary school as well as other injustices that were not entirely my fault. As a result, I had regrets, experienced guilt, felt angry at myself and towards those who wronged me in my past. I am but a human. These feelings of regret, guilt, resentment, and anger weighed me down and affected my attitude back then. I became a slave to my past knowing that I could not change what transpired. Then suddenly, I had a Damascus experience of Paul. The scales of the past covering my eyes fell off through the light of Jesus (I am a Christian, remember) and then I realized that my past only had a grip on me because I allowed it. I decided to accept the fact that I could not change the past and the present moment. Another thing I did was to forgive myself for my past mistakes and also forgive those who had hurt me. It was a redemptive moment for me.
I can tell you with all confidence that your past does not determine your future path. No matter what has happened in your past, you can choose how much power it can wield over your current life. You cannot change the past, but you can choose how you react to it. I have seen friends who keep crying over the spoilt milk of the past and each moment they do, the chains of their past will tighten its grip on them. Reject that chain in your life.
There are a few other examples of people you may know that was not shaped by their pasts.
Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln met many failures and losses in his life. He had a business failure. He lost his fiancé. He even had a nervous breakdown. Attempting to be the USA President, he was defeated a dozen times. Back then, many would look at him as cursed and under the pain of karma. However, he did not allow his past to determine his future path. He continued until he made it into success. He eventually was elected US President and helped set in motion the freedom of American slaves.
Nick Vujicic: Nick was born without arms and legs. He was terribly disabled, yet he did not let this condition he found himself to determine his future path. He took the steps to educate himself and now he is a pastor, and a motivational speaker, encouraging large crowds to greatness.
Ben Carson: Carson was born into poverty and raised by a single mother. He struggled throughout school and had a breakneck temper. Some of his teachers back then hoped he would amount to nothing. The grace of God found him through his mother’s prayers and guidance. His mother made him read two books a week and write a report on each of them. Eventually, Carson went on to graduate with honours from Southwestern High School, attended and graduated from Yale, and got his M.D. from the University of Michigan. Now, he is a world-renowned Neurosurgeon.
Abraham Lincoln, Nick Vujicic, and Ben Carson all had rough pasts. Rather than define them, their pasts helped mould and shape them into better men.
How about you?
You cannot change your past but you can change how you react to it.
You are much wiser now.
You are not the same person you used to be so you do not have to make the same mistakes you once made.
You do not have to keep punishing yourself in order to be sorry for your past.
Take note of the following points:
Look beyond the Past: No matter how bad and terrible your past might have been, you have to choose to look at it differently. Instead of viewing them with constant regret, try to see them as valuable lessons that you can use today. Make a conscious effort to forgive yourself for past mistakes and constantly remind yourself that you have evolved, matured, and learned from your errors. Again, you do not have to continue to punish yourself for your past wrongdoings in order to be sorry. If you are a Christian, remember that Jesus has paid your debts of sin on the cross with his own blood. Do not allow the report of the devil to continue to make you look little before your past. It has been paid for in full.
You are no longer a victim: Just because you were taken advantage of, sexually abused, bullied, hurt, or treated unfairly by others (sometimes those closest to you), does not mean that you need to keep on suffering. Stop recreating the past in your head over and over again. In fact, it is often your mind constantly replaying a past negative event that causes you substantially more suffering than the actual event itself. You are a resilient survivor. You are saved.
Forgiveness is the key: Having forgiven those who have afflicted hurt on me in the past, I can attest to the fact that forgiveness is redemptive. You do not choose to forgive others because you want to condone or justify what they did. You choose to forgive others because it sets you free. You have to forgive yourself too. Some great men and women you consider as a model made even more terrible mistakes in their past. You do not deserve to serve a self-imposed life-sentence to atone for the wrong you have done or the bad choices you made. Be compassionate to yourself, love yourself as God loves you.
Dear friend, your future path is not determined by your past. The choices, actions and inactions you make today are what will determine your future path. You deserve the best. Break your mould… Jesus sets you free.
What are your struggles on this? You can share your thoughts in the comment section.