Today I learned something so important to remember during times of change or transition. I tend to think of the past and wish I were the same woman, feeling the same way, experiencing the same things. I can live in the past and fight to create an experience I once had.
But people change. I’m aging. You’re aging. We will inevitably enter new seasons. We aren’t the same from year to year. When we live in the past as if we want to inhabit that person that no longer exists, we’ll find ourselves hitting a wall each day. We wonder why we’re not feeling the same. We just want to feel normal.
But there’s no normal in times of change and transition. As I thought about these things, the same two scripture passages resounded in my head. It was as if the Holy Spirit was calling out, over and over again, so I would hear it.
The first is Isaiah 43 when the Lord speaks to His people. I find so many wise principles in this passage:
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.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
I think of forgetting the past. I think of no longer dwelling there. I think of how God is always providing for His chosen people and positioning them to praise Him no matter what. That’s how I want to think of myself when I don’t feel like myself. I’m being positioned to praise here. I’m no longer dwelling on the past me, but I’m seeing how God is doing a new thing.
Second, I think of Paul’s declaration in Philippians 3: 12a-14:
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I love the idea of pressing on (not looking back) of straining towards the future (not looking back). We press on into new things. We aren’t the same. We’ll never be the same. When things start changing in ourselves or in our circumstances, we remember the wisdom of not dwelling in the past and wishing we were there.