Do you have painful things in your past, that you are ashamed of, regret, wish had not happened, or wish that someone had not inflicted upon you? We all do. But these negative and self-condemning thoughts can become so entangled in our hearts, that we begin to believe they define us. When we let those thoughts define us, and keep us from believing who we are in Christ, the devil has a party.
Understanding that we are all sinners, all have skeletons in our closets, and that we are all in need of a Savior, is the first step towards allowing God to use our past to glorify Him in our present and future.
Until we embrace God’s forgiveness and love, and let go of the negative feelings about ourselves that have evolved over time, we cannot embrace God’s love for us, or fully understand how He can use all things to His glory.
For example, when God called me to speak and write and share my testimony, my immediate answer was… no way, hosea! I refused to allow God to use me, for a lot of reasons and excuses that I felt were valid.
For one, I had no idea what being a speaker and a writer even meant. All I knew was that God told me to “go and share”. Those are the words I heard ringing in my ears on that infamous day when God reached down and whispered into my soul.
Secondly, I already had a full time job, and did not want another one, and had no intention of making any changes or sacrifices.
And thirdly, I felt a panic attack coming once I clearly understood that God was calling me to be transparent for Him. To share my mistakes. To expose my sins. So I clearly and firmly said no – and I meant it!
But most importantly, above all other excuses, I felt like the most unworthy of all unworthy souls wandering this earth. I had made mistakes in my past which had shaped my mind to believe that I was too despicable in God’s eyes, to serve Him.
However, after a couple years of God working on my heart and helping me to see that He loved me – despite me – I finally felt convicted enough to step out of my comfort zone and trust that God new what was best for my life.
Once I took those first baby steps of faith, I discovered a freedom and peace that I never thought possible. I felt a new sense of self-worth because I had learned how much God loves us, and that His gift of forgiveness is real.
I had to allow God to transform my mind and my thoughts, before He could begin to transform my life.
When the stronghold of negativity was broken, I was freed from the guilt, hurt and resentment that had been so deeply rooted in my heart. I was finally able to embrace the joy that God offers, and learn to see myself through His eyes, instead of my own.
I realized that the devil had been having a party at my expense for far too long, and that if I didnt allow God to use my past for His purpose, then all of my pain would be nothing.
Self condemnation is a powerful tool in the enemys toolbox, and God cannot flourish in a heart that is filled with it. Will you give up those negative, self-condeming feelings and allow God to fill your heart with the compassion and grace that He promises?
The past is the past, and that will never change. However, we can allow the past to build our character, strengthen our faith and touch the hearts of others – or we can allow it to keep us feeling condemned, discouraged and negative…..shackled with invisible handcuffs, of which Satan holds the only key.
God does not call everyone to share their past experiences in public, as He did me. But He does call everyone to a divine purpose, and it is our life that equips us to fulfill the destiny He ordained us for.
Have you asked God lately how He has equipped you to bring Him glory, through your past?
Will you let go of the negative thoughts that stem from your past, and allow God to fill you with His love and optimism instead?
Will you give God the key to your heart today?
Psalm 130:3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
Day Six Challenge Activity: Believe that God can redeem you, despite your past. That He loves you, despite your mistakes. And that there is a purpose for your pain.
Believe that God loves you, no matter what. Whatever you have done, whatever you have allowed, whatever has been done to you – God forgives – God loves – God forgets the past – and He wants us to as well. (Click here for a special post about God’s love for you.)
Trust Him today, no matter what. Accept His forgiveness, once and for all, and then, forgive yourself. Once and for all. Don’t let your pain be all for nothing.
Bonus Challenge: Consider these personal reflection questions:
Do you have painful things in your past that have been strangling the joy out of your heart? Memories that seem to haunt you, day after day, year after year?
Is it possible that pain buried in your heart from years ago, is keeping you from being able to find your optimism and happiness in life?
Do you believe that God has a purpose for your pain?
Do you desire for your pain to be for something good? To be able to make a difference in the Gods kingdom?
Will you allow Him to use your experiences for His glory?