Your Past is Not Your Future. Putting it All Together

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The past few weeks we’ve said that stubbornness, anger, unforgiveness, pain, shame, purposelessness, and fear keep us stuck in the past.

We observed that your past is not your future when you:

  1. Understand that you can’t solve your problems with the same old thinking.
  2. Accept that life isn’t fair. It’s what you make it.
  3. Know that hurting people hurt people and you forgive to be free
  4. Admit that abuse leaves scars and you get help to heal.
  5. Accept that you will screw up and determine that you will fail forward.
  6. Find your “one thing” and pursue it with passion.
  7. Live one day at a time with faith in your Higher Power.

We said that you have the power to change the direction of your life. That power comes from the choices you make from this moment forward.

You can’t change the past, but you don’t have to replay it in your mind over and over or repeat it in your behavior again and again. Remember: “live out of your imagination, not your history.

You can imagine a different future for yourself, a future that is totally unlike your past. Once you imagine a different future you have the power to choose it or lose it.

Your past is not your future. If you believe it you can achieve it.

Live One Day at a Time with Faith in Your Higher Power, Part 2

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The story of the Sword of Wood teaches us how to live one day at a time with faith in our Higher Power. When we left out poor Jewish friend he was sitting at his table, contemplating how he was going to buy food and drink for the month while he awaited his wages for guarding the king’s palace.

As the poor man sat at his table he saw his new sword hanging in its sheath, and he had a clever idea. First, he made a sword of the same size and shape of wood, like the kind he had when he was a child, and put it in the sheath. Then he took the king’s sword and sold it. The money he got for it was enough to live on until the end of the month. After this he went to the market and bought food and drink for himself and his wife and returned home, a happy man.

What a surprise it was for the king that night, when he returned to the Jew’s house and found him sitting as usual, singing his happy songs in praise of God, as if he didn’t have a worry in the world.

The king asked him what he had done that day, and the man told him all that had happened

Then the king said:

“And what are you going to do if the king finds out about the sword?”

The man replied:

“I don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet. I simply trust in God not to abandon me, and my confidence in him is strong.. Blessed be God, day by day.”

The next day, when the palace guards came to their posts the king ordered that they report to the city square, for there was to be an execution that day, and it was the custom for all the citizens to see the sentence carried out.

When everyone was gathered and the execution was about to take place, the king ordered that the Jew be called upon to cut off the head of the condemned man, who had stolen a melon from the palace garden.

Now when he heard this, the Jew became very afraid and said to the officer who had given him the order:

“Do not ask me to do this, for I have never even killed a fly!”

The officer said:

“It is an order of the king you must obey, and if you do not, it will cost you your life!”

When the Jew saw there was no escape, he asked to be given a few minutes to pray to God to give him courage, and then he would do as he was told.

The Jew stood up in front of the large crowd and prayed silently. After this he lifted his eyes to heaven and said in a loud voice:

“My Lord, you know me very well, and you know that I have never killed anyone in my whole life, and now I am commanded to do so by force. Please Lord, if this man in front of me is guilty, let me take my sword from its sheath and cut off his head with a single blow. But if he is not guilty, let my sword turn to wood as a sign of his innocence.”

By then all eyes were on the Jew. He reached into his sheath and pulled out his sword and held it up high. When everyone saw that it was wooden, the crowd gasped and then clapped and cheered, for they assumed a miracle had taken place.

The king was delighted when he saw the wisdom of the Jew, and he called him over and said:

“Do you recognize me?”

The Jew looked at the king closely and at last he said:

“You are my guest! It is you who has visited my home four times!”

And the king said:

“That’s right, and from now on you will be my guest, for I see you are a man of wisdom, whose confidence in God is strong and unwavering. I intend to make you my royal advisor.”

So it was that the Jew and his wife came to live in the palace where the Jew became the trusted advisor of the king. And all this came about because of his unshakable confidence in God. Blessed be his name, day by day.

Fear freezes you in your tracks. Faith in God allows you to live one day at a time, dealing with each day’s challenges confidently, because you know you have a Higher Power helping you.

The past is not your future when you live one day at a time with faith in your Higher Power.

Next time: “Putting it all Together.”

Live One Day at a Time with Faith in Your Higher Power, Part 1

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When the past has been painful and difficult it’s easy to become afraid. It’s easy to fear that life will always be painful and difficult. Fear freezes us in the past because we refuse to take risks for fear of being hurt again.

What set me free from fear is faith in my Higher Power. Faith that as I live one day at a time God will take care of me.

I believe that for the past not to become your future you need to live one day at a time with faith in your Higher Power.

How do you do that? Here’s a story that show’s how. It’s a traditional Jewish folktale called “The Sword of Wood,” and it goes like this:

Long ago, on a hot summer night in Morocco, the king could not sleep. So he decided to leave the palace and go out into the city for some fresh air. He took off his royal pajamas, the ones with the crown on the pocket, and put on the work clothes of a peasant. He went by himself to wander through the streets of the city.

At first he went to the center of town, and from there he walked until he reached a poor section on the outskirts of the city. After a while the heat began to bother him, and he noticed that one of the houses had a light in the window from which was coming a pleasant singing voice.

The king came closer and peered through the window of that house, and he saw a man sitting at the table beside his wife. On the table were different kinds of fruits and salads and a small bottle of wine. The man drank a glass of wine, tasted the fruits, and sang praises to God. The king stood at the window for a few minutes, amazed at the peace of this poor man, and he wondered why this man was so joyful.

So the king knocked on the door, and when the man inside asked who it was, the king told him that he was a wander, and asked if he might be accepted as a guest. The man opened the door, invited the king inside, and offered him food and drink, while the man himself continued his joyful singing.

After a while the king asked his host,

“What do you do for a living?”

The man replied:

“I am a poor Jew. I wander the streets during the day and fix shoes. With whatever I earn I buy enough for my wife and me to eat for that day.”

And the king said:

“But what will happen when you get old and won’t be able to work?

The man said:

“I don’t have to worry, for there is someone who looks out for me.”

This reply surprised the king, and he said:

“Who is this guardian? I see you and your wife are home alone and that you don’t have any children. And even if you had children this very day it would be many years before they grew up and were able to take care of you.”

At this, the man laughed and said:

“It is not a man who protects me, but God, blessed be his name, day by day.”

The king laughed when he heard this and he got up and said:

“It is late and I must go. But if I come here again, will I be welcome?

The man smiled and said,

“Yes my friend, you are welcome here any time.”

The king went back to his palace and decided to test this man, to see how he would fare in times of trouble. So he issued a command forbidding anyone to fix shoes in the streets.

The next day, when the Jew got up and came to the city, he was astonished to see an order of the king denying him his livelihood.

Then he lifted his eyes to heaven and said:

“God, the door to my livelihood has been shut. But I am confident that you will open another one to take its place.”

And when the man opened his eyes and looked around he saw a man carrying a water jug, and he said to himself: From now on I will be a water carrier.

So he went to the market and bought a water jug, and then he went to the well and filled it and carried it into town until he found someone who needed water. He did this all day long. By evening he found that he had as much money as when he had been a shoemaker. So he went to the market and bought food and drink for himself and his wife and returned home a happy man.

That night the king returned to the house of the Jew to see how he was doing after the order had been given. And the king was astonished when he peered through the window and saw the man as happy as ever.

So the king went to the door and knocked, and the man invited him in to join them at the table.

The king said:

“What did you do today? For surely you saw the command of the king?’

The man replied:

“Blessed be God, day by day. He did not abandon me. The king closed one door to me. But God opened another one in its place.”

And he told the king about how he had become a water carrier and how well his work had gone.

After a while the king said, good-night and returned to the palace. The next day he gave an order that made it forbidden for water to be sold to anyone, from then on each person had to draw water for  himself.

When the Jew returned to the well, he discovered that his new occupation had been outlawed by the king. While he stood there, trying to think of what he might do, a group of woodcutters passed him by on their way to the forest to cut wood.

He asked them if he might go with them and cut wood to earn his daily bread, and they welcomed him.

So it was that he worked hard all day long cutting wood. In the evening, after he had sold what he had cut, he found he had earned as much as he did when he was a shoemaker and a water carrier.

That night the king returned to the house of the poor Jew, curious to know how he had done that day. The poor man told the king about his work as a woodcutter. And when he learned that the Jew had found a new occupation, he decided on a new plan to test the man.

The next morning the king ordered the captain of the guards to come to him, and he said:

“Take your soldiers to the road that leads to the forest, and stop all woodcutters who pass by. Bring them to the palace. Then dress them as palace guards and give them swords, and order them to guard the palace.”

The captain obeyed the king’s command and among the woodcutters who were brought to the palace was the Jew. The woodcutters were made to guard all day long, and in the evening were all sent home with their new uniforms and swords. But they were not paid anything, for the guards received their wages only once a month.

So it was that the Jew returned home empty-handed, and he was very puzzled. For he did not have enough to live on for another day, much less for another month.

How will the woodcutter handle this new challenge? Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story and find out how to live one day at a time with faith in your Higher Power.

Find Your “One Thing” and Pursue It With Passion

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What do all these people have in common besides being famous and successful?

Michael Jordan, Yo Yo Ma, Paula Abdul, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Sonia Sotomayor, J.K. Rowling, Martin Luther King, Jr.

What all these people have in common is that they found their “one thing,” their purpose in life, and pursued it with passion.

For Michael Jordan it was basketball, for Yo You Ma it is the cello, for Paula Abdul it is singing, for Albert Einstein it was the theory of relativity, for Michael Jackson it was singing and dancing, for Bill Gates it is computer software, for Barack Obama it is public service, for Sonia Sotomayor it is the law, for J.K. Rowling it is writing, for Martin Luther King, Jr. it was racial equality.

Each of these people found the “one thing” above all else that was important to them and they pursued it with everything they had, without giving up, keeping their goal in mind even when everything was going wrong.

When they found their “one thing” and pursued it with passion they made something of themselves and made a difference in the world.

So how do you discover your “one thing” and pursue it with passion?

I don’t have a pat answer because the road to discovering your “one thing” is different for everyone. Everyone’s life is unique. Everyone’s interests and abilities are different. But here are some important questions to ask that will start you on your journey of discovery:

  • What is important to me?
  • What am I willing to sacrifice for?
  • What has changed me that I can pass on to others?
  • What unique talent, ability, perspective, do I have that will make a difference in the lives of other people?
  • What was I created to do?
  • What gifts and abilities do other people see in me?
  • What do I want people to remember me for when I am dead?

When I asked these questions of myself I discovered that my “one thing” is the telling of stories of healing, wisdom, and faith that help people on their journey to wholeness.

I have been pursuing my “one thing” for several years now. I am far from famous or powerful, but I know I have made at least a small difference in the lives of many people. If I die today, the world will be a better place because I pursued my “one thing.”

How about you? What’s your “one thing?” Are you willing to pursue it with everything you’ve got?

A thousand candles can be lit from just one candle; the life of the candle is not shortened. The Buddha

Your past is not your future when you find your “one thing” and pursue it with passion.

Next time: Your past in not your future when you live one day at a time with faith in your Higher Power.

You Will Screw Up. Fail Forward!

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Because our society puts such a big emphasis on success we often feel deep shame when we fail. The shame of failure will stick you to your past.

I am intimately acquainted with failure. I did not make many the little league team. My first marriage ended in divorce. Two different careers ended abruptly because I was having personal and mental health problems. I’ve had to come back from two serious mental health crises.

But I know that failure is not unique to me. Because we are  human, everyone fails at one time or another. We all screw up.

There are two important lessons I’ve learned from failure. The first lesson is summed up in the words of a Japanese proverb: “fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

Every time I have fallen I have gotten up again. Persistence, determination, and perseverance conquer failure. In my first post in this series I said “life isn’t fair, it’s what we make it.” Life is hard and sometimes unfair. It will knock you down again and again. The secret to success is getting back up.

As a young woman, J.K. Rowling gave up her dream of writing novels to study something more practical. She ended up as an unemployed single mom “as poor as possible to be in Modern Britain without being homeless.”

But during this rock-bottom time, she realized she still had a wonderful daughter, an old typewriter, and an idea that would become the foundation for rebuilding her life. Perhaps you’ve heard of Harry Potter? “You might never fail on the scale I did,” says Rowling, “But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default.”

You will screw up. You will fall down. Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

The second lesson failure has taught me is this: “fail forward.”

Every time I have failed I have learned something about myself and the causes(s) of my failure.

When we learn from our failures and apply what we’ve learned we “fail forward,” we grow and improve as human beings. Good people are good because they have come to wisdom through failure. Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making the same one a second time.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay not defeat. It’s a temporary detour, not a dead end.” Dennis Waitley

There is no shame in failure unless we fall and choose not to get up or we fail and refuse to learn from our mistakes. You will screw up! Fail forward!

Next time: Your past is not your future when you find your one thing and pursue it with passion.

Abuse Leaves Scars. Get Help to Heal

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Many times the pain we have suffered in our life is so great that it’s hard to let go of. We become identified with our pain. It’s who we are. When we can’t let go of our pain we become stuck in it and we can’t move on from the past.

When I was very young I was sexually abused by my mother and uncles. I managed to hold my life together until I was twenty-six. But from age twenty-six for the next twenty years I had all sorts of problems in my marriage, family, and career until I finally got help for the abuse I experienced as a child.

What kinds of scars did the abuse leave behind? Feelings of anger, worthlessness, helplessness, and depression; thoughts of suicide, trust issues in my relationships, marriage problems and mental illness.

When we are scarred by abuse we can

  • Kill the pain by medicating it with booze, drugs, thrill seeking, sex, cutting, or over-eating.
  • Shout the pain by acting it out through defiance, risk taking, bullying, aggression, or violence.
  • Blame the pain by inflicting it on those we think caused it by treating them with anger, rejection, physical abuse, or punishing them with our own suicide.
  • Or we can heal the pain by getting help. Asking for help is a sign of strength. The journey from abuse to wholeness cannot be walked alone. You need a wise companion.

A lot of people say they want to get out of pain but they aren’t willing to make healing a high priority. They aren’t willing to look inside to see the source of their pain in order to deal with it.

Where can you look for help to heal? Find a trusted family member or adult, a clergy person, teacher, guidance counselor, youth leader, social worker or counselor. Do a web search for the type of help you are looking for.

How high a priority are you willing to make healing?

Abuse leaves scars, get help to heal or you will be another hurting person hurting people!

Hurting people hurt people. Forgive to be free!

Next time: The past is not your future if you accept that you will screw up. Fail forward!

Hurting People Hurt People. Forgive to Be Free

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When someone has hurt you its not easy to forgive them. Unforgiveness is probably the biggest reason people get stuck in their past and their past becomes their future.

For you not to get stuck in the past in which you have been hurt by people you you have to know that hurting people hurt people.

What do I mean by hurting people hurt people?

People who have been hurt and are in emotional pain hurt other people. People who have been abused, abandoned, emotionally wounded, often express their anger and pain in unhealthy ways that hurt other people. They may abuse, abandon, criticize, judge, and betray you just as others did to them. They may self-medicate with substances that distort their judgment and cause them to use you for their own ends.

Taking their pain out on you is not fair. But you have a choice as to how you will respond to hurting people and the pain they inflict on you. You can choose to be bitter or you can choose to forgive and be free.

When you harbor bitterness toward people who have hurt you you freeze-frame your life at the moment the pain was inflicted, You become stuck in the past. When you forgive you the people who hurt you, you set yourself and them free to heal, free to move into the future and leave the past behind.

I know of no better story about responding to hurt than the story of “The Sack.”

Once upon a time in a little village, in a beautiful green valley, set between two purple mountains, there lived a poor woman named Judy. Each morning, when the sun rose over the mountains, Judy would leave her little hut and go about her daily chores. She fed the chickens and picked the eggs, milked the cows, and tended the garden. But there was something strange about Judy. For wherever Judy went she always carried a large sack slung over her shoulders.

You see, one day, when she was young, some boys of the village made fun of her by calling her names. “Fatty, fatty two-by-four! Can’t fit through the bathroom door!” When she called them names back, “Moe, Larry Curly, you look like a girly,” they did her one better by throwing stones at her. Since the boys were far to fast for her to catch and far too big for her to fight, she instead picked up all the stones they had thrown and put them into a sack she was carrying. When she got home, she carefully marked the name of each boy on each stone they had thrown.

As the days followed and the name calling continued, Judy carefully collected each stone and marked them with the person’s name that had thrown it. Unfortunately, Judy lived in a time and in a place where everyone was given to throwing stones. Each time a stone was hurled, whether by a child or an adult, Judy found it and named it. Slowly her collections of stones began to grow.

Because the people of the valley knew what she was doing, Judy worried that they might sneak into her hut while she was away and scatter her stones. So each day she carried her sack, and each night she named and sorted her stones. Her daily load got heavier and heavier.

One day the king came to the village to pick a new judge over the people. He picked Judy. She was to be the judge in all matters concerning the king and the kingdom. Dressed in her judicial robes, Judy sat in judgment over all the people of the valley.

After a while, one by one, the people of the valley all came before Judy for judgment over one thing or another. After the charge was read, Judy reached into her sack and pulled out all the stones with the offender‚s name on them. “Five stones in the sack—five years in prison. Eight stones in the sack—eight years in prison. A year in prison for every stone in my sack with your name on it.” There were 490 stones in all.

Strangely, however, as the sack got emptier, it never got lighter. In time there were no more stones in the sack, nor people in the valley. There were no more bakers to bake bread or farmers to grow food. No cobbler to fix shoes or tailor to sew clothes. There was no one to talk or eat with. And there was no one for the king to collect taxes from.

Judy had given out justice. It made her feel good but she was not happy. She was alone and lonely. One morning as she sat at her window watching the sun rise over the mountains, Judy decided she must do something before it was too late. She dressed in her judge‚s robes and went to the village square. There she ordered that all the prisoners were to be set free. The occasion was celebrated with a great feast in the village square. There was eating and drinking and joy among the people. Judy walked freely among them, giving greetings and wishing them well.

Suddenly, a man who was still angry with Judy, shouted a curse at her and followed it with a stone. A hush fell over the crowd. Judy reached down and picked up the stone. Once again, as she had done so many times in the past, she carefully wrote the man’s name on it and put it into his sack. Turning slowly, she looked into the eyes of all the villagers. Then she lifted the sack as if to sling it over her shoulder. Instead, she began to swing it around and around and around over her head. Finally, she hurled it off into the distance. The crowd cheered and shouted.

From that day on, Judy never carried her sack again. From that day on, there was never any need for her to.

Is it time to let go of your “sack?” Is it time to forgive the hurting people who have hurt you? Is it time to forgive yourself for the hurt you have caused others so you can be free?

Hurting people hurt people, forgive and be free! If you do your past will not become your future.

Next time: Your past is not your future when yuo admit that ause leaves scars and you get help to heal.

Life Isn’t Fair. It’s What You Make It

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I was angry for a long time because life wasn’t fair to me. I was born with five different congenital birth defects that required years of surgery to correct. My peers teased me because of the way I looked and sounded.

On top of my physical problems I was sexually abused as a child and my parents were always dragging me into the middle of their fights. Life just wasn’t fair and I was darn angry about it.

But all my anger about the unfairness of life did was sink me into depression and at times caused me to feel suicidal. Then one day I realized that I cannot control the hand life deals me but I can control how I play that hand. I can control my attitude.

Viktor Frankl is a prime example of this.

On September 25, 1942, Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist from Vienna, was arrested and deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, along with his wife and parents. Here’s what he wrote about that experience in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

Most people in a concentration camp believed that the real opportunities of life had passed . Yet in reality, there was an opportunity and a challenge. One could make a victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate, as did the majority of the prisoners. We who lived in the concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but the last of human freedoms-to chose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances- to chose one’s own way.

Viktor Frankl worked as a doctor in the camps and saved many lives. He also set up a mental health unit where he worked to prevent suicides. His family members died in the camps but Frankl survived, and went on to become one of the great Viennese psychiatrists.

Life was not fair to Viktor Frankl, it was what he made it. His choice not to let his anger consume him and to find meaning in the hopelessness of the concentration camp, not only saved his life, it gave hope to countless others who had given up.

When life is unfair to us we have a choice. We can ask why? or what? We can ask “why is this happening to me?” and be angry, or we can ask “what can this experience teach me that will make me a better, more compassionate, more productive human being?”

Life is not fair. It’s time to accept it and get over it. Anger about the unfairness of life only gets us stuck in the past. It’s time to make something of the life we do have, rather than mourn the life we don’t have.

Life isn’t fair, it’s what you make it.

Next time: Your past is not your future if you know that hurting people hurt people and you forgive to be free.

You Can’t Solve Your Problems With the Same Old Thinking

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Trying to solve your problems with the same old thinking is a sign of stubbornness and stubbornness will keep you stuck in the past and doom you to repeat it.

Trying to solve your problems again and again with the same old thinking is also a sign of insanity.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

A few years ago I witnessed a perfect example of insanity. On a beautiful spring morning I was sitting in our breakfast nook enjoying a cup of tea when I noticed a chickadee fly into the window in the door of our garage. The little dirty brown bird hit the glass with a thud and dropped to the ground.

A bird flying into a window is not so unusual. What was strange is that after the little fellow shook off the impact of hitting the window he flew up for another try. Once again he whacked the glass with his head and fell to the ground. Then he shook himself off and did it again, and again, and again. For almost 30 minutes the bird tried to fly through the glass into our garage. Now that’s insanity!

But truth be told, I’ve whacked my head up against the same problem again and again a few times myself. Maybe you have too.

If life is dangerous or difficult for us when we are children we learn to live a certain way in order to survive. That thinking and behavior might have pulled us through our dilemma when we were kids but when we’ve tried to solve our current problems with what we did in the past it hasn’t worked.

To keep trying to solve new problems with old thinking and behavior is stubborn and a bit insane!

When I was a boy I felt a lot of anger. I felt angry when kids teased me. I felt angry when my parents fought and dragged me into the middle of it. I felt angry when I was sexually abused.

I learned to stuff my anger because anger was unacceptable in my family and the amount of anger I felt seemed dangerous to me.

So, like the bird hitting the glass, I followed the same line of thinking and repeated the same behavior over and over. I stuffed my anger time and time again. But that didn’t solve my problems. It only made them worse, until one day I exploded with anger. The explosion ruined my marriage and career and didn’t solve my problem.

It took some serious new thinking to appropriately deal with my anger and solve the problems it created. I learned that new thinking from someone older an wiser, someone who knew about anger and its causes.

What problems are you facing today? You can’t solve your problems with the same old thinking. You have to try a new approach.

In order to live out of your imagination, not your history, you have to be willing to change your thinking and behavior.

Find someone who has “been there and done that” successfully and ask them for help. Listen to what they tell you so you can avoid making the same mistakes again and again.

Take it from the bird and me. Insanity is painful and doesn’t work! Stubbornness dooms you to keep reliving yuor past.

You can’t solve your problems with the same old thinking. For your past not to become yur future you have to try some new thinking and behavior.

Next time: Your past is not your future if you accept that life isn’t fair. It’s what you make it.

Next time: “Life isn’t Fair, It’s What You Make It”

Your Past is Not Your Future

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Time for a change of pace. Over the next several blog posts I’m going to offer you some reflections, proverbs, and stories: wisdom I’ve gained from fifty-three years of living. If I knew twenty-five years ago what I’m sharing with you today, my life would have been a whole lot easier. Then again, it has been through living the ups and downs of my life that I discovered the “horse sense” I’ll be offering you over the next several weeks. I invite you to join me on the journey I’ve taken toward wholeness and listen to what I’ve been learning along the way.

Your past is not your future! Why should you believe me? What do I know about your past and your future?

Well, honestly, I don’t now anything about your past or future. But I’ve learned some lessons from my own past that I believe will help you move on from your past if you are stuck in it.

Stubbornness, anger, unforgiveness, pain, shame, purposelessness, and fear keep us stuck in the past. I know, they kept me stuck in my past for about 46 years. That’s a long time to be stuck.

One day I realized I could not change my past but I did not have to be stuck in it for the rest of my life. I realized that my past is not my future. That gave me hope. I want to share that hope with you.

You don’t have to wallow in the pain of your past. You don’t have to be held captive by your mistakes, failures, humiliations, or transgressions. You have the power to change the direction of your life. That power comes from the choices you make from this moment forward.

You can’t change the past, but you don’t have to replay it in your mind over and over or repeat it in your behavior again and again.. Author, Stephen Covey, encourages us to “live out of our imagination, not our history.”

You can imagine a different future for yourself, a future that is unlike your past. Once you imagine a different future you have the power to choose it or lose it.

Whatever your past was like, it’s not your future if you choose to live out of your imagination, not your history.

So how do you begin to imagine a different future? How do you begin to live out of your imagination, not your history? How do you make sure that your past does not become your future?

Your past is not your future if you understand that you can’t solve your problems with the same old thinking.

Next time: “You Can’t Solve Your Problems with the Same Old Thinking.”