I’m blessed to get to feature my good friend and multi-published author Robin Patchen here at Five Stones and a Sling this week. Robin shares her powerful perspective on a vital topic–feeling tethered by past fear, shame or regret. This one touches almost every believer. And Robin’s post certainly touched me!
Photo Credit: http://getdrawings.com/rear-view-mirror-drawing#rear-view-mirror-drawing-58.jpg
A Guest Post by Robin Patchen
The past is a funny thing.
Although it’s behind us, and although we’re traveling forward all the time, there are a few things back there that never seem to get smaller in that rearview mirror. In fact, some memories from the past seem like monsters nipping at the bumper, always trying to slow us down or veer us off course.
If you’re like me, it’s not the successes that loom so large back there. It’s the stupid things, the embarrassing things, the shameful things that seem to ride my tail. Always there to remind me that, no matter how far I’ve come, I’m not free, I’ll never be free of the monsters.
Or maybe you’re the person reliving those glory days all the time, wishing you could return to a simpler time, a happier time. Maybe remembering what you used to be or have or do is keeping you from the joy you should be experiencing today.
In my novels, I often write about characters who have some deep regret in their pasts, something they feel like they can’t ever overcome, something that keeps them from embracing their present circumstances and walking boldly, fearlessly, into their futures. I think this is a recurring theme with me because I’ve been there. I’ve been tethered to the past by fear, shame, and regret. But like my characters, my goal is to leave the past where it belongs and walk into the future without it.
So easy to say. So hard to do.
But I heard a teaching by Bill Johnson recently, and it’s stuck with me for weeks. The sermon wasn’t completely about leaving the past in the past, and yet, he touched on that subject in a way I’ve never considered.
First, he quoted I Corinthians 3:21-23: “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether … life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” (Emphasis mine.)
Then he quoted Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Emphasis mine.)
So, according to these verses, “all things” belong to me, and that includes the present and the things to come. And nothing can separate me from God, including the present and the things to come.
There’s that glaring omission—what about the past? Why isn’t that mentioned?
The message in Bill Johnson’s sermon was so simple, so profound, I’m still marveling at it. I can’t be bound by the past because I don’t own the past. It’s not mine anymore. Look again at the Corinthians passage. All things belong to you—the present and the future. But not the past. Your past isn’t yours.
Because Christ bought and paid for it on the cross. My past belongs to him. If you’re a believer, then your past belongs to him.
It can no longer haunt you.
It can no longer shame you.
It can no longer follow you like a monster on your tail.
Because the past isn’t yours. It was bought with the price of your Savior’s blood.
Paul, the writer of both Romans and I Corinthians, tells us exactly what we ought to do with our pasts in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Your past is not your past. You sold it for a future that can’t be tarnished by sin or failure. You sold it, and it was paid for with blood.
So that monster you see in your rearview mirror? The one desperately trying to slow you down or make you veer off course? It’s a phantom. It’s a lie. Likely, it’s the enemy of your soul trying to deceive you into thinking you can’t do what Christ has created you to do.
Because the past isn’t there. Christ has it. It belongs to him.
Which means, you are free to go forward and step into the present and the future your Savior has for you.
Let’s all rip those proverbial rearview mirrors off our cars and focus our eyes on the road ahead. God beckons us forward to the inheritance he’s prepared for us.
*Scriptures from NASB
Download a free copy of Robin’s novel Convenient Lies HERE.
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Patchen to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
Connect with Robin:
Robin’s latest release:
“Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.
–Robin Patchen, award winning author of Finding Amanda and Convenient Lies.
About Innocent Lies:
A lost little boy steals his heart.
When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He couldn’t be more wrong.
She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.
Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.
The past catches up with them.
Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she’s ever loved…again?