As we begin the new year, our focus naturally turns to what we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. After all, we have a blank slate as we begin 2014. But as we look forward, it can be hard to let go of the past.
Holding onto the past has been a problem for me in years past, but a recent conversation with the Lord helped me realize how important it is to let go and move forward.
As the new year began, I was cleaning out old papers from a box when I found several old letters. Before discarding them, I read through them. After reading a few paragraphs, I was transported back to the mid-1960s. I remembered the challenges I faced in moving to Japan as a military wife with a young son. The process was complex, and I remember feeling that I didn't have the support I wanted from different people. While eventually the move details worked out well, I still felt hurt. And within a short amount of time, the memories had cast a fog over a perfectly beautiful day that began with joy and enthusiasm.
As I prayed about the old wounds, the Lord gave me the perspective I needed. He reminded me that the letters represented what was then, but I'm in the now. "Do not let the past take away your present joy."
"You can't move forward by looking back," He reminded me. "Look ahead, for ahead is where I am taking you. Rejoice in forgiveness; and let the transformation of forgiveness be there for you [at all times]."
So as you begin this year, I pray that your focus will be on today and where the Lord is leading you now. I pray that you will let the past go. Learn what you can from it, and then turn to today and face your future with joy and confidence knowing that the Lord will guide you in His will this year and beyond.