original digital collage by Khanh Dang and Lenya Heitzig
How do you deny past problems access to your forwarding address? Here’s my advice, don’t dwell in the past; you don’t live there anymore. Past, by definition, is something that no longer exists. You can’t bring it back. You can’t change it. You can’t even revel in its glories. Even the star quarterback eventually gains weight while the prom queen ages. All of our bygone days, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are now merely reflections in a review mirror.
Anyone who’s tried to forget the past by sheer determination discovered it multiplies by epic proportions. For instance, the moment you tell yourself, don’t think about creepy gnomes, the more you fixate on them. And then your dreams are riddled with the vexing little bearded guys wearing green waistcoats and pointy red hats. This phenomenon is known as the “ironic process theory” which simply explains the minds tricky way of creating obsessive thoughts despite trying to oppress them.
So, how can you conquer the past? Step ahead! The best way to conquer an old habit is to replace it with a new one. Want to stop swearing? Start praising. Jesus explained, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Need to quit biting your nails? Try painting them pink instead. Follow Paul’s example to “put off the old…and put on the new” (Col. 3:9-10).
The virtuous woman conquered her anxiety, too. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future” (Prov. 31:31:25, NLT). She used her past to prepare for the future. As a result, she was fearless.
When the past comes knocking, you don’t have to answer. Why? You’re not home—you’ve moved on and left no forwarding address.