Everyone has a past.
These words have come across my world several times in the last couple of weeks, and it’s got me thinking.
Unless you’re a newborn infant, you do have a past. Your past may be full of love, cuddles, positive happenings and good memories. Or it may be full of pain and misery. Most of us have a combination of these things.
I cry when I read news reports about children who are abused and beaten by the very people who are supposed to be protecting and cherishing them. The past these kids have endured is so horrific they may never fully overcome it.
In many ways, our past is what makes us who we are today.
It shapes us and molds us. But is it an unbreakable shape? If we are taunted and reviled, do we have to cower in fear all of our lives? If we are assaulted, do we have to assault others in turn? If we are coddled and doted on by helicopter moms, do we have to go our whole lives with an overinflated ego, thinking we are God’s gift to the universe?
Your past can be overcome. Slowly, one memory at a time, we can look at ourselves in a clear light, and see who we really are. See how those bad things strengthened or weakened you. The old saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” isn’t always true. Sometimes we are so beat down by the assaults we’ve endured that we can’t stand up straight.
But there is validity to that saying as well. You have come through the fire and out the other side; you have gained strength. It’s like purifying gold or silver in a crucible. The heat destroys or filters out the bad stuff.
I want you to know that you are valuable. You are valuable to God and to the world, Each person has a place at the table, a reason for being here. Each of us has talents, gifts and skills that we can use for our own good and the good of others. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been called ugly, fat, or stupid. Look at that memory, release the pain to God, and then let it go.
Don’t let it define who you will be from now on.
Make a list of your positive characteristics and post it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. On a mirror or a bulletin board, maybe. Or on your computer. Embrace the good parts of yourself.
It’s all part of the journey.