Leave the Past in the Past

The whole month of January my church did a series called IF based on the book If by Mark Batterson.  My pastor is amazing with starting the year off with a powerful series and this one has been no exception.  

I bought the book last Sunday, right when the series ended, and haven't put it down all week.  I am normally a speed reader and could have devoured this book easily in a day but I am choosing to take each chapter and really ponder the words and listen to what God is trying to say to me.  So far it has not disappointed and has me viewing so many things in my life from a different perspective.

Yesterday I began chapter three which is talking about past regrets and labels that are put on you by yourself or others.  Your own "scarlet letter" so to speak.  To be quite honest, I feel like the majority of the alphabet is on my shoulders.  

I have an A for adultery.  I have a D for divorce.  I have an L for liar.  I could go on but you get the picture.  I am imperfect.  

I get that no one is perfect but my struggle with perfectionism goes back as far as I can remember and every mistake that I've made in my life has pinned me against myself.  I have felt like if I am not perfect that I should just give up completely.  All or nothing.  I have seen myself and my world through my imperfect eyes alone and have never really stopped to think about how God's perfect eyes see me.  

I still have those "scarlet letters" on my shoulders but the A no longer stands for "adulterer" but for ADORED.  My F stands for FORGIVEN and my L no longer stands for liar but LOVED.  

Satan wants me to be a slave to my past forever but through Christ I don't have to be!  I am redeemed and it is the most freeing statement my ears have ever heard.  Granted it is easier to say I am redeemed than it is to live that way am I right?

My thoughts go to the Israelites that wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after their exodus from Egypt.  I've always wondered: Why did they not go straight to the Promised Land?  Why did they roam the same wilderness for 40 years?  They had to work out those hundreds of years of slavery out of their system.  They had to get past their past and it took them 40 years to do it.

My hope and prayer is that it doesn't take me 40 years to let go of my past mistakes and "if only regrets".  I am tired of letting my bad choices and the bad choices of others define who I am.  I am tired of believing the lies and playing the victim.  I am ready to live the life Christ died for!  I will no longer be defined by what I've done but what Christ has done for me!  I am free!

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