Many times we refer to ourselves as "creatures of “habit.” We even say it jokingly and lightly and don’t think too deeply about what exactly we are saying. Too be quite honest I didn’t realize until recently just how dangerous this phrase can really be for us. Now, I am not talking about the habits we form to help life make sense such as: showering, eating, sleeping etc. I am talking about a way of thinking, behaving, and living. It is very easy for us to take a belief system no matter how right or wrong it is and adopt it as our own. We create habits in our lives based off of what we believe to be good for us, or at the very least safe for us.
For many years of my life I had some extremely bad habits. I had also adopted a way of thinking that kept me “safe” from all of the things that had happened to me as a child. I put walls up. I hid behind anger and aggression to make sure that no one would ever hurt me again. I created my own little world to work for me the way that I needed it to feed a belief system that kept me from acknowledging how hurt, and broken I really was. It’s odd because as much as I desired to know the real me, there was not a chance that it could happen because of all my “habits.” My habits became the biggest distraction to see myself the way that God had created me to be. My negative belief system of who I was, what I believed to be true about me and my life, was completely upside down.
Life can throw many situations our way. We must be very careful of the habits we created based off the experience we have with these situations. For many years I believed I was “less than” because I had been abused, and had made some very poor life choices. Since I felt less than I created habits that agreed with that belief. I was involved in friendships and relationships that validated the idea that I had circulating within me. What started out as a few bad habits became an entire way of life for me.
It wasn’t until I began my journey of getting to know God that he would show me that everything I had believed about myself was the opposite of who he had created me to be. My perception was off, and because it was off so were my daily habits. He wanted to break me of the bad habits so he could show me who I really was. When God showed me in a vision who he created me to be it literally blew my mind. The woman he showed me was nothing like the woman I saw in the mirror. I began to wonder how I would go from where I was to become who he saw me as. The woman he showed me was beautiful, full of laughter, joy, and was full of light and life. I on the other hand was exhausted, depressed, and very bitter.
What habits are apart of your everyday life? Have they become a hindering block to keep you from becoming the “real” you? Do you talk yourself out of opportunities? Do you want to be the “real” you but don’t know where to start? Is you’re past overshadowing your future?
If so let’s look at Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP)
“Do not remember the former things,
Or ponder the things of the past.
“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even put a road in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
This passage lets us know that God literally wants us to leave the past behind us. He doesn’t want us to keep replaying over and over what we could have done, or what we should have done. Why? Well for one it isn't healthy, at all. But most importantly it is an unnecessary burden, and Jesus came to lift us of our burdens and forgive us of our sins on the cross. Everything we have ever done, and everything we will ever do is already forgiven. Also the scripture says that he will "put a roadway in the wilderness and a river in the desert." This lets us know that he will meet us where we are! We are never too far gone or out of reach for God. You don't have to wait until you are "perfect" to have a relationship with him. You can know him right now, right where you are. Not only will he meet us where we are but he will perform a miracle in the very place in our lives that seem beyond repair. The point of mentioning this is because he does not want us to be so wrapped up in the past that we miss the new that he is getting ready to do in our lives. Have you ever been around someone who only reminisces on the past? All they talk about is 1975 and how good it was back then? Or maybe all the things they could have done but never did? In the moment it seems harmless, but if this because a habit it WILL distract us from the future and eventually rob us of what God wants to do in our lives now.
Yall this is serious for real.
So how do we let go and allow God to a new thing in our lives? Here are 4 tips to help you along your way.
1. Allow The Past To Be The Past – Sometimes we go through things in life that almost seem unreal. They can hurt us to badly that it makes us live in denial. We don’t want to admit that it happened, we don’t want to acknowledge that part of our lives, and we certainly don’t want anyone else to know about it. The first part of this journey is just to accept the past for what it is, the past. Accept that whatever it is happened. We can not change what we are in denial of. That’s why in AA meetings the first step is to admit that you do have a problem. Accepting our past for what it is is actually much more freeing than it sounds like. We don’t have to like it, or love that it happened, we just have to acknowledge that it did. There is power in this! It may not be fun to do, but your future self will thank you for it!
2. Give God Your Past- This one is sooooooo much easier said than done. Trust me I know. Once we have accepted our past we can now give it to God. It’s hard to hand over an issue or burden that we are still in denial about. Now honestly speaking this one may end up being a daily thing for some of us. We must give all of our past to God. Every hurtful thing, every shameful thing that we have ever done or that has happened to us, we must learn to give it to God. It is too heavy for us to carry on our own, and that is because we were never meant to carry it ourselves. It does not matter what it is, give it to God! Whenever we feel ourselves struggling with our past we must lay it down at God’s feet. The best way to do this is in daily prayer. Daily prayer keeps us communicating with God and in that communication we exchange our burdens for his peace, love, and joy. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen!
3. Watch The Transition- There comes a point in time where we have exchanged our old for God’s new, but it still hasn’t fully manifested yet. This can be a bit of an awkward space to be in. Trust me, I have been in this space for quite some time! We have allowed the dust to settle on our past, but there is not enough of the future in view for us to see it. Don’t worry, stick to the plan and it will be just fine. This is the perfect time for us to get closer to God and get ready to receive all the new that our lives will be!
4. Step Into The New- I wish I could say that we will know when exactly the new comes in but to be honest I don’t think it is that easy to recognize. What’s funny is that the new normally begins with a choice to try something new. We may be asked to participate in something that seems completely out of our comfort zone. If we do happen to choose to say yes, we will find more and more opportunities to try something new different and out outside of our natural element. These moments are when God is introducing us to the next chapter of our our lives. Eventually we will look up and see that we have been completely changed in the process of saying yes. How amazing is that? How strategic is God? He knows that giving us too much at one time may cause us to head for the hills but a little change here and there and soon voila! There is a brand new story being written in our lives, it is up to us to see it through!
The biggest point I want to emphasize is that ALL of this is a choice. God will never force us to give him our burdens or our pain. He will never force us to trust him or make us walk away from the past into a new future. Of course he wants us to but he will not MAKE us. It is always a choice. My hope is today that you are able to see that although it may not always be easy, it will always be worth it!