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Forgetting and Remembering

Updated: Jan 1

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”—Isaiah 43:18


I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. —Isaiah 77:11


Field of poppies

As I stated in my last post, the past year has been difficult for me. As I’ve struggled with intense grief, I’ve been challenged in my thoughts.  I have made my life’s work to learn and apply tools that help us “take our thoughts captive” and control thinking distortions that can and do show up more intensely during times of challenges and adversity.  This is a practice that needs to be done continually since new challenges and circumstances can and do arise.  We can get really good at combating certain types of thoughts and then can still struggle battling others. I’ve learned that when you are grieving, there are certain types of thoughts that can be normal for most that can produce feelings such as guilt, regret, etc. What if I had done something different?  What if____ hadn’t happened?  What if______?  I’ve learned that “what if” is not your friend! I’ve also learned that I’ve been extra challenged with my thoughts during this grief process, so I’ve needed to really dig into my tools to get relief. While applying cognitive behavioral techniques are very effective, applying God’s Word is even more powerful.  Through these two approaches and prayer, I am able to move more effectively through the process of grief and allow the Lord to bring healing to my mind and heart.


As I’ve been pouring years of grief and trauma out to the Lord, I felt He kept bringing me back to two things that He wanted me to do—forget and remember. You may think this sounds like an oxymoron, but I knew what He meant. One of the things many of us do when we are down, feeling depressed or grieving is to “dwell” on past things we cannot change.  Notice the word “dwell”.  Other translations of this verse say “consider”.  The Oxford definition says consider can be to “think about and be drawn toward.”  The idea is to go back to over and over again.  We can’t change the past; we can only move towards the future.  While it’s important to acknowledge any mistakes we’ve made and ask for forgiveness and, hopefully, not repeat them, wallowing in the past never is helpful and is often damaging. And, we can dwell on things we really didn’t have any control over. It just isn’t a fruitful exercise since it leads to helplessness and, sometimes even worse, hopelessness. God never wants us to be hopeless! He has covered our sins and says he removes them as far as the east is from the west.  When we get into places of dwelling on the past, it can bring us down and also affect out ability to see the good in the now. The apostle Paul also said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13b).  This doesn’t mean that we never look back and forget the things we don’t want to think about.  The point is not to dwell or ruminate on the past, whether the good things or the bad things.


While it’s important t to forget the things that are not helpful or necessary, it’s also important to remember. It’s important to remember all of the ways the Lord has helped me in the past.  The times when I felt despairing, but He brought me out of the pit.  The many ways He has blessed and sustained me and lavished good things on my family and me! There are always seasons in life.  Yes, there may be seasons of hardship and loss, but there are seasons of plenty and joy.  In fact, I’ve seen how it’s even possible to experience a season that has both sorrow and joy. The important thing is to remember the good you have and what God has done for you, and forget the past and the things that you can’t control.


What are you going through today?  Are you finding yourself dwelling on the past?  Give it to the Lord.  Are you experiencing adversity or challenges?  Think back to past challenges you’ve been through and how you were able to get through them– often even stronger and better. As His Word says, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose —Romans 8:28. It says “all” things, not some things!  Do you love Him?  Do you know Him?  If not, He wants you to seek Him today!


For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation –1 Corinthians 6:2


If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame—Romans 10:9-11


How can I get to know God better? https://www.gotquestions.org/know-God.html

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