I know a divorced woman who met a very nice man, and for the first time in years she was excited about the possibilities. But when she went into the relationship, all she talked about was her past hurts and pains. She was so stuck in her past that she couldn’t move forward. The man finally decided to stop seeing her because he couldn’t make a connection with her in the present.
So what happened to her? She didn’t realize that she was weighed down with emotional baggage that was so full of heartache and grief that she’d lost her passion and excitement for living. It’s so easy to do. Unfair things happen. People hurt us. We experience loss. We make mistakes. We have a season of disappointment. We weren’t designed to carry around the offenses, bitterness, resentment, and agony, but too often we let those negatives define our lives. We open that old bag and see all the dirty stuff from way back when. When you are weighed down with all that junk, it’s hard to see where you’re going or to even be ready to get there. That’s why the Scripture tells us to “lay aside the weights that can easily entangle us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Can I tell you that you need to refresh your emotional baggage every morning? You need to learn to travel light, because where you’re going is far more important than where you’ve been. You’re not going to be able to walk through open doors until you close the doors that are behind you. When you’re holding on to bitterness, regrets, and the mistakes you’ve made, you’ll get stuck.
I want to remind you today to spend your time investing in your future, not in the past. Investing in the past is when you relive your pains and disappointments, focusing on who hurt you, what didn’t work out, and the mistakes you’ve made. That’s a waste of time and energy. You can’t do anything about what happened in your past, but you can do something about today. When you focus on what you can change, and not on what you can’t change, that is a good investment in the future.
The Scripture says God wants to give you beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), but you can’t receive the beauty if you don’t give God your ashes. Give God your hurts and pains, and then open up wide so that you can receive the beauty He has in store for you. Give Him your past. Forgive the people who offended you. Release them. Forgive yourself. Let it go. It’s better in the hands of God. Don’t worry and fret. Don’t let negative emotional baggage define your life. God doesn’t allow it to define you, and neither should you.