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“Oh honey, it is way too late for an epidural.”

Words spoke to me over 26 years ago, as I labored (for hours with no pain meds) to deliver my daughter.

As many women can attest childbirth is no joke- with or without medication.

For me, labor and delivery of my only child was the hardest, scariest and most physically painful event in my life.

What is so interesting is that I remember the events, but I cannot recall the actual “feeling“ of that extraordinary pain; it is like it has been erased from my mind.

I believe this “forgetfulness” wasn’t something magical but a choice… choosing to let the joy of bringing home a beautiful baby girl trump the recollection of the terrible pain of childbirth.

Wish it were that easy to apply this “forgetting principal” to all the other painful events in life!

It seems like our instinct is to cling to the past.

Either clinging to past pain or even past happiness.

Do you remember the character, Miss Havisham from the Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations? The wealthy spinster who was jilted at the altar and spends the rest of her life wearing her wedding dress with the clocks stopped at the exact time she was left and spending her days in her ruined mansion focusing on the pain, her loss, and the uneaten wedding cake.

You might not be just like Miss Havisham, but maybe you are dwelling on the “good old days;” past accomplishments or achievements- stuck in a time warp of nostalgia when you were the high school football star, married or had that dream job.

When we cling to past hurts, we tend to dwell on them, allowing them to shape us and hold us back!

When we cling to former happiness we can’t appreciate our present nor focus with expectation on our future!

The Apostle Paul speaks on this very concept, and stresses the importance of forgetting and not allowing the past to hinder us-

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14

Note the word “forgetting” is in the present tense. It isn’t just a one-time deal, but rather a constant action or PRACTICE that we must make daily not to allow the past to define or hamper.

Consider past accomplishments do not define who you are today and past hurts or mistakes do not shape your present or who you can become in the future!

Honestly, dwelling on the past is only good for recalling God’s faithfulness, generosity, compassion and His presence in times of trials and times of goodness.

When the past creeps into your mind with memories that leave you bitter or discontent - stop and acknowledge God’s goodness (then and now) and move on with praise and thanksgiving in your heart for today and tomorrow!

The past is just what it says “past.”

It is no longer real or the present reality.

So stop living in a state of mind that hinders you from achieving your best future!

Practice "forgetting" each day!

Father, help us to forget the past and strain forward to the future. May we see you in all things even when the past reminds us of something painful. Help us to choose to see the positives in the present and to look forward to your promises of the future.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”~ Isaiah 43:18-19

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