Would you like to free yourself to an unencumbered future? This week we are featuring Free the Future that Andrea wrote as a blogger for The Spirited Woman in 2014. Can you find meaning in her words today?
by Andrea Chilcote
While I am rarely inspired (or convinced may be the right word) by popular evangelical preachers, I took pause today at a statement I heard by Bishop TD Jakes.
He said, “When you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”
While the context for his words surrounded people working to release the trauma of severe abuse and betrayal – certainly a difficult and honorable journey – I was struck by the day-to-day implications. How many times (a day or an hour) do we allow what came before to poison what lies ahead?
I began listening for evidence, in my own self-talk and in the words of others. Quickly I realized that many of our future actions are predicated on what came before – often just moments before.
Here is a self-assessment, designed to determine if your past (even the past five minutes) influences your future. Before you answer the questions, please realize that most if not all answers will be “yes” – if you are a human inhabiting planet earth.
- Is there something more you would do if only you had the energy, connections, confidence or skill?
- Do you feel badly because of a (non-healthy) choice you made (today or five years ago) with regard to diet, sleep or exercise?
- Are you exhausted from arguing a point, championing a cause or trying to convince those who will not be swayed?
- Do you feel inadequate because of any past injustice, trauma or difficulty?
If your answer was yes to any of these questions, I’m betting that some bit of self-judgment about past circumstances or choices is influencing the current situation.
So what to do? Ah, here is the answer, the one that I seek, quite imperfectly, to live into each day.
Forgive. Forgive yourself first. The choices you made before need not poison your future.
Then, forgive those who caused harm – not because they are absolved of responsibility, but because you release their power over you. What freedom that is, freedom to pursue the future, your destiny, as Jake describes it. Free the future to unfold, unencumbered.