The reason I feel so qualified to talk about this is because I feel like I’ve earned a doctorate in living in my past. I have spent most of my life living in my past because I thought I had to. I didn’t know there was an alternative.
I didn’t know that if you had a crazy, difficult, remarkable past that you could just decide not to live from it. Once I discovered that there was another option several years ago, it felt like a miracle to me.
I realized I just get to create my life and what I want to create in my future. Ever since then, I’ve been helping other people do the same.
Do you feel like you still, in some ways, live from your past? One way to know is ask yourself if you’re always getting the same results in your life. If you are, you’re probably living in your past.
When you’re living in your past you recycle the same thoughts, and your thoughts eventually become your life. Thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions, actions create your actual life.
So if you’ve been getting the same results in your life for a while, and you feel like you’re just repeating the same year over and over again, this is a big red flag.
You’re probably thinking the same thoughts you’ve always thought about your life and about yourself, and about what’s possible, because that’s what we think we’re supposed to do. We don’t often realize that we get to start every day anew.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;Lamentations 3:22-23
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
We get to decide today that we want to live today, how we want to live today, and what we want to create for ourselves in this day, instead of just repeating the same cycles of thinking, feeling, and acting like we’re on a treadmill.
When I first started learning that my past didn’t have to control me, it felt scary to let go of it. The way I have been most of my life is that I held on to my past tightly. I was sure I would always be a victim to it, and that I would always tell my story from my past.
For most of my life that’s exactly what I did. I told my story. I defined myself and got my identity from my past.
It felt scary to let that go, because who am I if I’m not the girl who was born in this situation and had these disadvantages and went through this trauma? Who am I if I’m not that girl?
Well, I’ll tell you who I am. I started creating my life from my future. I started deciding that I could be who I want to be today, that I could lean into exactly the way God created me and gifted me, and that I could decide what I want to do with my life and start creating it.
I started creating new results and I started creating a new life.
The past version of ourselves and living from the past often doesn’t serve us. There’s a lot of that thinking that keeps us stuck. There’s a lot of that thinking that we identify with, but it’s not serving us. It’s not helping us create anything in our lives right now that we want.
When you learn to make the shift, and you learn that you have control over this, you don’t have to live in your past. You don’t have to be a victim to your past.
When I was first doing this work, my coach said, “Your past happened to you once and you keep reliving it over and over and over and over and over. That abuse happened to you once, but you keep abusing yourself with the story.”
Even if it’s not something that happened in your childhood past, what about that story you tell about how you can never lose weight or how you can never change this one habit? You tell that story over and over again. You make yourself a victim to that story. You let that story abuse you. You abuse yourself with that story.
I have found so much freedom from realizing I can stop abusing myself with stories from my past.
It takes practice. It takes being willing to think something new. Your brain is so used to living in those past thoughts, because it’s thought them so many times, that it’s going to take you thinking a new thought a lot of times to create new patterns.
Your brain thinks it knows who you are. It’s going to resist the energy it takes to be updated by your future self, by what’s possible in your life, by what God says about you.
For a lot of us, it keeps us in this weird place a victim mentality. It keeps us feeling like all we can ever create is what we have created. You look to your past to define yourself instead of looking to your future.
Those new thoughts cost us energy and your body doesn’t want to expend the energy. Your brain has a rut that it has worn so it easily goes to those thoughts, and thinking something new requires practice and work.
It requires faith.
It requires believing in something that you don’t yet believe.
It requires having faith in something you haven’t seen in yourself yet.
I know I can become this version of me in my future. I haven’t seen that version of me yet that loses the 40 pounds, that builds her business, that lives in unconditional love in her marriage. I haven’t seen that version of me yet, but I believe in God’s ability to transform me into that person.
That is powerful.
Pay attention today, and in the next few days, how you talk about yourself and your life. Try to become an observer of yourself and figure out how many times you reference the past, how many times you define yourself by the past, how many times you decide what you’re capable of based on the past.
You are living in the past a lot more than you think, and it will take practice to begin living in the faith of the future that you can create for yourself.
I look at my life right now and it’s unrecognizable to me. The life that I’m living feels like a miracle. It feels like magic. It feels like a life that I never should have been able to create or live because of my past.
It makes me so excited about what else is in my future. It makes me so excited to go ahead and live into that future to figure out what else I want to create. Who else do I want to become?
Maybe you’ve had success in the past and you’re afraid you could never create that again. Or maybe you’re living in the shadow of someone else’s past and what they have achieved.
What you can achieve in the future, and more importantly, who you can become in the future does not have to be defined by who you have become so far. Start looking to the future, have faith in the person that you can become, that you want to become, and you’ll be amazed at your life.
You’ll wake up one day and think, “How is this even my life? How did I manage to create this in my marriage? How did I manage to create this type of relationship with my kids? How did I manage to create this health in my body? How did I manage to create this in my business?”
It’s possible, but you have to stop thinking the thoughts you’ve always thought. You have to decide what you want to think about you and your future so you can create what you can become.