Memories are a funny thing. Once they are created, they remain, and they creep into our thoughts at some of the strangest times. Memories come in all shapes and sizes and trigger all kinds of emotions. For some it may only take a particular smell or sound to trigger the flash back in time. While for others, our brain might bury them deep in our subconscious protecting us from the pain that was suffered. Either way, rest assured, they are there in our minds for the remainder of time.
This was an ingenious design of the brain by God. Although if you would have asked me before I gave my life to Jesus I would have told you different. I would have because without Jesus some of our memories are very painful and sometimes frightening. It is only though the love of Jesus and the Redemption found through the Cross that we can view and use our memories as God intended. It is through that redemption that allows me to view my past memories in a way I can put into words. Words to help guide people out of the darkness I was once trapped in. And maybe even in some cases prevent some people from entering it all together.
As I’ve said before in other posts, my past haunted me for a very long time. As I fed on my past, I allowed it to draw me deeper into the pit of darkness that was destined to destroy me. I would numb the memories the best I knew how with drugs, sometimes sex and almost always alcohol. I found ways to lessen the pain and sometimes that involved transferring that pain onto others. I would do this not just through fits of rage, but I also became good at using words to do the job. I figured that if I must suffer than the people around me should as well.
This became my process; it became a form of habit. With this I became numb not only to the pain I was in but also to the pain I would inflict on others. As the numbness would wear off, it was time to repeat the process.
As I have grown in my walk with Jesus, I am learning how to deal with these memories and use them for the good of His Kingdom instead of trying to subdue and suppress them. A testimony! A testimony as to who I was before Jesus and how far He has brought me. To the ones trapped in the darkness, a light pointing to freedom and salvation. Proof that there is another way, a better way.
When I think of where I am now verses where I was over 5 years ago, I think of a letter Paul wrote the Philippians. I am, like Paul, nowhere near the mark but I still press on. In Chapter 3 of Philippians, Paul talks about his “qualifications” from his life before Christ. His life before his Damascus Road experience (Acts 9). He lists a pedigree that makes him more than an expert and more than qualified (Phil. 3:4-6). In verse Philippians 3:7, he makes a profound statement “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” He goes on to say that everything is rubbish compared to the knowledge of Christ. And to take it even further, he has this to say in verses 12-14 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The salvation found in Christ is only the beginning of the journey; our job has just begun. Like Paul, we must press on towards the higher calling. In other words, we must continuously pursue Jesus. As we do this we will view our past in a different light, a different perspective. What was once painful, God will use to draw people to Him. Our painful past and painful memories will have a different place in our mind and in our hearts. While some still may be painful and even cause sadness at time, we find peace in knowing where God has brought us from and where He is taking us.
As those thoughts come to mind, and sometimes linger, use them as praise. That is if you have committed your life to Jesus. If Jesus is Lord of your life, use those memories to praise God for where He has brought you from instead of allowing the enemy to use them to bring you down.
Remember, true peace and happiness is found in Christ alone. It is a peace and happiness that should be reflected in our daily walk and draws people to Jesus. If you need prayer, we are here to help!