FINDING A STARTING PLACE
How do you find a starting place when life stands still, falls apart or throws you a curve?
Everyone has those moments when yesterday keeps thundering, anchoring our life to a past debacle. So how do we find a fresh starting place? Just putting the past behind us is useless rhetoric without a future. Paul advances this thought in Philippians 3:13 (PBT). He said
…I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future…
Consider this: Neglecting and Focusing are different sides of the same coin!
Neglecting to rehash past failures, missteps, hurts and disappointments can be seen as a great starting place, but not without a clear target that takes our focus forward. Without a focus, forgetting the past is a half truth! It matters where we fasten our heart! Let’s look at the two sides of this coin.
In the King James version of Philippians 3, verse 13 opens with the Apostle Paul saying: ‘forgetting those things which are behind’. “Forgetting” comes from a Greek root word meaning ‘neglecting’. A starting place that only embraces the discipline of neglecting to focus on past failures and missteps is a misstep! Here’s why.
We can move immediately into the habit of neglecting to think about embarrassing events or failures from our past. But forgetting them? Well, that another story. Really forgetting them may take a lifetime. Neglecting admits we experienced a past misstep but leaves us in the realm of human possibility! We must add to this possibility the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to father us in the discipline of neglecting. Neglecting like forgiveness is a practice as well as a decision. God forgives and forgets. We forgive and remember. What gives?
Once I awakened from a dream in which I beat the crude out of someone who had deceived and betrayed me. In a cold sweat I was relieved to find that it was only a dream. I knew that I had really forgiven that person but realized that my memory had relapsed after years of neglecting to think about it. Sometimes our memory seems to create a wrinkle in time that just sits there waiting for a recall. In Philippians Paul challenges us to go beyond neglecting the past.
When we focus on something that consumes us for positive growth, our life changes. We begin running in the direction of a targeted future. Focusing on a future attaches our heart to something life-giving. Our minds begin to generate a constant orbit of thoughts that keep us moving forward rather than backward. Targeting something greater to the demise of the something lesser is powerful. That’s how Paul lived out his calling and neglected his past!
Starting points require knowing what to embrace and what to let go. Forgetting and Focusing are different sides of the same coin. Where we attach our hearts matters. Doing it now matters.