There is a popular song that is playing on the radio these days. It is called Photograph, and it is one of those songs that grip me every time I hear it. The song talks about looking back on those memories and how they shape us as people. When we stare at old photographs we are really staring into the past. Our past is filled with sweet memories and some not so sweet. In the song the singer mentions an old girl friend that was his “first kiss”, he also mentions that now she has kids, and he has not seen her in ages.
For me looking back on my past I see some sweet times, and I also see those mistakes and heart breaks that I experienced. I look back and wonder how I even got to where I am today. I see the stupid stuff and I get ashamed at who I was. It is during those times when I start feeling depressed. I get into the doldrums of life. On those days it seems nothing can cheer me up. I know in my life the unhappy times and the times of hurt and heartache have been overpowered by the joys of this life. I have an awesome wife, a great family, a community of friends, and an awesome friend in Jesus.
I understand what the apostle Paul wrote about when he said, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” Philippians 3:13 Paul was saying I am not going to let the past mistakes dictate my life now. I have to forget who I was back then and know who I am today. I will learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them. However, they are not going to control me.
I have to struggle making sure I don’t get caught up with beating myself up over the things I did in the past. One thing that I struggled with early in my calling was thinking I was not good enough to be used by God. With all the junk I did in my past I couldn’t think that God would or even could use someone like me. Well, God forgave me early on; it just took a long time for me to forgive myself. So don’t beat yourself up for the past mistakes; the world will take care of that all on its own. You just need to know that you are special no matter what you have done.
So pull out those photographs and soak up the memories. Learn from your past; don’t let it dictate who you are today.