This discussion will deal with the past in several different ways.
The first, in my Lenten Letter as I look to move beyond some restrictive attitudes and thoughts, while the second are things we must recall.
We’ll talk about the past on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
While neither the word Lent, nor any indication of it being a prescribed religious practice appear in the Scriptures, the basis for the concept is most definitely in the Bible.
It is a time for Jesus followers to attempt to mirror the 40-days spent in the desert fasting and enduring temptation by Satan. The accounts of those days, which came before His public ministry are reported in the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew.
To emulate the behaviors and become more Christlike is a responsibility for those who truly seek The Way.
While I know perfection is never possible, we can still make strides in our becoming if we persevere to remain diligent to our beliefs, faith and values.
In order to do so this year I have decided to write a letter a day during the Lenten season to discuss and seek assistance with issues that are preventing me in some way from doing so.
Today, I’ll address one of those lingering, nagging issues that a lot of us share: our pasts.
While different for each of us, we all are subject to dwelling on former acts, labels, thoughts and understandings that we need to “give up” and get over.
You know the lyrics of “Get Over It”,
“Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ cryin’ pitchin’ a fit
Get over it get over it…”
And while its songwriters Glenn Frey and Don Henley certainly struggled with the topic in regards to one another, you know it is possible. To put disagreements and perceived injustices aside and press on with momentum that is simultaneously both forward and upward.
I know you’re trying to address – why now, at this moment in time are you again finding yourself dwelling on things long past?
Probably no simple answer, but in some of your recent correspondence we have been able to start to see a pattern. I think much of it has to do with the current season you find yourself in.
One of waiting. Perhaps being held in place, so you can align with a destiny moment.
You know while, for you these periods of patient endurance can be a challenge, you have outlasted them more times than probably even you can recall. Yes you can do it again. And yes I believe you are doing it successfully, again.
The secret, if I can borrow some of your own words, is in “Getting Unstuck”.
Hmmm something you were dealing with around this same time a year ago, though from entirely different circumstances. Still your lessons learned remain valid.
To quote you to you:
“Like all of life, it’s been a process.
One that began with questioning myself, recognizing my needs and having my path forward revealed in my reflections.
As I scribbled in my journal, noting the conversation I was having in my head:
Anything you feel you may lack, you ARE capable of developing.
I had to stop the negative self talk I was feeling, influenced by the physical pain I was feeling, and challenge myself to suspend self judgment.
I knew this. It was not anything new, but again I found myself in the company of an old companion. Again it was necessary for me to say goodbye to guilt.
Now notice I referred to him as an old companion, not a friend. Because he’s been anything but in my life. So when he tries to sneak back in the door, I need to nor only stop him, but slam the door in his face!
We’re not doing this again. I not only don’t have the time and energy for it – it is totally unnecessary.
Guilt is worthless.
A lesson that took me decades to realize, understand and fully accept.
Plain and simple guilt serves no good purpose. It does not assist us, strengthen us or empower our momentum. It destroys. Limits, distracts and prevents us from achieving our next levels of “Becoming”.
I know this. I just needed a refresher.
I had to revisit the battlefield in my mind to recall that God’s Mercy and Grace are refreshed daily. He has forgiven what I felt I was lacking in the moment, so why hadn’t I?
Let it go and move on. It really is that easy, though I still struggle at times when it is easier said than done.
The process I’ve learned for this is relatively simple. In fact only four steps, which all dovetail into one another quite easily when you allow it to, and actually do it.
Learn from your mistakes, accept you are forgiven and move on. If I can do it, so can you.
Like I had to do, you just need to make the decision to follow through, which in this case required me being a little tougher on myself.
We all must deal with our own consequences, the result of our actions, decisions, attitudes and beliefs. So why not make it so we are celebrating the outcomes rather than trying to repair, overcome or run away from?”
So to reference the song again:
“I turn on the tube what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin’ don’t blame me
They point their crooked little fingers everybody else
Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
Victim of this victim of that
Your momma’s too thin and your daddy’s too fat
Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ cryin’ pitchin’ a fit
Get over it get over it”
You can and you know you will. Continue on and accept that this too shall pass, and as it does throw a few extra pieces of baggage on the trail and let it roll on, without you.
I pray for your continued healing and I am confident for your continued becoming today.
Now for the second issue of the past I feel called to address. The parts we must not forget. The history that must be remembered so we stop making the same mistakes over and over again.
Recent vitriol, attacks and even a call for the “eradication” of an entire class of people are more than disturbing. Hundreds of laws have been proposed to deny individual’s rights as well as the very existence of specific human beings.
Yes, legislation is advancing in numerous states that would declare someone standing in a room alongside you as not being real – that no such individual exists, despite the overwhelming physical evidence to the contrary.
Enough is enough. All people of conscience need to stand for what is right and inline with the values of love.
For me the command to do so is easily found in the Gospel of John 13:34-35, when Jesus directly instructs that we are to love one another just as He has loved us. By doing so he continued “all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We must decide to take action . Stand up for what is right. Shine light onto the darkness that is attempting to restrict us. Then we must take that action. Do it. Publicly.
We all share in the responsibility of being the change we want to see. Of co-creating our world for the better. It’s at the very heart and soul of our shared path. It’s also something that Martin Niemöller, a German theologian and Evangelical Lutheran Pastor, sounded the rally cry for during World War II.
His famous words still echo true:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
The responsibility to have your voice heard and hold those we elect to have a leadership role in our lives accountable to their own words and statements of faith while ensuring that their actions remain in accord with their sworn duties and publicly expressed beliefs and testimonies is up to us.
The decision is yours.
Do you decide to speak now?
Or cry out only when they come for you?
I also want to share that I feel confident in saying that I am making progress. My releasing so far has been achieving results. Remember also as I’ve noted throughout this process, your participation is always welcomed, sincerely appreciated and truly desired.
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Think about it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Consider it and take some time to enjoy yourself. Then decide to join us tomorrow for our next edition of “Becoming Today”.