Forgetting what lies behind, the word St. Paul used in the original meant ‘overlooking.’ Our past is irrelevant and those things we once relied on now must be discarded, that all our energy might be given to following the Lord. The goal is complete, present, experiential knowledge of Christ. The more we learn of Him, the greater our joy and reward. Perhaps easier said than done, but a worthy pursuit midst all of life’s circumstances.
Norman Vincent Peale referred to ‘victorious forgetfulness’ as the art of forgetting about the things holding you back, letting go and reaching forward for what lies ahead. Yesterday is over. Focus on today. (Guideposts - 60 Days of Prayer December/January ’18-19.) Comforting words of wisdom that help us to live today with a greater consciousness of the blessed opportunity the ‘present’ moment in life holds.
Who of us does not have some regrets about the past and allow our thoughts to linger there, instead of recognizing God’s living presence all around us. If we do look back, let’s try to focus on the obstacles that God has helped us to overcome and pray for the perspective and confidence to live in the present moment, conscious of God’s nearness. When we have eager, trust like expectancy, we will ‘see’ the little daily miracles we often overlook.
Being reflective in the new year, it might be appropriate to ask ourselves – What do I want to let go of? What do I want to give myself to? What is keeping me from giving myself fully? If I realize I live more in the past, wishing revision, it might be time to shift awareness. While we are all products of our past, we do not have to remain prisoners. Our caretaking responsibilities can be consuming, but if our go-to is usually anxiety, rather than trust, our time, energy and emotions quickly drain.
Persistent prayer helps us purse the goal for what lies ahead. When we develop the habit of faithfully praying, God can use that time to form us. As our hearts soften, we start to see things from God’s perspective. The disposition of ‘listening’ enables us to fully understand what we are praying for, gaining valuable insights. There is a saying, pray as though everything depends on God, work as though everything depends on you. Obviously, we need to do our part and gratefully, God’s love carries us throughout. God hears all our prayers and gives us encouragement in Luke 18:1, “Pray always, without becoming weary.”
Matthew 7:17-20, “Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” Will we take an honest and close look at the fruit we are producing?