Unlocking the Past

suitcase no name

This isn’t the post I thought I was going to share today. But what can I say? God has been working on me. Maybe He’s working on you, too.

Dealing with the past can be hard. If you’re like me, you look back and blame yourself for…well…pretty much everything you can: the things you said and didn’t say, the timing of what you did and didn’t do. The list can go on and on.

But what if you and I stop looking back at the past as if it’s something dreadful to ponder, something painful that left us scarred and tattered, broken beyond repair and instead look to God? What if we hand over that old suitcase from our past, the one we’ve locked and buried in the back of our spiritual closet, and allow Him to unlock it?

It can be scary. I know. But what is even more frightening is living with the knowledge that the suitcase is still there, something we never dealt with, something we kept pushing to the back of the closet. It can hide in the shadows like some monster from our childhood, bringing nightmares and stealing our peace.

But what if, instead of being afraid or cringing with guilt when we see it, we realize that old piece of luggage can actually be a beautiful thing because of what it holds:

Experiences. Stories. Lessons.

They are the hidden gems tucked inside the suitcases of our past just waiting to be unpacked to help others.

Sure, the failures and disappointments are there – abandoned dreams still on hold, tear-stained journals, and faded, torn photographs. But those are the very things that make our stories believable, relatable.

We all have brokenness from our past.

But it’s up to us to decide what to do with it. We can either hand it all to God, surrendering its hold on us. Or we can let it control us from the shadows of our closet, leaving our spirits in a state of mustiness and stagnation, never learning, never growing; giving more weight to the past than the desire to move forward to the future God has for us.

(Deep breath here.) I officially surrendered my suitcase, my past, to God yesterday after years of ignoring it. And when I did, I realized it had quite a hold on me.

And today, well, today is a new day. And the lessons are pouring out as He holds me, steadying me…

I pray you feel Him steadying you, too.

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” (Isaiah 41:10 MSG.)

29 thoughts on “Unlocking the Past

  1. I enjoyed this post, Joey. I’m not sure if it would be considered taking too far if I pointed out that sometimes when we hold onto these things (and we’re all guilty of it) seeds of bitterness and offense can fester over time and choke us to death. Definitely a better thing to surrender the situation to God and begin to heal.

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    1. I don’t think that’s taking it too far at all! I agree with you completely…we can get bitter and choke to death. There is such JOY and peace when we surrender it to God. And I say, let the healing begin! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Blessings to you!!

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  2. I wasn’t going to read this, but I believe the Lord sent me here.
    My past has many things I’m not proud of, actually hate about myself, with not many things I’m proud of, maybe my son, daughter(who are both lost to God) and my work, nothing else comes to mind.
    Sure I have asked and been forgiven by Jesus, and I’ve put the souls of my children in his hands, but as you say reminders keep re-occurring, so you message is for me. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, I’m so glad the Lord sent you here. First, I’m praying for you, that you’ll let God help you in ways that no one else can. When those reminders come, take them right to God. He knows them already, but something happens when we open up to Him and talk to Him about it. And go to His Word…there’s so much comfort from Him there, along with guidance and wisdom…not to mention joy and peace. Seriously, there is such freedom when we take all of the stuff from our past to Him and let Him guide us through it. I believe He does have a good plan for us, for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). We just need to talk to Him. He’s there. And like I wrote above, I’m praying for you. I pray you’ll surrender to Him and allow His healing to begin. May God bless you abundantly.

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    1. Thank YOU, Ava, for reading and commenting! Yes, today is a new day, and He’s still pouring out blessings. Praise God!! What a wonderful Father we have. Blessings to you!

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    1. Oh yes, I’ve done that too. I think most of us have. And isn’t it wonderful that He forgives us when we do that? Yes, my dear Sister in Christ, please forgive yourself. Let it go, and move forward with the Holy Spirit guiding the way. God bless you always.

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  3. I can relate to your post and I am sincerely happy you have been able to hand over your suitcase to God. You are so right, dealing with the past can be very hard. I have come a long way in my journey of self forgiveness but I have found my biggest obstacle is ME! If an awesome God can forgive a wretch like me, I should be able to forgive myself. The Bible says that when God forgives us, He “remembers our sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). In other words, He is saying, I forgive you so move on with yourself! May you always feel His faithful love for you.

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    1. Oh thank you so much for sharing your experience and for sharing God’s Word! I truly appreciate everything you wrote. I think I’m on that same journey of self-forgiveness, and it encourages me to know you’ve been there. Thank you, from my heart to yours. Thank you. God bless you, my dear Sister in Christ.

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    1. Oh my, you’re right! Looking back when God instructs us not to (like Lot’s wife) is definitely not where I want to be either. I’m so thankful He guides our steps and helps us move forward! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Blessings to you!

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  4. Painful and difficult experiences are so rich with lessons that can positively affect us if we only open our eyes and learn them. If we don’t, it’s almost like we went through the difficulty for nothing. How sad and wasteful. Oh that we would embrace what God can do in and through us!

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    1. So beautifully written, Susan! Thank you! Those lessons can be so rich. And I agree, what a waste it would be to not learn from them. And I must add, your last sentence fills me with excitement and hope. Thanks again!! Blessings to you!

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  5. Ah, Joey, thank you for this! I had a chaotic past, and I’m trying now to let God use all I went through to shine His light and help others. Still, I’m a firm believer that I can embrace living through my past without reliving it. I try hard not to go down memory lane. The other day, my mom (who is moving) mentioned some paperwork she’d found pertaining to something tough in our family years ago, and while I offered to keep it for her in my attic, it occurred to me that I have no desire to ever crack it open and reread it—nor do I ever plan to. The past is done. Here’s to living for our bright eternal future with our Lord!

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    1. Amen, Jessica! Yes, we’re moving forward and moving on…taking only those gems, those valuable lessons God tells us to hold on to so we can share (just like you’re doing!) and help others who are struggling. Keep shining, Sister!! And blessings to you always!!

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  6. I absolutely love this post! I felt lifted up by the Spirit of God as I read it. You are so right – when we hang onto the past, we stagnate and keep ourselves from going forward in God’s plan for us. I’m so happy you have moved forward. I’m praying right now for you that God will continue to strengthen you, bless and prosper you! 🙂

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    1. Oh thank you, Marcie!! Your prayers and your encouraging and kind words mean so much to me. Seriously. I pray God blesses you, too in such lovely ways that you’ll know He’s the One behind it! Thank you again…so very much!!

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  7. A-Men and A-Men, you wrote a mouthful Sister! I can relate for sure and have done the same, realizing that God not only took it but he has amnesia and has forgotten everything in our past because of Salvation through Jesus. Thanks for this great post!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Stephen, and I love your enthusiasm! 🙂 I agree that God has forgotten it all because of the precious and powerful blood of Jesus…I’m so grateful! What an awesome Savior and a loving Father we have!! Thanks again, Stephen, and blessings to you!

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  8. Wow, you are speaking into my life at this moment. This sentence is everything: But what if you and I stop looking back at the past as if it’s something dreadful to ponder, something painful that left us scarred and tattered, broken beyond repair and instead look to God?

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you’re so very welcome! That mindset has helped me a lot…to keep my focus on Him. He really is everything. Thank YOU, Stephanie, for reading and commenting. And blessings to you!!

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