Yesterday (03/13/2016) I spent the day in Chicago with some friends. On the way home, I listen to CDs, because my car is too old for an auxiliary port, and putting a new radio system in is a pain with the type of car I have. I found a CD labeled, “I’M DONE”, which made me laugh, and put it on for a good laugh with some friends. The reason that this mix CD made me laugh? I made it my junior year of high school (2008/2009) after I had broken up with my girlfriend because she had cheated on me. Everything from Dashboard Confessional, Ok Go, Phantom Planet, Keane, Death Cab for Cutie, and Taking Back Sunday was on the CD. I was dying laughing the whole time and enjoying some great teen angst jams, but then I started to think about how that year was a really formative year for me.
Already feeling insecure with myself (I was pretty fat and was an awkward teenage boy who didn’t know how to talk to women. For example, if you want a story on how I fell asleep and missed my chance of a first kiss, listen to episode 1 of the Podcast), it WRECKED me when I found out she'd been cheating on me. It really damaged how I viewed myself, and created thoughts of how I’m not good enough. I’ve dealt with the most damaging aspects of this happening (because let’s be honest being cheated on sucks. If you’re reading this though ex-girlfriend, know that you’re forgiven and you didn’t ruin my life. All is well here.) and the thinking that came with it, but there are still parts of this that reverberate in me today. I still feel as though I’m not good enough sometimes. I still view myself as not the best person to do things. Now, I do overcome these feelings generally, but it begs the question, how do we get through the past?
That was the year I had a girlfriend cheat on me, but that was also the same year I accepted Jesus into my life. Growing up, I was a church kid, but due to some circumstances in my life (Crohn’s disease and being a loner / getting heavily picked on through junior high) and family members dying pretty awful and long deaths, I thought that if God was real and loved me, there was no way that He could exist. I did learn that I was wrong, God loves me unconditionally, and I need Him. However, there are still sins that I used to struggle with back then that pop up from time to time. The past seems to haunt us far more than we think.
Remembering the past is good. The past makes up who we are, and explains why we do things certain ways. We so often forget, however, that we are not our past. We are not the things we used to do. Especially if you are a Christian, you are a new creation in Christ, made to do abundantly more than you could ever dream of, blessed with the spiritual blessings of Christ. The past is not who you are, but the future is. Remember the past, but keep moving forward. This world never stops. We can spend the rest of our days rehashing the past, or be present, being who God created us to be. The choice is ultimately ours. So will you keep remembering the past, or will you move forward?