How to Overcome Past Pain and Let Hope into Your Life
- Friday, October 25, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Pete Wilson's new book, Let Hope In: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever (W Publishing, 2013).
Each new day of your life is a gift from God that He wants you to live fully. But if the pain you’ve suffered in your past is still impacting your life now, you can’t fully embrace the new life God offers you because you’ll be stuck in a frustrating cycle of brokenness that leaves you feeling hopeless.
The key to overcoming your past pain is making choices that invite God’s hope into your life. Here are some choices you can make to heal from your past and enjoy hope from now on:
Transform your pain instead of transferring it. If you don’t find ways to learn from your past pain, you’ll likely be doomed to repeat the mistakes you made in the past and transfer your pain to everyone with whom you interact – from your friends and family members to your coworkers and neighbors. So ask God to break the hold that your past has over you and show you what useful lessons you can learn from it so you can begin moving forward. God is much more powerful than your history, and when you trust Him, God will start to transform your pain into healing and wisdom in your life.
Leave shame behind. Silence the voice of shame in your life so it won’t block the healing that God wants to give you. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice telling you that God loves you completely and unconditionally, regardless of what has happened in your past. Even though God knows the worst about you, He wants to redeem you anyway. Let go of shame and accept God’s invitation to healing.
Overcome your regrets. Holding onto regrets from your past will only lead to more regrets unless you break the unhealthy cycle by releasing your regrets to God. Realize that it’s pointless to dwell on your regrets, since you can’t go back and change your past – all you can do is keep moving forward. Pray specifically about each of your regrets while envisioning Jesus on the Cross. Leave every one of your regrets at the foot of the Cross as a symbolic way of entrusting them to God’s power to redeem them for good purposes.
Confess that you’re not okay. Don’t waste any more time or energy pretending to be fine when you’re really hurting, lonely, confused, or frightened because of your past pain. If your pain was caused by some sin of yours in the past, confess that to God, repent from the sin, and ask Him to forgive you. If your pain was caused by someone else sinning against you, admit to God that you need to forgive the person who hurt you, and ask God to empower you to do so. Ask God and some fellow believers you can trust to help you start the healing process.
Pursue healing. Turn to the ultimate Healer, Jesus Christ, to help you heal. Seek Jesus’ guidance for every step of your healing journey, knowing that He specializes in taking what’s broken and restoring it to how it should be.
Embrace your past. Accept the reality of what happened in your past that has caused you pain, without denying it or minimizing its effect on your life. Let go of your desire to have life go the way you’d planned it. Surrender your past to God, so He will take it and use it for good purposes. Talk openly about your past with other people who are struggling with similar types of pain, if you sense God leading you to share what you’ve learned with them. Doing so can usher hope into their lives as well as your own.
Choose trusting God over pleasing God. Instead of trying to make up for your past failures by working hard with religious rituals you hope will please God, choose to trust God’s promise that He loves and accepts you unconditionally. Rather than trying to reach God through your own efforts, trust in His grace.
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