Free From the Ugly Past

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What shapes us? What makes us who we are? What develops our very soul?   It’s a complex answer, really. God created us and our life’s journey. He gave us our very own fresh personality as we made our entrance into this world. But it was just an empty template. He began that very day to paint the canvas with the circumstances of our childhood. Sometimes the painting was gentle and graceful. Other times, it was as if He were fiercely throwing cans of paint in our direction. It was messy. And every blow stung. Sometimes we bled.

We reached adulthood, and the painting exercises did not end. The gentle moments, the intense inspiring moments, the throwing of paint can moments. Every splatter of paint. Every stroke. Every blend of colors. This is what makes us – us.

Sometimes we get stuck looking at the mess of the paint can throwing. We see the pain. We see the ugliness. And that’s all we see. We get stuck in a fit of anger or helplessness. We feel we’ve been ruined by those who hurt us. We feel we are less than perfect because of the mess. We feel trapped. We think we will never be beautiful because of the pain of the past.

It’s time to change our thinking. Time to step back and see the bigger picture. Time to see the beauty of the mess.

So long as we narrow our focus to the mess, we let the pain and the hurt and the abuse and the injustices control us. We are the prisoner of a haunting past. Every time we try to run, the chains around our ankles yank us back to the ugliness.

Cutting the chains will take every ounce of courage you have. You will cry. You will fight. You will want to give up. Because freeing yourself requires three of the hardest things in the world – forgiveness, trust, and action.

Forgiveness is saying, “I choose to not be angry. I choose to not hold a grudge. I choose to stop seeking revenge. I choose to free myself from the emotional control this has on me.” It’s is not letting the other person off the hook. It’s letting yourself off the hook, because it’s you the hook is stuck in. You’re the one that’s caught by the offense. You’re the one trapped.

Trust is choosing to believe that no matter how big the mess, it’s meant for beauty. It’s meant to blend with the graceful strokes. It’s meant to shape you and make you more amazing than you can imagine. It’s meant to create you more and more into an individual who shines brighter than the stars for the One who created you.

Action is needed to activate the beauty and brightness. What do you need to do to break free? What relationship needs to change? What needs to be spoken? What talents or desires need to be embraced? What needs to be faced? What needs to be reported? Who do you need to stand up to? Who do you need to defend? Go. Do. Be the boss of your past.

Embrace the freedom. Embrace the beauty of YOU.