One of the beautiful things about Advent is that it gives us the opportunity to clear the slate and start over. Our past can become the anchor that fixes us to unhealthy patterns, fear, and regret, and ultimately keeps us from moving forward into the rich future we deserve.
During this third week of Advent, I want to talk about a few of the lies that keep us from putting the past to rest and the truths we can use to break free.
Lie #1: You deserve to be stuck.
This is an insidious one. Whatever your past holds, whatever shame or regrets, you’ve been convinced that we deserve to be stuck in the past—that it’s part of the price you pay for your mistakes or failures.
Truth: You deserve forgiveness, especially from yourself.
Let go of the shame and regret and begin to focus on today. Ask yourself how you want to live and let go of the idea that you can only have or enjoy little because of your past.
Lie #2: You’re never going to make any progress.
This is difficult, especially if you’ve experienced a lot of setbacks. It’s easy to begin believing that you simply aren’t cut out for progress or a life full of the things you want.
Truth: Everyone is capable of progress.
Maybe it’s been a rough year—or several years—but change always comes and you are fully capable of progress. You may need help or encouragement. You may need to make some big changes and take a few chances, but you will make progress.
Lie #3: The past is better than anything you’ll experience in the future.
This one often comes up if you’ve experienced loss or heartbreak. If you had something amazing and you don’t anymore or you’re afraid that the “good old days” are already behind you, this is the year that you lay those fears to rest and explore the future.
Truth: You don’t know what the future holds, and it’s often far better than you expect.
Don’t get stuck here. Acknowledge your loss, grieve, and let go enough to take a baby step toward the future.
If you’re struggling to put the past to rest this season, know you’re now alone. Take some time to process your past, accept what has happened, and give yourself permission to move into the New Year unhindered.