So this past weekend included Father’s Day. A beautiful weekend, and a time filled with a whole lot of emotions. Joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and those are just the characters from Inside Out. Weeks ahead of time I was already feeling anxiety because I don’t feel worthy, being the center of attention is uncomfortable and I don’t really want to take a day to celebrate. When I look at myself, generally speaking, my past takes up 75% of how I view myself. When I look at myself I see my shortcomings, my failures, the fact that I’m not perfect. I’m my own worst enemy, and it prevents me from getting closer in relationships, growing in my faith and moving forward in relationships. The weight of the past is so great that I’m not heeding the encouragement from Hebrews 12 and casting off everything that hinders. For me, it’s the shame and guilt of my past that is slowing me down and I doubt I’m completely alone in this.
It took some time to work past that this weekend, to begin to see the positives that I’m now undertaking and living out. I’ve confessed, and continue to engage in a process of owning my mistakes, my sins. I’m forgiven, that is certain. God knows me, knows my heart, knows my past, knows my present and knows my future. But it’s really my present and future that He’s most engaged in right now, that’s where His focus is and I need to meet Him there. My family of origin is in a near constant state of, *you remember when you…?* There have even been files in the past kept that keep track of our transgressions. There are even likely files currently for all I know. But those files, they’re painful and tangible examples of a broken family that somewhere along the way forgot what true love is.
That passage has been playing through my head this weekend. I’ve had moments to connect with my daughters, to tell them that even when I’m upset or frustrated with something they’ve done, that I love them. To my astonishment, they get it and I feel it in every fiber of my being that they get it. They share their emotions with me, and we move forward. Now I’m not on the same level, but I realize that despite any meddling emotions, I love them like Jesus loves us all and calls us to love one-another. Again, I’m not trying to elevate myself, but this is an area that I know I’m good, and living in line with the great commission. I’m able to separate the frustration or disappointment in a moment because behind that is a planet of love that will meet them in every situation and in every season. By God’s grace, and with His continued favor I will always be there for them to wrap them up in a hug and let them know how much they’re loved.
If I focus on my past, on the things I’ve done and the person I was, I won’t be able to experience God’s perfect and undying love for me. I won’t be able to run with any perseverance the race marked out for me. The same love I feel for the children God has blessed my wife and I with, I have trouble accessing for myself to grow with Him. I’m reminded that it’s progress, not perfection. If I’m on my motorcycle or trying to pull past a water-ski buoy if I look down or back I’ll either crash or miss what I’m aiming for. This is the case where we can learn a bit from George Burns to remember the past but don’t live there, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” I’ll be praying that we can all focus on the present, and not get weighed down by the past.