2 Simple Ways to Change Your Past

Change the past? Huh?

Do you think maybe I’m being a little presumptuous — or maybe a little ignorant — to even suggest that changing the past is possible?

Oh girl, I wish I could change some things about my past and I know you do too!

2  Simple Ways to Change Your Past

We’ve all got stuff… stuff that happened to us that we wish we could change. We’ve all got stuff… stuff we’ve done we wish we could undo.

But, we can’t.

Lily has a painful past and she asked me an honest question about how to deal with it. Read Lily’s question and, then, see what I told her about changing her.. and your… and my… past!

How can I stop my past from ruining my future?
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Question: I’ve had so much pain in my life, but I can’t seem to move on. How can I stop the past from ruining my future?

Answer: As Pumbaa from The Lion King wisely said, “it’s times like this my buddy Timon here says: you got to put your behind in your past.”

But, it’s hard to move on from the past, it’s hard to keep it where it belongs… behind you.

One of the ways you can manage the past is to ask yourself, “Can I change my past?”

Now, don’t laugh and say of course not. Really ponder… can you change it?

Part of the reason our pasts can control us is because we allow them to.
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Part of the reason our pasts can control us is because we grant them the power to control us by our faulty belief that somehow we can change them. “If I, if he, if only, I should have, I shouldn’t have…”

So, I ask again, can you change your past?

Well, of course you can’t, so here’s the next question, the more important question, “What can you change?”

1. You can change your assumption about the past.

Sometimes, we look back at a painful memory or a difficult season and auto-pilot takes over. We just assume that it could have been different.

  • If only we hadn’t said what we said.
  • Or, if we had just left ten minutes earlier, the car wreck wouldn’t have happened.
  • Or, we assume that if we just had different parents… or more opportunities… or a better school, then… well, you get the idea.

We assume a lot about our past and our assumptions are ungrounded. They aren’t based on fact, our assumptions are based upon speculation.

God may have allowed your difficult past because He was teaching you, helping you grow, and loving you.
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To assume means we take something for granted.

To assume means we insert our interpretation and prophecy into a situation as if we really know what could have been and certainly would have been if things were different.

We don’t know, we just assume. So, if we’re going to assume, let’s at least change our assumptions.

When you look back at your past, instead of assuming things would have been different “if,” assume things were the way they were “because.”

  • I assume, Lord, that if You wanted things different in my life, they would have been.
  • I assume You allowed my difficult past because You are teaching me, helping me grow, and loving me in ways that are hard for me to understand.
  • I assume that You are Lord and You have a plan.

Change how you think about your past to redeem it and remove its control over you.
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Changing your assumptions does not change your past, but, changing your assumptions can be a way to redeem your past and remove some of it’s control over you. When you choose to change your assumptions about your past, you will see that God will give you “beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”(Isaiah 61:3).

2. You can change your attitude about the past.

You’ve heard it before… you can either be bitter or better from the hard things in your life and it all depends on your attitude.

  • Our pasts can be our best associates or our worst adversaries.
  • Our pasts become teachers when we take on the attitude of a learner and allow them to teach us.
  • Our pasts turn into enemies when we take on the attitude of resentment, bitterness, or victimization.

So, when it comes to your past, become better because of it by asking God to help you change your attitude from that of a victim to that of a student.

The hard things in your past can either make you bitter or better. It’s your choice.
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What can you learn? How can you grow?

Your attitude doesn’t change your past, but it changes the influence of your past. The hardest and most powerful attitude you can choose is the attitude of gratitude. Ask God for the grace to pray, “Thank You, God, for what You allowed because it is allowing me to grow and change.”

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18)

Question: In the comments below, please share with us any helpful tips you have for dealing with a painful past.


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