The secret to living a minimalist lifestyle involves decluttering in specific areas of your life. One of the best ways to declutter involves letting go of a few things. In my case, I just didn’t let go of some material possessions. I also let go of myself and my ambition. This is the fourth post on my Letting Go series. I will share with you how to let go of your past to live a freer life.
We’ve all done things in the past that we are not proud of. It could be anything: a wrong relationship, an addiction, or a mistake we committed against loved ones. Some of us move on easily, but there are others who live in the shadow of their pasts.
I’ve been in this scenario before. Like I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I am not perfect. I have done things that I’m not proud of. I’ve had an abortion, entered an affair outside of my marriage, disappointed my kids, have not been a good steward for money, I lied big time and have hurt people, I have unforgiving heart, I deceived people. Believe me, I have done a lot. Many times, I felt my past is catching up to me and is sucking out the joy in my life.
You could be going through the same thing. I hope you find comfort in this fact: you are never alone.
Everyone Carries Excess Baggage
Without realizing it, we all carry something on our backs wherever we go. It shows up in our attitudes or it comes out in our conversations. While most people like to talk about the future or the present, a majority of their conversations are always grounded on one thing — their past.
When we’ve done something wrong, it’s only natural for us to feel the guilt or shame. Say you’ve hurt a loved one by betraying their trust. You caused pain to your spouse when you had an affair with someone else. Or you may have lied to your parents about something in your life.
Maybe you’ve slept with many people and you are either pregnant or suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.
Or you have allowed your career to distract you from focusing on your family. You were always busy with meetings that you often missed big events in your children’s lives. Now, they resent you and you feel they are more distant than ever.
Some of us take our past mistakes everywhere we go, towing it behind us despite the stress it causes. Why do we do that?
Our past is familiar and is the foundation of the stories we share with our family, friends, and colleagues. It’s like an old and worn-out pair of shoes we hold on to because they feel comfortable. The past cannot talk, breathe, or think. Yet it is very powerful and can take over our lives if we let it.
I know a lot of people who found it difficult to forgive themselves. I am one of them. Sometimes, I am plagued with thoughts that scream “Why did I do that?” “How could I have done that to my family?” “What kind of person am I?” “How can I ever forgive myself?”
But I got over it. How?
Let It Go, Breathe Easy
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”Romans 8:1
This is one of the verses that remind me about the forgiveness of Christ — my sole comfort whenever my past haunts me. What does this verse mean and how can it help you let go? It shows that when we ask and are since with our request, Christ forgives us and cleanses us from our sins. He makes us white as snow and transforms us into better versions of ourselves.
The Bible tells of stories of people who regret their past actions and let their guilt eat them up. Consider the following people: Moses killed a man, David took another man’s wife and killed him, and the apostle Paul murdered a lot of Christians. They had horrible pasts too. They had every right to let the past plague them but they sought Christ’s forgiveness and grace.
The Bible offers more words of comfort, which are important when you’re trying to let go of regret.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:12-13
We can’t go back and change the past. There are some things in our lives that, no matter how much we wish we could alter them, will remain the same. There is nothing we can do but accept the things we cannot change and ask the Lord to help us move forward.
This is where our decisions play a big role. We have the choice to accept the things we cannot change and ask God to help us move forward. Or we can wallow in the pain of our past. We can choose to let the Lord’s grace cover us or we can stay imprisoned in our “What ifs.”
There was a time in my life when I chose to stay in the hurts of my past. My previous mistakes and hurtful memories of childhood replayed in my head. I would end up disappointed or hurt. It was during that time that I realized it is much better to surrender everything to the Lord rather than relive the past.
“But will God forgive me?”
There is an answer to this question.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
Many people think their sins are too great for the Lord to forgive. For this reason, they hesitate in approaching Him, believing that He has permanently turned His back at them. On the contrary, the Bible says that He will cleanse us all of unrighteousness. The Lord said so Himself: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
When we seek His forgiveness and repent, He will help us become better versions of ourselves.
Letting Go Is Better than Holding Back
Surrendering your past to Him gives you the freedom to move forward and start anew. When you let go of the past, you’ll breathe and live better. Your doubts will not hold you back from turning over a new leaf. Also, you allow God to use your talents to advance His Kingdom to others. In fact, He can use your previous experiences to build other people up — if you let Him.
Don’t let the past keep you from realizing your full potential. Remember: God made you to SHINE for Him.
Letting go of your past is another step you must take to achieve a minimalist beauty lifestyle. It can be a painful journey filled with doubts and hurts. Keep in mind that with the Lord’s help, you can achieve this too. I know I have and I’m free because He has redeemed me. I am now living in the present and enjoying every moment with my loved ones.
You deserve to be joyful! Shine in this life by letting go of your past and living a peaceful life. Do not allow your past to trap you inside a box that will prevent you from growing to a better you.
Instead, let your past be a lesson that makes you a better and stronger version of yourself anchored in God.