The following is a conversation I recently had via. E-mail with a friend dealing with their past. Many people, even after coming to Christ, have trouble handling their past. I hope this will be of some help.
Brian: I’ve come to realize that my battle in my mind is the past. But I guess I knew that without reading the book by Joyce. And that I need to get back to church.
Louie: I’m glad to hear that. I thought about you Sunday when the Glovers were singing “Still holding on.” Does this mean we’re going to see you Wednesday? I hope so, we’re in the last part of Romans 3. As far as reading the Joyce Meyer book goes, we all need reminders from time to time. I have several books I read over and over again, and it still seems fresh each time.
Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).
Brian: I’m just tired of the set backs that I seem to have and the past haunting me.
Louie: Someone once said, “we live in the enemy’s camp and he has a right to shoot at us.” The good news is we have the armor of God! If you don’t mind, let me pry for a minute and ask you, what is it exactly about your past that’s haunting you?
Brian: I can sing that one!! My past, but to be honest mostly mine and her past together. And then my past comes into play saying go back (to my old lifestyle) and forget it all, but I can’t and won’t do that.
Louie: So you’re having difficulty letting go of past hurts and the temptation to use comes up, promising to silence the unwanted thoughts, right? Well, we both know where that leads now don’t we? All you’ll get from that is a hangover, and then you will still have to deal with whatever is troubling you, but then it’ll be with a pounding headache accompanied by guilt and shame. One thing that keeps me from drinking is that I can continue to tell others how long it’s been. Tracey and I went to Gulf Shores one time, and I really thought about drinking, but simply couldn’t justify it in the end so I didn’t. Months later I was sharing the story about being tempted to drink with some guys in jail and one of them said, “Well, did you?” And I loved that I could honestly tell them…No!
Maybe this will help you. Tracey and I have a very spotty past life too and all I can say is God has a way of getting us through. What finally got me is realizing Christ is enough. I remember thinking how much I wanted to get back together with Tracey; but eventually I came to the conclusion me and God had to get things straight whether or not she and I ever did. Now I know Tracey loves God and is willing to choose Him over me and that gives me the ability to trust her. As long as you and Cindy keep your focus on Christ He will work this out.
Brian: Your exactly right. Its a pounding headache or being strung out with the problem still there. Only difference is your adding more problems to it. That’s why I know I can’t do that and I thank God that I can’t. The main thing is that I wanted this for so long with her and now I have it but now the past is haunting me. All that happened between us is there when I look at her, when I’m laying in bed. It’s killing me inside. I’ve prayed about it and prayed but it seems like its driving a wedge. And its hard to even mention the main part that’s haunting me.
Louie: You know that’s the enemy, right? I guess the real question is “Are you a new creature?” and “Is she?” There are plenty of things Tracey and I could bring up and throw at each other about our past foolishness, but we have both made a decision to move forward in Christ.
I remember a time when we all worked together and I told you I didn’t trust Cindy. That was very true at the time, but I do genuinely believe there has been a change in her. Obviously I don’t live with her, but I do work with her for several hours everyday and from what I’m seeing she loves you and really wants this marriage to work. You two picked each other above all others. Marriage is a commitment based on trust which means we can’t always know what’s coming around the corner but we have agreed to stick it out. The truth is it takes a miracle, because we humans, left to ourselves, really aren’t very trustworthy, but with “Christ in you”…and “her” a miracle is what we’re living everyday.
Brian: I do remember that. I truly believe she is a new creature now. She is a changed woman, I truly believe that. I see that. Yesterday on my way home from work something came up and got me thinking. It was like a voice saying my problem in the relationship is that it’s a healthy relationship. I don’t know how to be in one. All I’m used to is a relationship with drinking, drugs and fighting or arguing all the time. Its opened my eyes in a way.
Louie: I think you may have nailed it right there. It’s difficult to be in a “healthy” relationship if you’ve never known one or seen one modeled in front of you before. This is what is so awesome about the Spirit of God because He can show you the way. I would venture to say we have all had our share of wrong relationships simply because we didn’t know God. The good news is now we do.
One more thing just came to me. I remember thinking I would wall myself off in order to keep from getting hurt. That sounds good at first, but eventually you realize the same walls that keep you safe also keep you from any real connection with others because nothing can get in or out. Life and marriages are risky business, but in the end they are worth the risk. I hope to see you tonight at Coffee Connection.
Brian: That’s true. I’ve never been in a healthy relationship. Mine and hers sure wasn’t healthy at first, I mean before we had a true relationship that is. And also not having a father around but not sure that would play a part. But your right it is hard to be in a healthy relationship and that just hit me yesterday. But it shouldn’t be that hard you wouldn’t think.
Louie: I think sometimes when you are accustomed to “drama” or “upheaval” it becomes your comfort zone. The flesh gets used to being charged up and it can seem unusual if it isn’t, like nothing’s happening. The truth is life is full of days when nothing seems to be happening, but you just do what you do anyway. The other night at jail we read some scripture and the guys didn’t really have anything to say or add to what we were reading, but we plowed through anyway. As I walked away from there it appeared like nothing was accomplished, but I know God’s word will do exactly what He wants it to. Sometimes it seems like we’re “doing time” ourselves but with God nothing’s wasted and if it’s done in the power of His Spirit it will bear fruit.
As far as marriage being difficult, I think we just don’t know how far mankind has fallen. Sin has disrupted everything in creation; so getting along even with someone you love can be a task. I think this is God’s way of teaching us His unconditional kind of love, a kind of love that puts others first and dies to selfishness. It takes the Holy Spirit living through us to make it happen that’s for sure.