What to Do When Your Past Revisits You

With ten minutes until the bell rang, sending throngs of teens, including my own, flooding through the middle school gates, I cranked up the air conditioner, pulled out my phone, and prepared to pass the time scrolling social media.

There were prayer requests that broke my heart, birthday wishes for people I should probably spend more time with, and that video of the baby snuggling a puppy that always makes my uterus sigh. Just saying.

But I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

Familiar faces stared back at me. Women I once considered friends, arms linked and smiles broad. The words were all sweet perfection and promises to march through thick and thin without even a whisper of wavering.

They were all together. Without me. 

A knot gripped my stomach and my throat clenched with emotion. Yes, I could preach truth over myself. Sure, the wayward thoughts could be wrangled and pointed toward pure and lovely. Indeed, God IS good and His plans ARE perfect.

But my heart still split right down the middle.

Ever feel like your past visits at the worst possible time? A photo, a word, even a vaguely familiar situation can trigger a memory rush that fades all the healing and spotlights what once was. Suddenly that light at the end of the tunnel looks more like an oncoming train.

We can’t change the past, but we can walk into the future more wise.

{Tweet that}

Here’s the thing about yesterday and all the days before it: we can’t change them. Lord knows we can worry over the replay or devise that wish-I’d-said comeback, but still, we can’t rewrite history.

What can we do when the past revisits?

Attempt amends.
In order to move forward, sometimes we have to fix what’s been broken. Maybe it’s a long overdue conversation or a simple apology with no expectation of one in return. This isn’t always easy, but whereas bitterness only amplifies brokenness, a bit of humility can bring a lifetime of freedom.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 NIV

Pursue forgiveness.
This might mean receiving it or giving it. Forgiveness works in both directions, but we can only control our own actions. In light of that limited control, sometimes our very best option is to surrender the situation to God and leave the justice, purpose, and greater plan in His able hands. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we need to maintain a relationship that’s better laid to rest. Sure, restored relationships are lovely, but that may not be God’s plan.

Tiffany Parry
Tiffany Parry
Tiffany is marveled by the endless grace and relentless love of her Savior in this life that can be so messy, too busy, and entirely imperfect. Her heart is to share God’s precious promises of grace and love with others and invite them into honest and authentic conversations about faith and life. Tiffany welcomes you to join the journey at her blog, Simply for One, or on Facebook and Instagram.

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