There are two quotes that have been standing out to me the past few days, and really speaking to my spirit. The first one is from Kris Vallotton, who is an amazing speaker and writer from Bethel. He said “When your memories are greater than your dreams, you are already dying.” Um, wow. Just think about that for a few minutes. The other one is from a Fireflight song called Unbreakable-the first two lines of the chorus are “God I want to dream again, take me where I’ve never been.” I don’t think it’s coincidental that these two quotes are so similar and that they have both impacted me so much the past few days.
I am a frequent walker of Memory Lane. I don’t even try half the time, I just find myself wandering down there, examining old memories and moments. Sometimes it’s good-there are some moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. And I think God’s okay with that. He gave me those moments. They are full of joy and love, and those feelings are straight from God. But others, I don’t think He’s so happy about when I relive them. And neither am I. I think of people that used to be in my life that aren’t anymore, the mistakes I’ve made and opportunities I didn’t take. And that’s not good. The moment I start dwelling in those memories, my dreams start dying, and so do I. It’s hard for me to be excited about new dreams when I keep living in the past, especially in my failures.
I am super analytical and I dissect everything. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but not when it comes to past mistakes. Those moments were not happy times, so why do I continue to dwell on them? God has given me dreams and hope for the future. Those are the things I should be focusing on. Because, when it comes right down to it, that is what’s most important, and that is what God cares about. He doesn’t even remember all the stupid things I did in the past. So why should I? I need to live in the here and now, in His hope, and strive towards fulfilling my dreams. There is absolutely no reason to think about the past. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 43:18–“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” It then goes on to talk about how God is doing a NEW thing, and how it will be so much better than anything has been in the past.
God is giving us freedom to dream. He WANTS us to dream. He has so much more to give us, and it will be better than what we’ve had. When we get bogged down in memories and past experiences, it hurts Him. We are not allowing Him to give us the abundant, fulfilling life He has promised us. He’s saying to us “I have so much better for you, but My hands are tied! You need to give up the past to allow Me to give you an amazing future.”
Of course, this is easier said than done most of the time. But we have to let go. One time, when I was living in China, I was walking back to the main house with a few of the kids. I was holding one of their hands, and he kept looking backwards as he was walking. As a result, he kept tripping all over his own feet and making it difficult for both of us to walk. As I stood him up again for about the 38489th time, I said “you can’t look backward and walk forward at the same time!” While that is true for physical walking, it’s true in our lives too. We will never be able to move forward towards all that God has for us if we keep looking backward. We’ll just keep tripping. We may be able to eventually make it to our destination, but not nearly as quickly or as easily as it would have been had we just kept our eyes fixed forward.
There is nothing wrong with having good memories of fun times, friends, family, laughter, etc. But don’t let the bad memories rob you of what God truly has for you. Don’t be afraid to dream and hope. Remember that God is doing a new thing that will go above and beyond your past. Don’t let your spirit die because your memories are greater than your dreams.