“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…” (Philippians 3:13).
Ask anyone going through infertility whether they’re focused on the past or the future and they’ll tell you: no contest – the future. It’s all about becoming a family, having a baby and getting on with happily-ever-after.
But is it really?
Ask yourself, “Am I forgetting what is behind? Have I let go of the insensitive remarks, the thoughtless comments, the useless advice? Have I stopped dwelling on the last test result? The last ultrasound? The last retrieval? Am I done grieving the failed IVF? The miscarriage? The latest bad news? Am I ready to move in the direction of hope again?”
Consider this excerpt from God Calling:
“A man on a march carries only what he needs for that march. Would you pity him if you saw him bearing, too, the overwhelming weight of the worn-out shoes and uniforms of past marches and years? And yet, in the mental and spiritual life, man does these things.”
I know when we were in the middle of our infertility struggle, I couldn’t step outside it long enough to observe myself objectively. Had I been able to, I would’ve seen that I was marching forward… but looking back. I was trudging along, bearing the increasingly overwhelming weight of every heartache, failure, disappointment and scrap of bad news from our infertility journey.
I probably would have told you I was honoring our past efforts by remembering them. But the truth is, I was also rehearsing defeat. Unconsciously preparing for more of the same. Without realizing it, my thoughts were affecting my actions and my choices – which was affecting what unfolded before me.
That’s why Paul writes about forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. If we release our grip on the past, and instead, lean into a future where we trust that God makes anything possible… anything truly becomes possible. We don’t limit God with our fear.
How do we forget something so painful? One definition of the word forget is to disregard intentionally or to overlook. We have to intentionally disregard our past so that it doesn’t keep us from moving forward. We have to let go of the old in order to embrace the new.
That “new” thing could be a new procedure, a new doctor, or a new reason to hope. It could be a new perspective, a new sense of peace, or a new path to happily-ever-after. Whatever it is, that new thing could make a big difference.
So, don’t deny what you’ve been through, but don’t let it determine what’s around the next corner. Trust that God has a better future in store. Trust that He’s working behind the scenes on your behalf. And trust that letting go of the past can open the door to your future.
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