Thinking Out Loud Thursday #6 – Letting Go of the Past

I’m doing something a bit different today. I’m thinking out loud on just one topic: letting go.  I’ve had the start of this post written up, and I didn’t have a list of things burning a hole in my brain, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to spill my thoughts on the matter.  I’m not stating an opinion here, just letting the thoughts run rampant on the page, which sounds is pretty scary! 😉

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Let It Go is a very popular song, and I think some people relate to certain lines, while some relate to the song as a whole.  While I could spend the entire post writing about the song, that isn’t my goal here.  The reason I brought it up is because it was that song that got me thinking, which led to this post.

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There have been times when I’m dwelling so much in my past, that I I feel like I have stopped existing in the present.  I feel like I’m not really living anymore; I am functioning, but not living.  Am I the only one who sings “the past is in the past” with my mouth, but my heart keeps dragging me back into the past by dredging up memories of happier days?

Those memories are both a blessing and a curse. Looking at them at face value, I treasure them; after all, they are memories of good times, and I am very grateful that I have them, and have the ability to remember them. But on the flip side, I find myself comparing my life now to how it was then, and that takes away from my life now. It makes me discouraged, and even depressed. Will I ever be happy again? Will I have friends who get me, who are cool if I am who I am around them, and not a façade of who I think they want me to be? Will I try new things, and not be afraid of what will happen or what people will think of me?

I have worked myself into a cocoon of fear where I honestly don’t know how to do new things. I love the idea of starting over, but when it comes to the practical part of putting it into action, I’m afraid to face it. I would love to have a bounce-right-back type of personality, and I feel like I could get there if I only knew where to start..

It’s easy enough to say “Let it go,” or “the past is in the past,” but for me at least, it is much harder to actually do. To be completely honest, I sometimes wonder how people do it. I have such a hard time leaving things in my past and moving forward. Maybe it would be easier if I was a go-getter type; maybe then I would be empowered by the open door in front of me, and turning my back on the closed door behind me would be natural.

As it is, I am left with an open, empty field surrounding me, and where an observer might say that I have endless amount of choices as to which direction I could go in, I am pounding on the door behind me and protesting because I want to go back.  I don’t want endless options, and where they see endless possibility, I see complete emptiness. It’s barren, there are no people, and I don’t have the strength to step out in faith that if I walk far enough I will find more.

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At first I was fine with the blank space in between; it just meant that I had time to process the change before moving on.  And it may easily be that I am, without knowing it, walking forward, all the while looking constantly back over my shoulder to make sure that I can still see that door. I don’t know to be honest. I’ve never traveled this road before, and – what makes it even more painful – never expected to; at least, not in the manner I am.  I knew things would have to end sometime, but I thought it would end by something else beginning.  Like when you get married or have a baby; life as you know it ends, but it simultaneously starts something new.  I think I would have been ok with that, but that’s not what God had in mind.

I don’t pretend to understand why God does what he does.  I know that his plan for me is better than anything I could ever imagine, but in times like these, when I’ve been in the valley for years on end, I feel completely deflated.  I remember being on the mountain top, and I want to be there again, but I don’t know how to get there.

“Today is not a good day; stranded in the heartache, watching all the world race and pass me by. Like a wave on the ocean comes a flood of emotion, and it can’t go unspoken, no it can’t go unspoken one more time… We fall apart just to come alive. A broken heart can shatter all the lies, a brand new start and a goodbye; we fall apart just to come alive…”  ~ “We Fall Apart” by Bebo Norman

Do you have trouble letting go of the past?

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12 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud Thursday #6 – Letting Go of the Past

  1. I do…and I make plans and move forward but still think of those past things, whether they are friendships or relationships. The best really IS ahead and while we might have to force ourselves to go forward, we are allowed to remember and think about and talk about the past 🙂

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    • I think that is a good reminder. I a lot of times feel guilty when I catch myself thinking about the past, which isn’t fair to myself. I think the danger really comes when we are living in the past, and letting it rule our now and our future. I’m hoping that I will learn as I go what is what, and I can cultivate a healthy relationship with my past, present and future. Whoa, that kinda sounds weird. But yeah, I’m trying to say that I really don’t know right now if I am letting the past control my future, and I’m hoping that with time I will be able to figure this all out. Right now, it feels like a puzzle that I’m just beginning, and I need more experience before I can fit in more pieces. 🙂

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  2. You couldn’t have expressed my feelings any better, sister! You say you’re not eloquent, but your poetic visualizations were perfect and beautiful! I’m standing right there next to you, looking out on that barren space, sure that nothing will ever be the same. We don’t know what the future holds, but at least we know Who holds the future and at least we’re going there together. 🙂 ❤

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  3. What a beautifully written post!

    I don’t think I consciously have a hard time letting go of the past, but I do find myself thinking about good times in the past a lot, even though I’m not wishing to be back in the past. Not sure if that makes sense…but usually, I’m more excited about what’s ahead! (even though I’m typically unsure about what it’ll be!) Knowing that God holds my future in His hands gives me a lot of peace, although I’m sure we all still worry sometimes.

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    • Thanks, Liv! Reminiscing on good times is one of my favorite activities, especially in the form of reading old journals! It sounds like you are the kind of person I envy (but I already knew that, lol)! 😉 I’ve always wanted to be excited about the future, and I actually was for a while, until my life stalled. And I think that the only reason I haven’t gone insane by know is because I know Who is holding my future!

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  4. I can totally relate, girl. It’s so easy to let past events haunt you and keep you absorbed in things that can no longer be changed. It has taken me so long to realize that I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, using the past as a tool, not something that deserves my time and energy. Time and energy are for NOW.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

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    • I agree! Using the past as a tool is very hard for me! I keep beating myself up about things I said and what I should have said differently, instead of learning from it and moving on. Ten to one, the only one thinking about it is me. 🙂

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