Saturday, April 12, 2014

Single Saturdays: When You Keep Reliving Your Past

By: Brenda

For several months now my past has consumed my thoughts like never before. It's not just one event or one season of my past. Framed scenes from different ages of my life fade in and out like they do when I'm watching a slide show of photographs on the computer.

The problem is that these memories have become obsessive. They're holding me back from living in the present. They're filling my soul with regret. They're keeping me in bondage to the past.

I've often heard that even destructive behaviors serve some positive purpose for us or else we wouldn't keep doing them. It sounds counter-intuitive, like how can eating a whole bag of chocolate in one sitting possibly be positive? I guess in some way, though, it is or I wouldn't have done it more than once (just as a hypothetical!). In regards to the thoughts of my past, I've been asking myself the question, "What is it that keeps me pushing "repeat" over and over again in my mind to relive regretful and even painful memories?"

I'm trying to be my own redeemer.

I just want a do-over. I really do. If I could have one wish in my life it would be to do my single years - from about 18 to 32 years old - again. Oh, what I would do differently!

I can't do them over, but in some twisted way, by imagining them again and again, I'm trying to. It's like if I replay the past enough times, and live it in better ways, then it will be made complete and whole and right. I'm trying to earn my righteousness instead of resting in the truth that the Cross earned it for me.

When Jesus died on the Cross, every thorn, every lash, every rock, every nail, every ball of spit, every drop of blood covered not only our present and future but also our past. He became sin for us so that we can live free of the bondage to sin.

But here I sit - still in bondage. So what does the Cross mean to me?

Something I've started doing when these thoughts from my past cement themselves in my mind and I can't seem to truly believe the truth of the Cross, is I imagine myself at the foot of the Cross. It looks something like this:

There He is on the hill of Golgotha. The sky is ominous. The clouds are thick. And there I kneel. My legs tucked under my body, my body hutched over so low that my face touches the ground. I reach my right hand out from holding my face and feel the wood at the base of the Cross.   
Then it comes. The first drop of blood falls on the back of my head, into my hair. Then there's another. Red drips down my forearm. And it continues, the sprinkling becomes gushing, and the blood of Jesus completely washes over me, covering me, and releasing me from the fate of death that should have been mine. My hair is soaked. My clothes are drenched. I kneel there, sobbing, in the pool of His blood.  
I am clean.  

The blood of Jesus is not just for remission of sin - our salvation. It is also for us to experience a clean conscience. Hebrews 10:22 says, "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

This, my friend, is where Jesus wants us to live - at the foot of the Cross in constant awareness of His redeeming blood and the sprinkling that cleans our conscience.

You may be in a place today where the memories of your past just continue to fight for your conscience, preventing you from living in the freedom of the Cross. With Holy Week and Easter approaching us this week, imagine yourself kneeling right there at the Cross, and the blood of Jesus cleaning you through and through.

How are you keeping your conscience clean from the past? 


  1. Brenda, this is a beautiful article. I battle with this too. Failures and sins of the past creep in and remind me of what I've done wrong. I strive to 'take every thought captive' and remind myself that 'I have been made new.' Thank you for this reminder!

  2. Jenifer, I'm glad I'm not the only one. It is so hard. I'm trying to find freedom from it every day.

  3. Brenda, your description of what you see at the foot of the cross is very powerful! It's a wonderful message! Congratulations on your new Saturday assignment!


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