Our bodies are amazing! The things they can endure and overcome are remarkable. There was a time I could push my body beyond the limits I even thought were possible. As a high school and college athlete I missed only one game due to illness. My body was resilient as I overcame shin splints, jammed and broken fingers, sprained ankles, and bruised knees, among other injuries. It seemed no matter what happened to me, I was always able to bounce back rather quickly. Until….
I was in a serious car accident and did not bounce back. The blog titled “Only Believe! Really?” goes more into the details of that time period. Before the accident I was active, playing power volleyball, softball, roller blading, and bike riding amongst other things. Without ever giving it much thought, I discovered I had been able to do most anything I wanted prior to the accident. Then I went into a five year bout with pain and fear, retreating into a cavern of darkness.
After those five years, God’s healing began to manifest in my life and I was able to slowly and cautiously add activities back into my life. Caution was not a word in my vocabulary previous to the accident but since I never again wanted to experience the pain I had endured, I limited my activities in order not to push my body to perform. Then God began speaking to me about walking in fear and I had to admit I was afraid of experiencing the intensity of pain again. Even though I had great memories before the accident, the five years after were riddled with pain and torment, and then the next five were lived within the boundaries of caution and fear.
Because I believe God’s Word completely I needed to put feet to my faith and stop walking in fear because it was dictating my future. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Knowledge is good but only puffs up if we do not use wisdom by applying knowledge in our lives. I knew God was telling me the past was behind me, all of it. Obviously that was true, but there was something deeper I needed to hear. Not only was the past behind me but all the effects of the past were behind me as well. This meant I need not allow the effects of the accident to dictate my present activity. This was a challenging revelation for me to apply. I knew it in my mind, and I could counsel this truth to people dealing with abuse from the past, low self-esteem, and other issues. But to apply it to my own mind and body was going to take a miracle, or so I thought.
As I recovered and learned how to live after the accident, God showed me how memories of my body bouncing back after injury and illness were not helping me heal. In fact, it was hurting because I had learned to play through and ignore pain. When I tried to apply the principles I had learned as a young athlete I only hurt my body more. So I learned to “listen” to my body and when it hurt – stop!
But then I also could not live in the memory of where I was at after the accident because that kept me in bondage to fear. And finally I could not live in the memory of the years after my healing because that kept me in a prison of caution in order not to live in torment again. I needed to learn new strategies.
There is a difference between learning from the past and simply doing things that have worked in the past. “Learning from the past” means we use the knowledge we acquired and apply the principles to our present situation but are not fixed in the methods from the past. “Doing things that worked” in the past restricts our creativity and freedom of exploration, and more importantly, blinds and deafens us to the voice of God who speaks life into things that do not exist. Romans 4:17 “…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” How thrilling it is to know with one call God can cause things to exist! We need to make room in our lives for Him to call! When I stopped doing things that worked for me in the previous seasons, but rather applied the knowledge acquired during those seasons, I could live freely in the moment. I would apply the principles but not be limited by them!
The point is memories are just memories – some very good, some very bad, and most in between. But still, they are memories and we cannot approach TODAY bound by the past. As I am stepping out in faith and pushing my body I get this question in my spirit. Why are we so willing to let our past memories and experiences define our present life, physically and spiritually? And why are we not busy making new memories?
I have had some great, treasured experiences with God and how He has moved in my life. I have watched Him heal, deliver, bring joy, peace, and pour out his Spirit on His people so many times I can feel His presence as I type this. Although these are great testimonies they are still only memories of His activity in our lives. We can tell stories to encourage others in all God has done, but we also need to tell them what God is still doing “Today” which means we need to be about our Father’s business Today! God still does miracles, still changes lives, and still makes all things new.
People of God, we need to live for today! Indeed, God has done marvelous things in the past. But just as we cannot depend on past memories and experiences to determine what we are capable of today, we cannot depend on past experiences with God to help us walk in “now” faith today. We can build on prior knowledge but we must look to God for new strategies, words, and experiences for our present moments.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
We are to “live in the moment” because today’s moments will shape tomorrow’s reality. But then today’s moments become a memory, as well as tomorrow’s reality, and we have continual opportunities to see God do new things. Today we focus on whatever things God has for us to concentrate on. We mature in the Lord, we apply knowledge and discover wisdom, we exercise our faith and it gets stronger, we operate in the gifts and see His power released, and we possess the fruit of the Spirit watching it produce more fruit.
Memories! They make us smile or even shed a tear if they are good. We must learn to let them go if they are bad. And we learn from those memories which fall in between. But no matter what, they are still former things. We have today! That is our gift! When we live in the moment we will not be hardened by the things of the past, nor will we live our lives in fear or caution. Hebrews 3:13,15 reads, “…but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin… while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
Today I am encouraged! Today I live focused on things that are true. Today, I run on the treadmill again because I am no longer ruled by caution or pain. Today I hear His voice! I pray today is a new day filled with the precious gift of making new memories, free from boundaries, free from caution, free from fear! May today’s moments be exciting and tomorrow may they be just a memory because we have new moments to live! We have been gifted with a life to live and we must live it to its fullest while it is yet TODAY!