I’m excited to introduce you to my hope building friend, Michelle.
Dr. Michelle Bengtson, a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, is also a wife, mother and friend. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them.
In today’s post, Michelle talks about looking back versus forward looking.
Have you ever done something that made you feel bad about yourself and kept you trapped in the mistakes of your past?
Have you ever been criticized by someone, and felt guilty, ashamed, or inferior?
Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10).Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy us. Click To Tweet
Often, we don’t recognize Satan’s taunts for what they are: lies.Having teenagers in the house brings with it the opportunity to remember not only my younger years when I was their age, but also the mistakes and poor choices that come with youth.
Sometimes those memories are twinged with guilt, shame, and embarrassment. If I allow my thoughts to go unchecked, I can begin to wonder how God would ever use someone like me who tested the waters of independence rather than consulting His plans for me.
• Have you ever done something so bad that you feared God could no longer use you?
• Have you ever allowed shame over your words or actions to hold you back from God’s call on your life?
• Have you ever believed that your past disqualifies you in some way from serving God?
The enemy would like to convince us that our messy pasts erode any promise for our future.The enemy would like to convince us that our messy pasts erode any promise for our future. Click To Tweet
Hold onto hope! I firmly believe that God uses our greatest messes to be our greatest message for Him.
God desires that we would first believe in Him, and then that we would surrender our heart to His plans.
Joshua 2 tells the story of Rahab who is a perfect example of just this! Rahab was an Old Testament prostitute. Many would think of her as anything but godly. Yet scripture reveals that Rahab believed in the One True God.
Joshua led the Jews into the Promise Land. Two spies went on ahead into the city of Jericho. Rahab hid the spies on the roof top of her inn, and when the King of Jericho sent soldiers to her inn demanding that she turn over the spies, she lied about their whereabouts and sent them searching for the spies in another direction. Rahab kept silent about the spies’ mission, and in return, Joshua spared Rahab and her entire family’s lives when Jericho was invaded and destroyed.
“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31
Rahab’s history as a prostitute may have caused others to doubt her worth, but she believed in and placed her hope in the One True God and risked her life for Him by providing safety for Joshua’s spies.
Rahab heard how God delivered the Jews from their enemy, then because of her faithfulness to God, she experienced His deliverance first hand when all those in Jericho who disobeyed God were killed.
James 2:25 reveals that Rahab was considered righteous because of her service to God.
God does not judge us in the same way we judge others.God does not judge us in the same way we judge others. Click To Tweet
Nor does God use our status, accomplishments, or a blemish-free record as the determining factor for His ability to use us in service to Him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).
God is looking for those who believe in Him, and are willing to surrender to His plans. Our history, mistakes, and messes allow for God to receive greater glory for the outcome.
Don’t keep looking back and dwelling on the mistakes of your past—you aren’t going that way!Don't keep looking back, dwelling on the mistakes of your past--you aren't going that way! Click To Tweet
Look ahead to what God is going to do in and through you for your good and His glory.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Have you ever let your past interfere with your future? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Follow Michelle on Facebook or Twitter.
To read more from Michelle, order copies of her books, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the Hope Prevails Bible Study.
NOTE: Friends, are you receiving my e-Newsletters? If not, click here to find sign up. Don’t miss the May 1 newsletter–Michelle is giving away a signed set of Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the Hope Prevails Bible Study.
I want to share, but that time in my life was so painful. There is no words to explain it.
Linda, good to see you here. Thanks for popping by. I’m praying for you as you continue to move forward through the grieving and healing process. Hugs! Mona
Hi Mona! Great message! I am currently 16 years old & have made some really bad mistakes in my past. I am afraid my future will be affected due to these mistakes. I like to think that I was just an immature kid when I made those mistakes, & I was (I was around 13-14 years old), but I often have trouble convincing myself just that. I know those mistakes aren’t who I really am, but I have a really hard time telling myself to move forward & that I’m just a kid & have a bright future ahead. Any advice for my situation would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks again for the amazing message!
Hey, Tyler. Thanks for checking out my blog and getting in touch, and for sharing a piece of your story. I’ve been praying for you.
Your future might be affected by the consequences of your mistakes, but you don’t have to live in shame and fear. Tyler, I have a few Bible verses I’d like to share with you that I hope you will chew on and pray over.
“If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 That’s huge! If you’ve humbled yourself and are truly sorry for your mistakes, you’ve confessed them to God and asked for His forgiveness, He has forgiven you.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17 If you’ve confessed, God’s forgiveness empowers you to walk in freedom from the shame and guilt of those mistakes (your sin) and He will give you all you need to walk through and overcome any affects or consequences.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 Slavery would be bondage to your past mistakes, the shame and guilt. Jesus Christ died so that you and I could be set free from slavery to sin and walk in God’s forgiveness and freedom.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father [God] will send in My [Jesus’] name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:36
God through His Holy Spirit can teach you how to move forward in freedom and give you the strength you need to walk through any consequences you face.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord, “‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.'” Jeremiah 29:11-13 You are young, Tyler, and you do have a bright future ahead of you . . . because God loves you and has a plan for you. He wasn’t caught off guard by your past choices. He can use them in His plan and purposes for you.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Tyler, I’m praying for you.
Seek God’s best for you always.
Needed this reminder today. I don’t even know what to say. There is a deep hurt in my heart. It is hard “to do” life.
Hi, Ashley. Thanks so much for joining me here and for getting in touch. It is hard “to do” life. Especially when we try to do it on our own. Isolation is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons.
Have you been able to share your heartache with a godly and trustworthy confidant yet? Secrets can hold us captive to our past. I don’t want that for you. Ashley, there is freedom in Christ. Not just freedom from sin and the eternal punishment that comes with it, but freedom and grace for each step we take. I’m praying for you this week. If you’d like someone to “talk” to, email me at email@example.com. Love and hugs, Mona
I love the reminder that the more of my ugly past He redeems, the more glory He gets…now there’s an exhilarating thought. I’m not one to parade my mistakes, but The Father sure has used them to encourage younger women who struggle with guilt and shame. How creative our God is to use the mud bricks of the past to build warehouses for His righteousness. I am so grateful for the variety of ways He redeems a tattered life.
Beautifully said, Shirley. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Hugs, Mona