How to Focus on Your Path, Not Your Past
Every day we wake up, we have an opportunity to focus on our path ahead and not the past behind us. Every day is an OPPORTUNITY DAY, a day we should focus on the path God set for us, the opportunities He has reserved for us, and not the past we've lived for us.
An OPPORTUNITY DAY is our chance to put God first, and to do what we need to do to know, love, and serve Him by serving others, and giving Him all honor and glory in all we say and do.
Mentally, it's an opportunity to consciously be aware of what's going on in our life today and the implications for our future. We will respond to situations based on what is occurring in the NOW. We will also be able to identify opportunities that may not seem to fit or be possible if we compared them to past experiences and resulting negative mindsets.
Emotionally, we need to react in the NOW without opening the emotional baggage we carry from past experiences. Emotions, especially negative emotions, many of which mask underlying anger and unforgiveness, tend to work their way into all aspects of our lives, casting a curtain over our ability to act reasonably and positively.
As research has shown, our experiences and the way we react to them, form mental and emotional pathways in our bodies. As a result, it takes a conscious and committed action on our part to be in the NOW, willing and capable of forging and forming new pathways, instead of acting and reacting based on previously formed mental and emotional pathways.
Mindsets needs to be questioned and examined. Emotions need to be spotted and isolated. Habits need to be confronted and changed.
Spiritually, we need to focus on GOD FIRST. This means at the beginning of each day, and throughout the day, we need to come before Him in prayer, being in His Word, and taking the time to listen to Him. Even doing this, focusing on the path instead of the past can be difficult.
In prayer, as necessary as thanksgiving is, we will be tempted to dwell on past experiences for which we should be thankful. In reading and studying of God's Word, it's easy to apply what the scriptures say to past experiences, rather than focusing on how you can apply them in the NOW and going forward.
In quiet times, when we are able to listen to the Lord, distracting thoughts about the past, and yes the present and the future, stream in and out of our consciousness, creating noise that prevents us from hearing what God is saying.
The scriptures speak about the broad path. Part of the broad path is lingering in the past. The narrow path, the one about which Jesus spoke, begins with the NOW and points forward.
Oftentimes, others and the world around us seem to determine the path we should take. And many times, it's the broad path, the one many others have taken and will take. When we concentrate on the NOW and seize opportunities God provides for us in the NOW, we are forging our own path, the one He has designed just for us.
So, it's crucial we realize and appreciate the fact that every step we take along this path, requires focus of our mind, emotions, and spirit.
The narrow path is the one God has designed for us. The narrow path living each day as an OPPORTUNITY DAY, a day we should focus on the path God set for us, not the past we've lived for us.
Listen to God's Words
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Enter through the narrow gate. (Psalm 143:8-10)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (Philipians 3:13)
Also read: Proverbs 3:6, Psalm 119:1-3, Matthew 6:31-34
What Others Say
"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus." Alexander Graham Bell
" If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's you path." Joseph Campbell
"There will be times when the path ahead seems dark. But keep following the Savior. He knows the way; in fact, He is the way." Stephen W. Owen
Think About It
When you awake in the morning, do you begin your day by making God first? If not, consider ways you can do this. Perhaps read Psalm 143 and others that apply.
Consider attaching a different post-it note to your bathroom mirror every day that tells you why it is an OPPORTUNITY DAY. Are there other ways to remind yourself?
When you face challenges and opportunities, do you concentrate mentally and focus emotionally on the present, or do you allow negative past experiences to weigh you down? If yes, describe how you can avoid doing this.