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“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it.

The present is here, live it.” Thomas S. Monson

“The past is your lesson. The present is your gift. The future is you motivation.” Unknown

“Learn from the past. Live in the present. Believe in the future.”  Unknown

Are we getting the message yet? The past is to learn from not to stare at, dwell on, or regret. It’s also not to be overlooked until we’ve learned from it. 

The past is a lesson, not a bad legacy that we can never live down. We usually hear “learn from your mistakes,” but we learn from our successes too how to have a happier present and future. 

To be sure, history repeats itself if we don’t change. So, if we don’t like something that happened yesterday, change something today. 

That’s what the past has to do with happiness now. 

It seems like a law of nature, if not a law of God Himself. It doesn’t sit well with Him that He rescues us from our messes, but we never seem to get His message. 

I’ve read my Bible and it’s there in black and white, proof that we don’t learn easily or sometimes at all. I couldn’t believe how many times in the Old Testament that God rescues us (mankind) only to have us disregard His grace and mercy. And make the same mistakes over and over.  

It took the Israelites, the people God was trying to save from Egypt … well, really, the people He was trying to save from themselves …  anyhow, it took them 40 years to make it to the Promised Land, a trip that should have taken less than two weeks.  

Sounds ridiculous, right? 

It did to me too until I looked seriously at my relationship with God and my relationship with my family. Both of them took 40 plus years to get anywhere near sane and good and in the right order.   

If I had learned anything from history like the adages said to, I would have arrived at my “promised land” with a lot less trying hard and a lot more faith. 

A writer friend called it “wisdom of the rearview mirror.” 

Instead of doing what was hard for me, which meant doing my life God’s way, I tried hard to get my own way. I didn’t do the hard work of doing anything different. I gave in again and again to what was easiest and laziest and most familiar. 

The warning label that appears on some rearview mirrors offers wise advice about paying attention to what’s behind us – objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

The past is right here, ready to repeat all its bad parts at the first sign that we’re trying hard at the wrong things. Instead, we need to repeat parts of the past when we got our relationship with God right. After all, He is the only past-changer and happiness-arranger.

In This Together, 

FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.

I have something for you!


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