I recently watched a TV series where a group of people were given the chance to travel back in time and re-live a year of their lives.
As many of the characters had various regrets and wishes, most of them decided to take what seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance of a ‘do-over’. Though things initially appeared to be going well for them at the start of their one-year reset, as the storyline progressed it became apparent that there was a hidden cost to travelling back in time.
Like the characters in this show I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to have a do-over. There are plenty of times when I’ve wished that I could wind back the clock and change some of the decisions I’ve made in the past. From things as simple as wishing that I had asked for whipped cream on my hot chocolate, to wondering whether I made the right decision to move country, life is full of reset-worthy moments.
However, as tempting as it can be to agonise over the past and imagine myself going back in time armed with foreknowledge (and perhaps winning lottery numbers), I’ve learned that rather than a reset, what I actually need to do is to forget about it!
Now, when I say ‘forget’ I don’t mean to pretend that the past didn’t happen or to live in denial.
The kind of forgetfulness I’m referring to is similar to what is meant in Isaiah 43:18-19 where God speaking through the prophet exhorts the people saying:
18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
It is important for us to continually exercise this kind of forgetting so that we don’t fall into the trap of ‘what-if’, living in cycle of condemnation about the past.
Indeed, even if the past is a positive memory, the exhortation is still valid.
As we remain grateful for God’s goodness and favour in the past, exercising healthy forgetfulness helps us to be perceptive for what He is doing in the present and stay open and expectant for what He has prepared for us in the future.
As such, I want to encourage everyone to join me as I cultivate a habit of healthy forgetfulness. Whether you’ve had a year that you’d rather reset or one that’s gone according to plan, I believe that as we forget the former things our eyes and heart will be able to perceive what God is doing and our lives will have room to receive what he has in store.
Written by Nkumbu Mutambo (Hope City Newcastle) as part of the SHE IS Collective Blog Series