Soul Food

Is Your Past Holding You Back?

Tabitha looking down sidewalk

I like to think of you as my friend. I mean, I know that we don’t “know” each other, but when I write, I like to imagine that you and I are sitting in a cute coffee shop, drinking our vanilla lattes and exchanging stories, advice, and hope. And even though we have never “met,” I also like to think we are a lot alike. You and me. We both have worries, fears, hopes, and dreams. But you know what else I like to think we both have? We both have those things from our past that weigh us down and sometimes hold us back. They might even cause us to lose sleep. Make us sick with anxiety. Or cause us to feel unworthy. Maybe even a little gross. But as your friend, can I ask you to do something? Can I ask you to let “it” go? Because it’s time. It’s time you no longer hold onto it, allowing“it” to steal from you any longer.

Because I know it’s stealing your joy. Stealing your happiness. Stealing your peace. And even your hope for better days. It’s even stealing the person you used to be…and the person you want to become. I know, because like I said, we all have an “it.”  Including me. This is why I also know how it hangs over your head; like an invisible dark cloud. Just when you think you have forgotten about it, or maybe moved on, it sneaks back into your thoughts and then punches you in the gut.

You could be going about your daily routine of folding laundry, washing dishes, or driving to work, and all of a sudden, “it” begins to play in your head like a movie reel and all of the thoughts of how you should have said this or done that, begin to surface. You tell yourself that if only you had realized what was happening when it was happening, then you could have changed it. You could have done something. And if you had, then “it” wouldn’t be following you around and tormenting you right now. It wouldn’t be causing you so much anxiety. It wouldn’t be making you feel this way. Or cause you to have these awful breakdowns. It wouldn’t have changed your relationships. Or “it” wouldn’t have changed you…

So, as you play the movie reel, you begin to think about how you would give anything to go back and change everything if you could. But you can’t. So instead, you take ownership of what happened, and you hold on to “it.” You let the sorrow, the shame, the guilt, the rejection, the bitterness, the anger, or the self-hatred take root in your heart, and as it grows, “it” begins to set the course for your future. “It” negatively shapes who you are as a wife, a friend, a sister, a co-worker, and a daughter. It also keeps you from being hopeful or dreaming. It might even take root and cause you to have a sickness.

But you know what? That sorrow? That guilt? That shame? That bitterness? That anger? That self-hatred? That rejection? That heavyweight you carry around on your shoulders every day? Or around your ankles like a pair of ankle weights? You don’t have to let it weigh you down any longer. You don’t have to keep holding on to it.

You can release it.

You can let it go. 

The past is in the past, and no matter how much you want to change it, you can’t. No matter how much you desperately want to rewrite the story and choose a different script with a different outcome, it’s not possible. You can’t take back what was said. You can’t undo what was done. You can’t make that person think differently about you or change their perspective about the situation. You can’t go back and say no. Or yes. Or stop. Oh, how I wish you could. But you know what you can do? I have learned that while you can’t go back, you can move forward. Because your past doesn’t define you, it doesn’t have the right to follow you around and swallow you up like a grave each time you think about it. It doesn’t have the authority to rob you of your hopes and dreams or cause you to believe the lie that you are unworthy.

So friend, the one I imagine myself sitting across from at the local coffee shop, sipping on vanilla lattes and listening to my heartfelt words, when the movie reel of when “it” happened starts to play in your mind again and the thoughts of “if only” creep up, choose to step out and not be the star of that scene. Choose to no longer hold on to “it” or let “it” hold on to you because “it” is not worth it. But letting go is. I believe that the minute we finally decide to let go of the burden and the weight from our past circumstances, past regrets, or past failures, then nothing can keep us down. Nothing can hold us back. And friend, when nothing is tugging or pulling on you anymore, you can freely move forward with more hope and energy into the abundant life that you were ultimately meant to live. 

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

With Love

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22 thoughts on “Is Your Past Holding You Back?”

  1. It seems that we are both thinking along the same lines today, given that my post today was also all about letting go! Sending you love as you work to let your “it” go.

  2. Such beautiful words, Elisha. I could so relate to all you said. The worst and hardest parts of doing this and leaving it all behind is when it involves those who God has already called home, and when we know in our hearts that there is nothing we can EVER do to make the situation better. Those kinds of regrets and that level of remorse can eat a person alive, if they allow it. I loved the last sentence the most, along with those wonderful words of Jesus. God help us all to step into the abundant life He wants to give to each of us and just turn loose of the past and the things we can never change. Thank you for sharing your heart, sweet friend. 🙂

  3. I used to let things get to me and fester in my mind for months and years. Thankfully, I’m not really sure when, I learned that it’s best to just let things go and move on. I do firmly believe in “everything happens for a reason”, though I didn’t used to. I used to be upset or sad, wonder why I had things happen to me, but then I realized that those things brought me to where I am today. I’m thankful for all the hard times I went through, because without them I still wouldn’t know how to stand up for myself and for things that are right. So whatever you’re holding on to friend, accept it for what it was, and know that it made you who you are, and leave it behind. 🙂

  4. Letting “it” go is SO hard…part of me doesn’t want to. But I agree with you, some things need to be left in the past so that we can move forward to something even better and more beautiful than we imagine. The past can have such a powerful hold on us sometimes, and there’s nothing that can be done to change it. Acceptance comes first, and then release.

    1. Yes it is so hard. For my “it”, I totally want to let it go! It was something that happened to me in my childhood and I kept trying to bury it or forget about it, but until you let it go…it’s still there. Hugs to you sugars and I hope that you can let it go and move forward too 🙂 xo

  5. It’s really hard to let go, but then it’s so good when you manage to. Just feel so much lighter and healthier. Ideally we should keep the lessons learnt but let go of whatever holds us back.. xx

    1. I think so too. My “let go” is something from childhood. I thought I had dealt with it, but discovered I had stuffed it instead :/. Not good.

  6. Amen! I’m so thankful to be a part of church that has ministries to deal with our pasts!! To get FREEDOM from it!!! To restore what has been lost and to be able to move forward! So good

    1. We have one too called Sozo. That’s how i discovered I had an “it” but didn’t know that “it” was bothering me. I had stuffed it :/

    1. Hey girl! Thanks so much for stopping by! I am so glad this ministered to you today! I’m loving your blog by the way 🙂

  7. It’s not only letting go of the past that is hard, the hardest part for me has been letting go of the “outcome” of my plans, of what I want so desperately, so that God/the Devine Goddess can have room to create. When we fill our time and energy with all of “trying to conceive”, and not letting go of the outcome, then the energy is for the trying and not for the creation. Letting go is the key; but it has to be with our hearts, minds, souls, spirit and body all combined for God to hear that we are ready. Great Blog post, very inspiring

    1. What a wonderful and thought out comment Renee! Thank you so much for sharing and being so inspiring as well.

  8. soo good elisa! its incredible how freeing it can be and i loved realising that moment where i realised that my past doesn’t stop me or control my here, now and future anymore. i am forgiven! It was an awesome moment!

    1. Amen girl! Sometimes the things done to us from others in our past or things we might have done ourselves can wreck havoc on our souls. But how amazing it is tat with God, He can restore and He can heal and He can deliver! xo

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