Embrace Your Past Experiences — Good and Bad
By Rick Warren
“Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him” (Deuteronomy 11:2a GNT).
You must embrace the experiences of your life — the good ones, the bad ones, the shameful ones, the right ones, the wrong ones, the happy ones, and the sad ones — and stop running from your past if you want God to use it for good in your life.
Galatians 3:4 says, “Were all your experiences wasted? I hope not!” (NCV).
Don’t run away from your past! Because of pain, many people deny their past, ignore their past, discount their past, regret their past, or resent their past. They revise their past and make up stories because they’re happier dealing with the lie than the pain of the past. But if you’re in denial, God can’t use your experience for good.
God can use every experience in your life for good, but you’ve got to stop running from those experiences. You have to embrace them. Maybe your parents weren’t that great, maybe you weren’t that hot in school, maybe you weren’t the football captain or the prom queen — so what? They’re your experiences. Own them.
Stop pushing the bad experiences out of your mind. You’ve got to remember them. Deuteronomy 11:2a says, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him” (GNT).
That verse is saying that the important thing is to remember the lessons. How do you do that? The best way to remember the lessons and experiences of your life is to keep a journal. I’m not talking about a diary. A diary is a list of what you did: “Today I went to the store and bought milk.” You don’t necessarily write in a journal every day. But every time you have an important lesson, you write it down so you won’t forget it: “That was painful. I learned that the hard way. I don’t want to forget that.”
To remember what you’ve learned about God, keep a journal. Then you can look back and remember what God taught you so you can be encouraged in the dark times of your life and know that God is still working for your good.
Talk It Over
What do you do to remember God’s faithfulness and answered prayer?
If you are “not a writer,” what are some ways you can keep a record of God’s lessons besides paper and pen?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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