Embrace Your Past Experiences -- Good and Bad


Don’t run away from your past! You can learn from your experiences -- even the bad ones.

“Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him.” (Deuteronomy 11:2, GNT)

You need to embrace the experiences of your life --  the good ones, the bad ones, the shameful ones, the happy ones, and the sad ones.

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 ignore, discount, or resent their past. They also revise their past and make up stories; they’re happier dealing with the lie than with the pain of the experience.

When you stop running from a painful past, God can use every experience in your life for good. Maybe your parents weren’t that great, maybe you weren’t that popular in school, maybe you weren’t the most successful at business -- so what? They are your experiences. Don’t deny them, own them.

Deuteronomy 11:2 says, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him” (GNT).

The best way to remember the lessons and experiences of your life is to keep a journal. This isn’t like keeping a diary. A diary is a record of what you did: “Today I went to the store and bought milk.”

A journal is different. You don’t necessarily write in a journal every day. But every time you learn an important lesson, you write it down so you won’t forget it: “That was painful. I learned this lesson the hard way, and I don’t want to forget it.”

There are many ways to keep a journal. One way is to use a notebook, where you write down the date and your prayer concerns on the left page. Then, on the right page, write down the life lessons you learn and what God says to you.  

Keeping a journal helps you remember what you’ve learned about God. That way, even in the dark times of your life, you’ll be encouraged and know that God is still working for your good.

Talk It Over

Why is it important to remember how God has shown you grace and provided for you in the past?

How can you remember and learn from the past without growing bitter or resentful?

Not everyone will journal in the same way. What are some creative ways -- besides paper and pen -- that you can keep a record of God’s lessons? 

Premium Resource: S.H.A.P.E. Study Kit

This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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