by Gail Armatys, M.S.,
Life Purpose Coach/Facilitator
HeartSong Life Purpose Coaching Center
Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture [Click here]
I have a vision.
I realize this statement has a familiar ring to it and you may wonder if I didn’t misstate the quote spoken by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; ‘I have a dream’.
I do not pretend to utter such profound words or inspire and lead as the eminent Dr. King. But this I know, my vision and his dream do have the same desired outcome: FREEDOM.
Here is the vision: Women (you and I) living in freedom as we realize our significance, knowing God’s distinct purpose for our lives, and living with joy the song He has written on our hearts.
I define freedom using Webster’s words, ‘an absence of constraint of necessity, choice or coercion’. Freedom in the Hebrew language, deror, means flowing, free run, liberty (what beautiful images). Slavery, on the other hand, I identify as being chained to something, some thought or attitude, some circumstance, system or person that (voluntarily or forcefully) controls us and causes us to be less than we were meant to be. To be enslaved is to be stifled, shutdown, inhibited.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom, and broke away their chains.
There are women under severe oppression in this world and we do not forget their serious burdens and physical slavery. Yet, lack of freedom reaches into the most progressive communities in a variety of forms.
Women of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions struggle for meaning. Some feel confused; others lost, stuck, frustrated, insignificant, and afraid. Perhaps we see such a woman in the mirror each day. Some of us are young and heading to college or work trying to get ahead, others raising kids and managing a home (and perhaps a husband – kidding). We are transitioning into a new job – or maybe retirement, or perhaps there are among us the more mature who suddenly sense we don’t fit anywhere. We feel useless and alone.
Does this sound like more of a nightmare than a vision of hope? Unfortunately, it’s a reality that we women find ourselves in at various stages of our lives. How do we replace this nightmare and begin to step out – to know and live God’s plan?
As a Christian, there is one first step you must take. You must forget.
…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Biblically speaking, in order to move forward you must forget!
Paul is not talking about our short-term forgetfulness – which I accept as mine, thank you very much. He is stating here that we have hurts, pains, frustrations, and broken relationships in our past that require us to go deeper. They must be revisited, healed, discussed, and yes, forgotten.
Why must we forget? Because these things weigh us down. They keep us from the best hours, days, and lives God has planned for us. They stop us from moving forward. They cause us to focus on ourselves. They bind us – keep us chained. They affect our decisions. It’s in our ‘forgetting’ that our hearts open, barricades fall, freedom thrives, and our missions are fulfilled.
Let’s challenge the belief we can forgive but never forget. I ask you to reflect more deeply on Paul’s God-inspired words, ‘forgetting what is behind’. This does not mean we leave the lessons behind. Instead, we take what we’ve learned through our experiences about God, others, and ourselves and bring them forward with us. The rest we give to the past.
How do we do this? With prayer, thanksgiving, and action.
Father, I thank you for the experiences – good and bad – you’ve put in my life to bless me and draw me closer to you. I’ve learned plenty about forgiveness over the years but not so much about forgetting. Thank you for showing me that forgetting is the first step to making progress in my life. Reveal to me Lord, what I need to forgive and what I need to forget. Then, help me make good and holy choices for I desire to walk in your freedom. Praise you, Lord, for what you are accomplishing in my life as the chains that have held me captive to wrong thinking and uninspired living begin to break and fall away. In the power of Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
- Once you make the choice to forgive and forget, tell your heart about your decision(s). Here are a few questions that might help you get started.
- Whose name or face comes to your mind that causes you stress, anger, pain? Forgive, then forget.
- What past experience can you let go of today in order to step into a place of forward momentum? Forgive, then forget.
- Is there an unloving or stubborn attitude you have that keeps you from relationship with others, stops you from engaging in positive contributions, or inspires fear? Forgive, then forget.
- What words do you say to yourself, about yourself and others? Are they positive? Forgiving? Inspiring? Forgive, then forget.
2. Accept that you can, in the name of Jesus, forgive and forget. He did.
3. Take the step. Forgive and forget.
4. Live in freedom.
See the vision? You, living in freedom.
Listen to your HeartSong
Break Every Chain, by Jesus Culture [Click here]
Live the Song Written on Your Heart.