Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed a steady stream of opportunities to buy a product that will bring instant success or purchase services that promise success if you follow a particular program – paid for in advance, of course. There is nothing wrong with selling for success. There is much to be valued about marketing convincingly, the philosophy behind it, and why it’s critical to our economy from the smallest business to the mega enterprise. I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing on a totally different plane though. How many times have you heard that we are products of our environment? We are who we are because of our families, the schools we attend, the neighborhoods we live in, and the friends we hang out with. Those are influencing factors, especially considering the amount of time immersed in any one of them. The way we act, and maybe even more importantly, the way we react becomes our brand. The more intimate we are with our brand, the deeper we settle into our comfort zone. And let’s face it; sometimes that comfort zone is really not all that comforting.
I’ve recently talked with friends who suffer through anxiety and others who are demoralized by depression. Because our friendships have been years in development listening and observing has given me insight into conditions that contribute to these pressing emotions. I’ve heard the analogy used before about our past being like recorded tapes that play over and over in memory, but they affect today. I understand that analogy and can see the detriment of allowing those tapes to cycle in endless repeat. It begins to feel hopeless. Is there a way to turn off those memories of the past so they don’t affect the future? Let’s try for one moment at a time.
I have to use the off switch frequently because I have tapes that switch on and play in my head too. At that moment, I remember that it’s up to me to reach up there and snap that setting to OFF and take captive a new thought about something positive. God does not want me to dwell on what might have been – if only …. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Jesus Christ does not want my energies to be wasted on negative thoughts of past event. In fact, remember these words of the Apostle Paul when he encouraged people to forget the past. Philippians 3:13-14 “One thing I do: 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.”
Does this mean our memories are completely gone? No, but it means for each negative thought that comes from the past, we can see things from a new perspective if we replace that thought with actions that will affect the present and the future. You see, the only thing we can do with the past is learn from it. The past is gone forever – so that thing that you can’t fix? It’s gone. It’s in the past. It’s history. Today, in this moment, choose a new thought. And make it a right thought. Every act was once a thought. Our minds are powerful tools. Nurture them with right thinking and they will become right doing.
Where to start? Here are a couple thoughts. Seek God and make him Lord of your thoughts, your actions, and your life. In this way rise above those circumstances brought on by negative thoughts from the past. Deuteronomy 4:28 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
It isn’t easy to empty your heart of all it’s fear and let go of things held so tightly in our grasp. It feels right to be in control and handle our own situations, but they just become more of a burden. God gets to decide anyway so why not turn it over to him right up front and let him take control. Trust isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.