Where Am I Headed?

It’s not about where we came from. It’s about where we are going. 

Maybe you come from a bad childhood. Your parents were hostile, maybe abusive. You were possibly neglected.

For everyone that lets their past dictate their life, you can also find those who overcame. 

Tracy McMillan, who has written episodes for Mad Men, Life on Mars, and other television shows, grew up with a drug dealing pimp named Freddie for a father. Freddie, a convicted felon, spent most of Tracy’s childhood behind bars. And her mom was really no better. She was a prostitute who gave Tracy away. But Tracy made something of herself despite the circumstances. 

In an article on CNN.com, 7 tips for moving past a rotten childhood, Tracy McMillan wrote:

“There are two ways for me to look at my childhood story. In one, I'm a person who is so unloved and unwanted, my own mother gave me away.
In the other, I was born, took a look around at my prostitute mother and criminal father, and said to myself, "I can totally do better than this. Get your stuff, we're leaving." In one I'm a victim, in the other, I'm in power.
Guess which viewpoint got me the career I have today?”

Most of us have bad events in our past. Some like to pretend that their past is the worst past imaginable. And for one person, that is right. Their past is worse than everyone else's. For the rest of us, we can recognize that we are not alone.

Our bad events may not be from our childhood, but they’re still there. We can’t ignore them. From time to time, the memories and emotions creep their ugly cesspool-laden heads out and try to destroy us. The memories are used in an attempt to get us to focus on the pain and mistakes of the past rather than the plan and calling God has place on our lives. 

But God has a plan for you, and he has a plan for me.

It’s not about where we came from. It’s about where we are going.

The past is useful in that it instructs us if we allow it to. It shows us how we arrived where we are at. If we allow ourselves to look at our past without prejudice, we will then discover the mistakes we made that have distracted us from where we are supposed to be. Mistakes we should learn to not repeat. We will also see the great things that freed us from sin, depression, and/or hopelessness. Great things we should turn into regular practices in our life. It is only through what we have learned in the past and the Holy Spirit’s guidance that we know how to live in the now. 

So where are you headed? Are you headed backward? Or are you headed into the beautiful landscape God designed you for?

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)