August 22, 2017

When You Struggle with Living in the Past

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 22, 2017

By Shana Schutte

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7-8

For many people, living in the past is their biggest challenge. They idealize days gone by and wish for something that was, believing that if they could just go back life would be better than today.

But God reminds us in Ecclesiastes 7:10. . .

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”

It is not wise because looking back in regret chokes the life out of your days, which are finite. Once each minute clicks past on the clock, it is gone forever, never to be recovered. It’s not wise because it steals your joy. It’s not wise because it hinders your service to Christ. And it’s not wise because it’s not the truth. Every moment of every day is a mixture of good and bad, blessings and things that wound.

But what is true, is that God is working in the present. As some say, he is the God “I Am” not “I Was.” He is always moving forward in new work and blessing us in the moments we have right now.

One afternoon many years ago, I sat quietly in my favorite chair talking to the Lord. In my mind’s eye, I saw two fields, one was dried up and filled with broken sticks and scorched plants. Nothing was flourishing there and I was standing at the far end of it, holding broken sticks and dead plants in my hands. I was grieved that nothing was growing in the field, and I wished that there was still life in it. 

I noticed that there was a flourishing field right next to the one where I stood and Jesus was there. He motioned for me to come to Him. Suddenly, I understood what I needed to do. I ran straight into His arms. He smiled at me lovingly and asked, “What took you so long?” Right then, I knew I had spent years looking over my shoulder in regret, wishing that today was yesterday. I had been believing that the former days were better than these.

In that moment, I understood His message to me. “You’ve been standing in that field from the past for way too long, trying to get life from it, grieving over what it was, holding dead sticks in your hands. But I’m not working in that field anymore. That’s long gone. I’m working here now. This field is your life today. In the present. This field is thriving!”

Are you looking back, believing that the former days were better than these? Are you standing in a field of regret, a field of loss, a field where life once was? Are you wishing God would resurrect something He was doing in your life before but is now dead? Join Him in His new work. Join him in the present! That’s where He wants to bless you.

What are you waiting for?

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).



Lord, thank you that you are always working in my life to bless me. Help me to trust you and not to live in regret or unbelief. Amen.


If you know there is something from the past that you need to release and trust the Lord with, talk with Him about it and tell Him you want to live fully in the present.

Related Reading

Psalm 56:3; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Psalm 37:3

Post/Tweet today

Our former days do not have to be our best days, we can trust the Lord that the best is yet to be! #WisdomHunters #livinginthepast

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  1. John Doubledee says:

    I needed to see / read this today. I’ve been dealing with this subject the past few months. It’s mostly family and past life related. Satan has used guilt and “what-ifs” to try to bring me down over it. Thanks for this article. God bless.

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for letting us know Shana’s devotional “When You Struggle With Living in the Past” touched your heart. Isn’t it amazing when our Heavenly Father knows we need to read the words at just the right time? His perfect Timing… He never ceases to amaze me! I hope you are in the “healing stage” of your struggle with the past and I am so thankful that you know the Great Comforter.
    John, we will be praying for your protection from the guilt and “what-ifs” the evil one brings to you.
    We are grateful for you, John, and look forward to hearing from you again.
    May God bless you,
    “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
    Ephesians 6:14-16

  3. Johnson says:

    i remember how I grew up without parents how can I not remember all these I did not see my parents I grew in the children and I still struggle to know my relatives help me.Kenyan

  4. Gwynne says:

    Dear Fellow wisdom hunter,
    Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. By your comments, I can only imagine this devotional, “When You Struggle with Living in the Past” was a tender and bittersweet one to read. Sometimes, I think God puts the words in front of us in His perfect Timing, for us to see and feel His Loving Presence as we read the words. I hope that was the case for you. While we may not have our earthly parents, I rejoice in the fact we know our Heavenly Father. And what a Loving Father He is!!!
    We are so thankful that you are a fellow wisdom hunter and look forward to hearing from you again sometime.
    Giving God all the glory!!
    “You are doing the things your father does. We are not illegitimate children, they protested, The only Father we have is God himself.”
    John 8:41

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