By Juwana Jackson
To prepare is to make something ready for use or consideration. Each day we prepare for something. Benjamin Franklin admonished, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Where and how preparation takes place is unique to the person and his or her circumstances. For an expectant mother, preparation might take place at a lamaze class. For an athlete it could take place on a practice field. And for a student, maybe it takes place in a classroom. But one thing is common among all of us; our past has prepared us for today. It has prepared us to fail or succeed, which one depends on us!
Think of your past as part of your training ground. Now, consider what you have learned while in training.
1. What important lessons have you learned about yourself? Often overlooked, introspection is the most important act a person can perform. It involves taking an honest look at oneself. Introspection is not intended to make you feel guilty nor to cause you to blame others. It is a self examination process intended to help identify your tendencies and the background explanations for them. During the process, you might ask yourself, what is my view on relationships, finances, child-rearing and self-worth and how have my past experiences shaped my view. Once you answer these questions, you can decide if it is time to adjust your views.
2. How has your past prepared you for this period in your life? The way you interpret your past determines your perspective. In other words, the way you define your experiences defines your mindset. I am not suggesting you deny that you had a difficult past, if you did. But I am suggesting that you do not allow a difficult past to define your present. Recognize every lesson your past has taught you and commit to grow from it. We are happiest when we maintain a positive outlook despite the trials. Reflect on how you most often define your childhood? Adolescence? Adulthood? Truthfully considering your responses, how prepared are you to receive what you are praying for?
3. What is it time for you to finally accept? During the preparation process, we are positioned to purge our lives of revealed and hidden lies. One of the biggest lies we have to address is the belief that we cannot be forgiven of our past mistakes. Who among us has never had poor judgment? Although you should acknowledge it, you should not allow it to haunt you. The second lie frequently believed is the idea that we can change another person. The truth is we do not have the authority to change anyone other than ourselves. Thus, attempting to change another person is futile and frustrating. Such pressure can quickly destroy our relationships. Decide today to accept the things (and people) you cannot change.
As you continue through your unique preparation process, occasionally look back to your past for clarity, but do not stay there. You’re future needs you!