“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 3:13b-14 (NIV)
I love this verse. It’s one of my life verses. God so often speaks to me through it. And today is no different.
Today, He speaks about forgetting.
Forgetting the past. Forgetting what is behind.
I don’t think God means for us to totally forget. At least, I don’t think He wants us to forget in the sense of losing the lesson. Our mistakes, after all, always hold potent lessons for us … and I think God wants us to remember and to learn the lessons our past can teach us. But He does want us to let them go. To bury them in the sea of His mercy. To let Jesus wash them away, as far as the east is from the west.
Competitive athletes learn to do this well. Competitive athletes learn to let go of mistakes so that they can focus on the present. Competitive athletes cannot perform well in the current play, for example, while still beating themselves up for the error they made in the prior play. They have to learn quickly how to let it go — yet learning from it — and move onto the next play.
Or so I’m told. Not being a competitive athlete myself, I am told that’s how it is. Personally, I have learned this lesson at a much later stage in life, and I’ve learned it best through yoga. Learning to be present and stay present in the current posture; letting go of the prior posture (whether I did it well or poorly) and staying present in the current one. Whether proud or regretful of the past, I am learning to let it go. And to stay present with God in today’s moments.
So may we learn to forget as a competitive athlete. Holding onto the lessons, releasing the rest into the sea of God’s mercy. Washed away by the blood of Jesus. And pressing on toward what God has called us to do and to be.