The new year is here, 2023 is for some the time to move forward in life, especially for those who the last three years have been very difficult for them for a variety of reasons, including due to lose of loved ones or financial security, fear, medical concerns, or conflict in relationships. In a sermon I just heard from our pastor at the beginning of the month, he talked about the idea of not getting stuck in our past that we are tied to it, quoting most of Deuteronomy 8, though I’ll share the key point for this article.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day… But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today… If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.Deuteronomy 8:2, 11, 18-19 (NIV)
While the text does reference that we need to not forget the blessing, power, and majesty of God, we also need to put it at the forefront of what we do today. In this context, Moses commands the Israelites who were in the wilderness for 40 years to not forget that they were in the wilderness specifically because they did not trust and put their faith in God after He did miracles and blessings for His kingdom. This is not a call to lament the time lost because the rest of the Scripture we didn’t cite is all about living life according to God’s will which means we need to remember the past but not let us be stuck in it.
Clinically, we would have a lot of coping skills to be able to use this for our clients, including grounding. For counselors, the term grounding may very quickly take your mind to the Dialectic Behavioral Therapy technique that utilizes mindfulness. The idea is we find ourselves stuck to our past misery and failures, pouring shame and guilt on ourselves, or trying to predict the future, anxious about what is to come, instead of being in the moment. Grounding technique helps you reinforce that “in the moment”-ness through your five senses. Here’s a video to help explain the clinical technique:
Grounding With Scripture and Prayer
Grounding Yourself in Scripture and Prayer is different than the de facto Grounding Exercise shared above in that you are putting God’s breathed Word in your life daily and talking with Him. This goes beyond an art piece of Jeremiah 29:11 or Joshua 24:15 or having the Serenity Prayer hung on your fridge, though these are excellent, daily reminders.
Instead, we need to take time to sit in Scripture and prayer to listen to what God has for us. Sometimes it is a quiet stillness that we need before a chaotic day or a strong push of devotions and prayer reminders for those who are hurting. Other times, it is a complete worship experience of confession with tears and sorrowful petitioning of repentance for what we have done or felt. Many times, it is simply being present within God’s presence and being fully aware of who God is for ourselves, our service in His holy family, and renewing our calling that He has put before us.
This takes intentional time to read Scripture, talk with your pastor or discipler, give more than a brief moment of prayer that is practiced, and reaching for the quiet to hear what God has for us instead of only giving Him, our Creator, Lord, King, and Comforter, the briefest of moments in our day.
Go, connect with Him in ways that you are able to hear and truly be present. Let the past be a reminder, but not a chain, to what has happened and what God has done so that you may be present today to fulfill His will.