Friday, January 29, 2010

Chunking My Past - Literally

Chunking My Past – Literally

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12
As some of you may know, I started keeping a journal (see left) during my pre-teen years, shortly after my mother had a horrible car accident. Thank God, she is fine now, but I believe the Lord led me to writing as a means of dealing with that very tough time in my life. As years passed, I wrote about everything in those journals – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The boys I had crushes on, getting kicked out of Six Flags, how angry I was with my mother all the time, how I wanted to smoke cigarettes but couldn’t afford them. I can honestly say 1985 – 2000 was the best of times and the worst of times. Really, it was a hot mess.

In late 2000, my journals took on a different purpose. They began to chronicle my relationship with the Lord. From 2000 to today, the journals almost read like love letters.

On New Year’s Day of this year, while in prayer, I heard very clearly in my Spirit that I needed to destroy the pre-God journals. For the record, I already had a feeling those journals were an issue, but I couldn’t bring myself to destroy them.
So I stayed on my knees that Friday and tried to bargain with God. Can I just put them in storage? Can I give them away to somebody? What if my grandchild wants to read them? [Never mind the fact that I probably can’t even pay my own kids to read them.] What if I get famous – then can I just sell them on Ebay? Other people get to keep their journals – why I gotta throw mine away?

(Even as I write this, I’m thinking about when God told Saul to destroy the Amelakites, but Saul was not fully obedient and suffered for it.)

The Holy Spirit (Who always speaks the truth) began to remind me of how and when I return to the journals, and I had to admit: I only visited the journals when I wanted to re-live my teenage years. And that only happened when I was feeling bad about my life, mad at my husband, regretting things, remembering old boyfriends, laughing about [mostly sinful] things my friends and I did as teens and young adults, wishing I could do things over again. Basically regressing, spiritually. That’s why Michelle Stimpson needed to do throw them out.

The Holy Spirit assured me that those old journals had served their purposes and it was time for me to let go of the past now. All of my regrets were useless, and I needed to trust God with the total of my past as much as I trust Him with my present and my future. To top it all off, I heard with crystal clear clarity in my Spirit, “Those journals are nothing but a record of your sin and foolishness. I don’t even have a record of those things, why should you?”

Instantly, my mindset changed. The Word tells us that the Lord does not remember our sin any more (Hebrews 8:12). So if He doesn’t want to remember it, I don’t want to remember it, either.

I knew that it was okay to keep some of the pictures and certificates, so I started going through the journals to retrieve the things that were not counterproductive. As I went through the journals, it occurred to me that this journal was indeed exactly what God said it was – a bunch of sin and foolishness!
I mean, did I really need to hold on to a sheet of paper with my Junior High boyfriend’s name written on it 300 times diagonally in three different colors of ink? Or notes between high school friends about the fight in the cafeteria? Additionally, there was a bunch of anger against my parents for having many of the same rules I have for my own teenage kids. Pulleaze! Once I began to see the journals the way the Lord saw the journals, it was easy to get rid of them. God has a sense of humor, but He doesn’t think sin is funny or worth remembering fondly, and neither should I.

It occurred to me then that so many of us are trying to get rid of baggage we LOVE, and until we see it as God sees it, there’s no way we’re going to be able to tear ourselves away from it. If that’s where you are right now, tell God the truth. Let Him know that, right now, you don’t see things the way He sees things. We must all ask Him to give us a vision that lines up with His completely!


  1. Michelle,

    Just reading this article is evidence of God keeping me focused on "letting go" of stuff in 2010! "Stuff" includes negative thoughts and toxic people as well as things which clutter my life and my vision I have lockers full of journals and family scrapbooks. I've really got to go in prayer about these papers and pictures. "Letting Go"! Thanks for your characteristically at once both humorous and sobering conversation above.


  2. Great article Michelle. I remember "cleaning house" a few weeks before I got married. Then I thought that one day I might want to take a "walk down memory lane." And guess what? Never even think about them or miss them!

  3. wow, you inspired my to "clean house" in a similar way. I have been keeping old boyfriends' numbers in my phone. Even though I am not married, i know that these men are not Godly men and do not need to be at my fingertips. God has once again through you, Michelle, opened my eyes.

  4. This is truly a revelation for me Michelle.Lately I have been dwelling a lot on past realtionships and now I feel as if God has been gently urging me to release those thoughts because they are counterproductive spiritually.

  5. wow, ia mnot there yet, but this is definately true for me, there are relatives and scrapbooks i have been holding onto, old boyfriends and thoughts about them that God wants me to let go, it is not easy, wow but I guess i am learning to see things from His persceptive, sure took me long enough. thanks for this