Admitted to by Marilou Schnaderbeck
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.” Isaiah 43:18&19
I have dry skin and it’s most evident on my hands. Although I usually have lotion close at-hand (no pun intended), a lot of time my cuticles crack. Unfortunately over the years I’ve developed a habit of picking at my cuticles and pulling the skin off. I do it mostly without thinking about it. The effects are unsightly. I usually have bandages on the most raw or bleeding fingers, scabs or cuts on the others, and because I have done this for years, this habit has actually disfigured my thumb nails as I’ve damaged my nail beds. Looking at them just disgusts me. I’ve made concerted efforts to stop and for periods of time I have! It was very difficult to stop because I have to remain conscious of my nails as my tendency is to pick without being aware of it. When I do stop for a long enough period of time, my cuticles heal and my thumb nails actually start to grow out smoothly. However, when I stop being purposeful in ‘not picking my fingers’ I fall back into that ugly habit and my nails became a mess once again.
For me, this habit is a physical example of something else I do. I ‘pick’ at the events of my past. And just like my finger-picking habit, I start doing it without realizing it until I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy of frustration, hurt, bitterness, and/or shame. I rewind and review and rethink and re-live and re-evaluate and regret and rehearse the sins, hurts, conversations, arguments, misunderstanding, disappointments, judgments, decisions, and losses of the past…and I have a lot of material to choose from. I pick and pick and pick until I ‘bleed’. Then once I recognize what I’m doing, I condemn myself for being so weak-minded and for failing once again. But guess what I’m doing the next minute…rewinding and playing it all again. It’s a form of bondage that keeps me from healing and becoming all God purposed me to be.
Similar to my other habit, the times that I have experienced victory in this area is when I’m conscious about all thoughts coming to my mind and then purposeful in not thinking about the events from the past. That’s putting into practice the scripture “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5) It’s a challenge and when I get weary I often recite Phil 3:13 “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” Not only does this give me hope for the future, instead of fixating on the past, but it immediately gives me something else to fill my mind that is healthy and beneficial.
Although I write this knowing what I need to do to be victorious, knowing God is my Savior and my Strength, and having an action plan for these spiritual battles, I fail…often. And although it’s frustrating and discouraging, I start again because I know I will not move forward if I give up and I don’t want to be stuck where I am.
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:8
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13