Updated: Oct 31, 2018
Imagine there are two objects in space. Each object creates a certain amount of gravity. If you were placed directly between the two objects and given enough time; the larger object would pull you to its surface.
One object is filled with sorrow and despair. Once stranded on its surface, most people live a life of repetitive misery awaiting their death and some even commit suicide to end their sorrow. The other object is filled with new experiences, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment. On this object we find shining cities, an absence of pain, and examples of people helping people. Love overflows the boarders of its land masses and spills into the crystal blue sea. Here, on this object, there is life and a sense of purpose.
As you await your fate. You notice that some of your fellow travelers are going toward the object of light while others are going to the object of darkness. You also notice that those traveling to the dark object seem to be struggling, yet with each movement their speed toward the object only increases. For those approaching the object of light, there movements seem to become almost frictionless as their speed increases.
Fear begins to well up inside of you. From the pit of your stomach you feel a tug. You are being pulled toward the dark object. Panic starts to set in and your speed increases. You start to fixate on the dark object and your speed increases even more. Yet, you are not resigned to your fate. You know there is a way back to the object of light. You must find it before it is too late.
Make no mistake, these two objects are not fictional and you are really caught between them. The dark object is the past and the light object is the future. The past, while familiar, is dead. It holds lessons already learned and roads already traveled. The object of light is the future. It is powered by vision and holds unlimited possibilities. If you are not drawn to a vision of a future then you are pulled into the decay of the past. "Where there is no vision, [you] perish" (Proverbs 29:18).
Focus and familiarity will increases the gravitational pull of either of the two objects. Many of us have a lot of deep, dark, crap in our past. Memories of past experiences still hang heavy in our minds. One approach is to unpack and overcome the past. However, I believe where focus goes energy flows and we don't want our limited energy flowing into the past. Attempts to understand the past only creates additional gravity that the vision of the future must then overcome.
For most, the future is a stranger and has very little gravity. If we want our futures to look different from our pasts, we must get to know our futures better. We must understand it the way God does. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11). We must be active partners in the realization of His plan. But because the past is the only thing we know, this is difficult. The gravity of what we know keeps us stuck in a cycle of decay.
The process of escaping the past and getting to know your future can be accomplished with a few simple processes. Some of these steps only need to be completed once and others may need to be revisited regularly.
Start with the Perfect Day:
Getting to know your future starts by discovering what you want. The fist step is a deceptively simple exercise in which you imagine your perfect day. Imagine that this is a day you will live over and over into eternity. Most start by imagining a cold Corona and a beach. But, a life void of meaningful purpose and progress toward a goal is a special kind of hell.
To guide you in this exercise, here are a few rules to keep in mind: 1) The perfect day includes progress toward a goal whose achievement is worth a lifetime. 2) Your perfect day should not include common stressors (a long commute for example). 3) Your perfect day should include social time with family/friends. 4) Include details: Who is there? What can you see? What does it smell like? What are the various emotions you experience throughout the day? 5) Write but do not type this day... find an old fashion pen an paper (don't ask why, but it matters). 6) Review and revise the document over the corse of a few months. 7) Remember the more effort, time, and detail you put into this exercise... the more gravity you create.
Build a Vision Board:
Don't worry this is going to be fun. It will be a bit like going back to kindergarten. You goal is to create something worthy of hanging on your wall. You will need a canvas about 14 inches high and 14 inches wide, some glue, scissors, access to the internet and a printer.
Once you have your supplies, familiarize your self with the guidelines in Rules For Dreaming. Find images on the internet that represent the things you want to achieve. These images MUST create a emotional reaction in you. Glue each image to your board. Try to fill up your entire board. Do NOT focus on "reality" or "how". God will take care of that.
Completing a meaningful vision board will take time. Expect to spend a few weeks pulling it all together. Don't be surprised if things that seemed meaningful are replaced with even more meaningful items. Allow God to speak to you in this process. Focus on goals, events, people and things that create an emotional response. Remember emotions create gravity!
Define a Daily Practice:
Your core operating system is running on flesh computer. Reprograming this computer will take some time. It only learns through repetition. When not attended to or left on auto pilot, it will revert to its old programming. But remember, you are not your actions or your thoughts. You are spiritual being experiencing your actions and thoughts. Reprogramming can he accelerated by creating a daily practice that includes the items below. Once created... treat it like oxygen. Understand that you need this practice to to stay off the dark object. Helping others means attending to your essential needs.
1) Guided Meditation - This is not new age crap... this is the process of learning to separate the real you from your emotions and thoughts. I recommend the Headspace app.
2) Prayer - Focus on Gratitude. Thank God for all that he has done and will do in your life. Thank him for your vision board and how he is working to make it ALL come to pass. Ask for his guidance. Repeat the verses listed in this post. Get a good daily verse book/app... and pray on what you find there.
3) Exercise - You don't have to join a gym. You can run. Do jumping jacks. Do pushups... or subscribe to the Beach Body app available on Amazon Fire Stick and many smart TVs and start with "Insanity"... it will kick your butt.
The above items represent the triad of Mind, Body, and Spirt. Attending to these things daily will transfer energy from your past onto your future. As you keep promises to yourself, your confidence will increase and with it your speed toward the object of light.
Starve your past:
You have a past. As you lean into the future, it will come around. It will attempt to remind you of your past failures. You must avoid feeding these thoughts any more energy than they deserve. Remember energy = gravity. Memorize the following scripture: "anyone [who] is in Christ, [s]he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Be bold as you begin to embrace your future. "“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:18-19)
When you stumble:
There is a Devil and while he has only a few tricks - they are good ones! He will tell you that you are alone in your weakness. But this is a lie. Paul, a disciple of Jesus and author of a huge chunk of the New Testament, experienced the same struggle. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me." (Romans 7:15-17). Here again, do not give the Devil or your mistakes any energy. Acknowledge it happened, do not punish yourself, remember that your mistake did not surprise or let down God. He knew you before you were born. When he granted you your salvation - he knew about this mistake and all the ones to come. Your focus should remain on the future and make a good faith effort to "go and sin no more" (John 8:11).