I’ve heard that many years ago hunters would trap monkeys by filling a big barrel with bananas and then cutting a small hole in the side of it, just big enough for the monkey to get its hand and arm through. The monkey would stick his hand in the barrel and grab a fistful of bananas. As long as he was holding on to those bananas, he couldn’t get his hand out of the barrel. He could have just let the bananas go, taken his hand out of the barrel, and gone on his way. But because he was holding on to the bananas, he was trapped and couldn’t escape.
Too often we let the past trap us in a similar way. Unfair things happen. People hurt us, and we become offended. We experience loss. We make mistakes. We have a season of disappointment. The Bible says that trouble will come to us. But we can’t allow those negative things to define our life. We can’t hang on to them and let them become a trap we can’t get out of. We have to put our foot down and say, “No more. I’m letting go and moving forward with my life.”
The Scripture says God wants to give you beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), but you can’t receive the beauty if you don’t give God your ashes. Give God your hurts and pains, and then open up wide so that you can receive the beauty He has in store for you. Give Him your past. Let it go. It’s better in the hands of God. Don’t worry and fret. Don’t let a negative season of your life define your life. God doesn’t allow it to define you, and neither should you. He’s not thinking that way, and neither should you. He’s not saying, “Well, you messed up, so you’re never going to get the good things that I want you to have.”
God has great things in store for you. The apostle Paul says to think on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report” (Philippians 4:8). When you’re getting stressed out and discouraged, take inventory of what you’re thinking about. Are you thinking about good things? Pure things? Things that are praiseworthy? Can you think of the good things that God has done in your life and what He’s done in your family? This is how you’re going to invest in the great things God has in your future. Remember that where you’ve been is not as important as where you’re going. God has a bright future in store for you.