How to Develop a New Perspective on the Past: Moving From Victim to Victory

Do you wrestle with past guilt? Ever feel inadequate because of past hurts and failures? Maybe you live in the glory of days long past. Whether trauma or triumph, the past can chain your present and prevent your best future.

The perspective of a teacher, not master, student not slave.

The past is behind us and that is where it must stay. Do not be mastered by the past rather allow it to be your teacher. Our best lessons are learned through past experiences. As George Washington said, “We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.”

If we allow the past to be our master, we become a slave to it. The result is hopelessness. We lose the capacity to believe tomorrow can be better than today. We believe the lies we have been told which causes us to lose hope and view ourselves as a victim of circumstances. We may not see this as victimization but losing hope makes you a victim of your true enemy and father of lies, Satan. He seeks to devour and destroy. Believing his lies results in depression, isolation, and fear.

Lydia believed the lies: she wasn’t capable of anything other than having children. She suffered continued abuse but lived in fear of anything different. Then she learned of a new legal aid center at a church near her. Still not believing change was possible she walked through the doors of the church one Saturday morning. Everything changed. A team of loving people made her feel like she mattered. The attorney listened and supported her. Another woman prayed with her and spoke to her about a man who would never abuse her, loved her, and created her for a good purpose. Lydia accepted Jesus as her savior, got free from abuse, and had her hope restored.  

A 280 Billion Dollar Problem

Lydia is not alone in being overwhelmed by life. The United States spent 280 billion dollars on mental health in 2020 and as chronicled by the White House the problem is much larger. Mental health issues are complex, and access needs to be expanded. Stigmas over counseling are gradually disappearing. There is much we can do for ourselves and others to dispel the power of the past upon the present.

The first step forward is believing change is possible. Don’t allow past clouds to overshadow future dreams. Dreams are made possible by hope. Hope is not wishing in optimistic thinking but believing by faith that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Php. 4:13). Faith is not rooted in fantasy but in the firm belief that you can cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for you. He sees you, knows you, and loves you. He does not make mistakes and you are no mistake.

Moving from victim to victory

The prophet Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet. Most agree he wrote the book of Lamentations which is a series of deep cries during personal and national suffering. But the heart of Lamentations provides the key to moving from woes me to worship thee.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.” Lam. 3:22-23.

Victimhood is rooted in sin, victory is rooted in love. Suffering is caused by sin and its effects on the world. But we take heart because Jesus overcame the world (Jn 16:33). His death and resurrection provide victory over death, pain, and suffering. As the old hymn claimed there is “Victory in Jesus”.

The past is a helpful teacher, and you are her student.  She may give you homework to process with others. Whether that is a professional tutor or fellow students find help. I encourage you to go deeper by studying Persevering Power with a group of trusted friends. Develop a new perspective on your past and have faith and hope in tomorrow.   

Keep persevering.