Let Bygones Be Bygones

Something Has to Change: Episode 16

Meggan Stephens

3/27/20247 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Starting Over

Starting over becomes a desire for almost everyone at some point in their life. Some have more regrets than others, yet each of us can recall a situation or time in our lives that we would like to have handled differently. Off the top of my head, I can think of several songs that reference this specific topic of starting over, as I'm sure you can as well. One song in particular comes to mind, Dragging These Roots by JellyRoll. The lyrics "dragging these roots like a bag of bones, I guess where I'm from won't let me go," becomes relatable to many who may feel as though they can't shake their past, no matter how hard they try.

It may seem as though every time you try to gain a fresh start, your past finds you. Whether it's at a new school, job, church, or gathering of any sort, the horrific pains and regrets of yesterday somehow meet you face to face. Some may even feel as though they're desperately running from who they once were in great efforts to arrive at a place of emotional recovery, a better version of themselves. Often times, resetting your life can seem impossible. However, Stephen introduces a spiritual concept of being "born again."

Born Again

To be born again is a concept that stems from a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in the third chapter of John. It is the understanding that God desires to take you to a new place, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. This is first illustrated in Genesis 12:11-12 when God instructs Abraham to leave his home and enter into a foreign land. The plans God had for Abraham's life could not be fulfilled in the place where he had originally resided. The same is true for you. If you're looking for a restart, it is important to come away from where you have always been, as well as the some of the people you've always known. Now is the time to enter a new, foreign place where greater things are awaiting you.

This may seem scary, as the unknown typically is, yet we can learn a great deal from Abraham, who was seventy-five when God called him to leave his family and country. The scriptures don't tell us Abraham's initial reaction to God's instruction, but imagining this being asked of me, it's likely I would feel a bit unsettled at first. What we do see in the text is Abraham's faith to walk in the direction God led him. In order to truly be born again, to reset your life, you must have faith that where God is leading you is going to be better than from where you came.

How to Reset Your Life

In order to reset your life, you must come to a place of emotional recovery, a place of healing rather than constantly trying to escape your problems and pain. The issue with attempting to escape rather than recover is that escaping never offers a solution. Attempts to escape the pains of the past typically lead to depression, numbness, substance abuse, or self-harm, among other unhealthy coping mechanisms. The whole point of God moving you to a new place is to allow you the opportunity to leave your old self, your old lifestyle where it belongs, in the past.

3 Things to Remember

Stephen suggests to remember three simple things when trying to reset your life. The first is to never share your past when starting a new friendship. This point is so crucial, he reiterates it several times. The reason being is that first impressions matter whether we like to admit it or not. It's not only your physical appearance that is immediately noticed, but the information you share in the first few conversations. To begin a new friendship with contaminated memories of horrific events, you set the friendship up for failure. The new face becomes a remembrance of your old pain, leaving the conversations that follow primarily to the topic of your backstory.

This leads us to the second point, avoid people who are interested in your backstory. Because we tend to overly share information too soon, we scare people out of our lives. It's important to keep your backstory to yourself until the friendship has grown organically and proved to hold long-term qualities. There's nothing worse than spilling your whole life's story to someone you just met only to feel ashamed and embarrassed immediately afterward. Even worse than overly sharing, that person in turn takes your story and shares it with others. Now you become "that person who did so and so" to people you've never met. Protect yourself in this way by keeping your past in the past. Not everyone is meant to know what you've been through.

The third point to remember is sharing new experiences builds bonding relationships. Often times, we try to bond with new people by sharing our past, hoping to connect through similar traumas. Connecting over what you've been through can be dangerous in the sense that now the person you barely know has intimate information that can be used against you. Build new relationships on new experiences that have nothing to do with your past. Allow people the opportunity to come to know you for who you are today, and not who you were yesterday.

Stephen uses multiple scripture references in backing up these points such as Proverbs 10:19, 16:27, 17:9, 18:6-7, 20:19, and Ecclesiastes 1:18. Each of these references expresses the importance of being slow to speak, forgiveness and strengthening of relationships, and the dangers of gossip and knowing too much. Maybe you're not at a point in life where you're trying to reset but are instead trying to help someone else to reset. In doing so, don't be the person who pries for information that hasn't been voluntarily entrusted to you. Learn to be trustworthy with the information that has, and don't hinder the growth in those around you by continuing to bring up who they used to be.

Leave the Past in the Past

Once your past has been made known, people will continue to see you through that lens. I've seen this statement to be very true in my own life. Especially in long-term relationships. These are the few people who go through life with you, those who have experienced the ups and downs alongside of you. They become the relationships that have seen the darkest side of you and unfortunately hold those memories of your past self in their mind.

For me personally, I have done a lot of abominable things in my youth, things I'd probably take to my grave before willfully admitting to someone else. We've all made mortifying mistakes that we'd like to leave behind us. Sadly, these mistakes can become topics of jokes and laughter rather than being buried with the old version of yourself. The beauty of being born again is that your past no longer defines you, and even long-term relationships can be transformed. By carefully administering the three points Stephen suggested, a reset in life and relationships can be manifested.

Manifesting Your Dreams

Manifestation is always current, never futuristic. Stephen references Mark 11:24 in solidifying this statement, emphasizing Jesus' words "believe that you have received it." This directly relates to the point made in Episode 9: You are only worthy of whatever you can believe. Manifesting your dreams begins in the moment with your belief that your dream is achievable. Chasing dreams and dreaming dreams are two very different concepts. Whatever dream, or nightmare, you're meditating on will manifest in your life, whether it is an act of faith, or lack thereof. After all, you create your own reality through the choices you make in your daily walk.

Power of Choice

From the very first episode of Something Has to Change, Stephen has made it exceedingly clear that your choices determine your change, and your choice is yours alone. The difference in us and the rest of creation is that God has given man the choice to do as he wills in any situation. In doing so, He gave us a great power and responsibility in our own lives. Often times, one may feel as though they have no choice in a matter, when in fact, every decision you've made thus far has been made based on what you chose in that moment, whether it was leading towards life or death. The power is in your hands to choose the direction your life will go, and though God honors your choice no matter the direction you choose, He lovingly encourages you to choose life.

3 Practices to Develop

Episode 16 closes with three practices to implement on your journey to achieving change and resetting your life. The first is to tend to your own practices. Focus on you. Don't become so concerned with what God is doing in someone else's life that you neglect to see how God is working in your own life.

The second is to practice reversing negative thoughts. Sometimes, we think so negatively so often that we fail to realize our mind has been meditating on the wrong perspective. Stephen suggests to write down the negative thoughts, counter it with a positive thought, and then cross out the negative thought. This spoke to me on a deeper level. As a teenager, I wrote very depressing poetry often. My mom would find it and be astounded by my writing, wanting me to share it with others. However, these weren't poems I wanted to share but rather a way for me to get the negativity out of my mind. Eventually, I began to put my feelings on paper an immediately throw it away in an attempt to physically get rid of the mental anguish I felt at the time. Oddly enough, this practice did help me to feel better rather than continuing to get lost in my thoughts.

The third practice to develop is learning to not kill the messenger. It's important to have people in your life who will remind you of a positive word in your times of need. It's even more important to allow that person to speak into your situation without snapping back. Let those who love you encourage you, let them remind you of the message and choose to receive it. Use your power of choice to heed wisdom and step into joy.

Something Has to Change

Each week, there is "something" that must change. I typically share what my "something" is. However, this week, I encourage you to find the one thing, or several things, you'd like to focus on from this episode in order to gain another step towards your ultimate growth goal. We must continually remember that we haven't arrived, and there is always room for improvement. With each new day is a new opportunity to learn, to grow, and to leave the past in the past. Choose to let bygones be bygones and manifest your dreams today.

Contemporary Speaks is continually proving itself to be just that, contemporary, addressing the real life issues of its audience at the appropriate time. Through each episode, the in-studio audience has expressed astonishment to the relevance of biblical solutions offered to their current situations. The host, Stephen, helps us out in more ways than one in Episode 16 of Something Has to Change. He opens the podcast with a topic that often plagues the minds of countless people: how to reset your life.

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