Move On

Something Has to Change: Episode 12

Meggan Stephens

2/21/20245 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Looking Back

With each new day of life, we instinctively wake up to the memories of our yesterdays. It seems ironic when you reflect on the concept of beginning a new day with thoughts of the past. Recalling who you are and what you've done upon entering the conscious world is essential. Otherwise, you'd have amnesia. However, greeting the morning with the hurt of yesterday's heart becomes a trap. To continuously bring up past experiences that cannot be changed enslaves you to your past, leaving you walking in depression and anxiety rather than embracing the gift of a fresh start.

We tend to look back the most when the road ahead becomes too difficult. This is best seen with the Israelites as they're being led from Egypt by Moses into the Promised Land. During their journey through the wilderness, they experienced numerous difficulties such as food and water scarcity as well as unfamiliar environmental challenges. They poisoned their own minds with complaining, longing for the days of slavery they had escaped from. Ultimately, they did not realize that where they were going was better for them than where they had been. Had the Israelites remembered the severities of slavery and bondage, perhaps they wouldn't have been so eager to return to it.

The same concept is to be applied to our own lives today. Why did you quit smoking, drinking, over-indulging, etc.? The reason for abandoning any practice must be because it is unhealthy for you mentally, spiritually, and physically. We have to come to recognize the damage we are causing to ourselves, the poisoning of our own minds, through what we think, say, and do. There must be a clear understanding that the days ahead without these practices will be challenging initially, but overall beneficial to your future self. Remember why you left your Egypt. Otherwise, you will seek opportunities to return.

Move On

The Israelites not only withstood physical hardships, they also experienced the loss of the man whom God had chosen to lead them, Moses. We see Joshua heavily affected by the death of Moses, some would even say he was in denial. In Joshua 1, God speaks to Joshua directly and challenges him to be strong and courageous as he rises to take leadership of the people of Israel. Essentially, God made it very clear that Moses was dead, but Joshua was not, and he still had a divine role to fulfill in his lifetime.

Although God instructed Joshua to get up and move on, it does not discount God's love for Moses. We so easily take ownership of people, looking at God as if he has taken someone from us when in reality, the ones that we have lost did not belong to us. It's foolish to think our love for any one person could outweigh the love God has for His own creation. God loved Moses dearly, speaking with him face to face, giving him the commandments. Yet, Moses' chapter was over, and Joshua's was just beginning. Had Joshua allowed the death of Moses to cripple him, he would have never made it to the place God was calling him to be, nor would the people he was called to lead.

Be Present

Similarly to Joshua, I am occasionally awakened with the remembrance of my mother's passing. The thought of "your mother is dead" comes on so strongly that if I don't dismiss it quickly enough, it will set the wrong tone for the day ahead. If I allow myself to become engulfed by that grief, I become stuck, unable to be productive, paralyzed with pain so much so that it becomes nearly impossible to be present in the moment.

The debilitating pain of loss has been experienced by each of us in one way or another. Whether it be a loss of a parent or a chid, loss of wealth, home, friendship, or marriage, loss is an inevitable part of life. But what happens when you allow loss to hinder you from what is ahead? What happens when you've experienced more loss than you think you can endure? Focusing on who or what you no longer have will keep you from appreciating the things you do have. God desires for us to be present in the moment. He says in Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the things that happened in the past. Do not keep on thinking about them. I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen even now. Don’t you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land."

Despite the sorrow you may be experiencing, whether from some form of loss, or internal struggles, God is making a way for you. Right now, in this moment, your life can go in a different direction if you choose to let go of yesterday's heartache. After all, King David reminds us in Psalm 118:24, today has been given by God, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.

End Negative Thoughts

Changing your ways has everything to do with how you think. Our minds are always meditating on something. If you've found yourself in a pit of despair, it's likely due to consistent negative thoughts stemming from the core of your belief system. You have an established thought process settled within your subconscious mind more-so than your conscious mind. You are so engulfed in your pattern of thinking that you will have to jump walls in order to think differently. It's going to take a conscious effort to think about what you're thinking about.

So how do you end the negative thoughts? It's not going to happen just by saying the right things. As Stephen said, you can make your mouth say anything. Even Jesus says in Matthew 15:8 that people honor Him with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. The problem is that we have difficulty backing up our words with our actions. We must impact the subconscious. This is best done through meditation, affirmations, and visualization. We must take what we say consciously and allow it to settle in the subconscious mind through deep self-reflection, reprogramming the core of who we are.


Often times, we allow the opinions of others to keep us from moving forward. The host uses King David as a prime example. During a time when everyone wanted to kill him, King David had to encourage himself. You may find yourself feeling similarly. It's likely no one is out to kill you, but maybe you feel torn down by the words and judgmental looks of those watching from the sidelines. Regardless of if anyone else believes in you, you have to believe in yourself. Stephen reminds us that God favors those who choose to move forward despite past mistakes, negative thoughts, and opinions of those in opposition of our success.

Something Has to Change

The "something" that has to change is where we place our focus. The reality is that our life will always go in the direction of our thoughts. If we continually place our focus on the past, we will never arrive to a better future. Looking back will always lead you to go back; back to depression, back to anxiety, back to death. The dangers of looking back are so severe that Jesus left us with the warning to remember Lot's wife. What is behind you is not more precious than what is before you. The chapter of yesterday is over. Confidently move on to the next chapter of your life, knowing that you're competent to succeed because God has not abandoned or forsaken you.

Contemporary Speaks has quickly become the go-to podcast for those seeking guidance and applicable tools for developing stability in mental health. In this week's episode of Something Has to Change, the host, Stephen, addresses one of the main hindrances of spiritual and emotional growth, dwelling on the past. If ruminating on past events is a cycle you can't seem to break free from, this episode is for you.

Three Takeaways:
  1. Don't look back.

  2. Looking back always cancels out moving forward.

  3. Looking back paralyzes you.

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Watch the full episode