Letting Go of the Past

Blog - Letting go of the past
Picture of J Nicole Williamson
J Nicole Williamson


The Father is calling us to look up, come up, and move forward into the radiant destiny He has for us. To move forward involves letting go of the past so we can move fully forward into His plans and purposes for us. To move forward there are some things that we need to let go of if we want to achieve what we truly desire as a child of God.

It’s hard to move forward when we are looking backward – whether at something painful that happened, or even to a time when everything was perhaps better than what we feel we may be experiencing now. Both of these can keep us stuck and not seeing the future – not having a bright vision of what lies ahead. But God wants us to see our destiny and move forward towards it. 

 Isaiah 43:18-19 (CSB) says, “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

In this scripture, God says He is making a way for us out of our wilderness; and sending His rain to water every dry area of our lives so that we begin to bloom and come alive again in the abundance He desires for us – alive with dreams becoming reality, fresh hope, and healthy connections and relationships. It’s coming now – don’t you see it?

God is also saying that while He has His part in helping us thrive, we also have our part in this change, too. We must stop looking at what was and look forward.

In other words, it’s time to stop going around in circles and ruminating on things that happened yesterday, or on the way things were before. We are to actively receive what God has for us and look forward with hope and vision to blooming with new life.

To succeed in the purposes of God for our lives, we must practice having vision. Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, yet hope for tomorrow.” Even in the difficulties of a past season, there are things we can learn that will strengthen us as we move forward. The truth is, in life we go from season to season. Seasons change. New seasons have new activities, new goals, new connections, even a fresh identity. Spring doesn’t look like winter and fall doesn’t look like summer. But in each season there is a cycle of seed and harvest continually moving forward. 

The enemy of your soul wants to stop the growth of God’s seed in you by keeping you stuck in past pain, destructive cycles, or even longing for another time. There are two stories in the Bible that come to mind of those who couldn’t seem to let go of the past. One was Lot’s wife when God came to destroy Sodom. God told them to flee the city and don’t look back. Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Why did she look back? Perhaps grieving the loss of good things – the friends, the home, and a productive community life … but now it was all gone. Destroyed. What would her tomorrow be? They took nothing with them, so they would have to start all over again. And where? How? With nothing!

The second story that comes to mind is when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, after having been miraculously delivered from slavery. Even seeing God’s great power and constant miracle provision, just knowing there were giants in the land where they were going, caused them to prefer going back to Egypt. Sometimes familiar bondage is harder to let go of than actually believing for something new that you have to go to war for – even when God promises victory! In fact, Isaiah 43:18-19 mentioned above was a word from God to Israel that no matter what losses they may have experienced, God always had a bright future and plans for good for His children. That’s His promise in Jeremiah 29:11. 

Author John Maxwell says, One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.” 

To move forward, we start by letting go of negative habits and / or habitual thoughts that hinder forward movement.  Here are some tips to help you on your journey:

  • Let go of the past but remember the lessons you learned. Holding on to the past is actually letting it hold on to you. The reality is that the past has already let go of you, knowing it can’t keep you as yesterday turns to today, and today turns to tomorrow. It has let go of you, now you need to let go of it. Instead, do as Paul said – reaching forward to apprehend what Christ has apprehended you for. 
  • Sometimes we think that holding on is perseverance or strength, but sometimes it’s the letting go that makes us strong. 
  • To move forward, you must learn to say good-bye to yesterday’s hurts, tragedies and baggage. This is not to disavow what happened, but a choice not to stay there and to find the help you need from His presence to break free of its hold. It’s why I’m a proponent of inner healing and spiritual Freedom. If you want to know more about these you can go to my website and click on personal ministry. We minister onsite here in Allen, TX, but also via Zoom.
  • We must let go of: excuses, fears, past failures, disappointments, self-doubt, others words and opinions – don’t let these be your master. If you erred in some area of life or character, get up! Don’t stay there beating yourself. Throw away that stick because its the devil’s stick, not God’s. Let it go. Let go of unforgiveness and bitterness – towards God, others, AND yourself.


Columnist Ann Landers once said, “Hanging on to resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”


  • Let go of relationships that tear you down or take you down a wrong path. Some people are part of your yesterday but are not meant to be a part of your tomorrow / destiny.


What do you need to let go of?

To move forward you’ll also need to create new habits that create good change.

Industrialist John Paul Getty once said, “The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might and force of habit. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him – and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.”

The truth is, we are what we repeatedly do. Match your habits with who God made you to be and His purposes for your life.

What habits are you cultivating that are building who God made you to be?

  • Success is not an accident.
  • Believe in who God made you to be as His son or daughter. 


One of those new habits includes changing the way you talk. Dare to see a brilliant future and declare it! Change your talk to match your path forward with faith. Write decrees and release God’s power for breakthrough over areas of needed change. 

Here is an example decree – one you can repeat over your life: I decree I am overcoming every obstacle as I let all fear, self-doubt, and people’s negative opinions go, and dare to believe my heavenly Father regarding the life He has given me – one given to release His Kingdom on earth. I decree that today I am moving forward with hope, confidence and fresh courage, as my King goes before me to make a way where there seems to be no way. I decree new connections are coming and obstacles now moving out of my way as I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  

Remember, your life is more than just about you. In Isaiah 61, the Lord says He heals the broken hearted and sets the captive free. But it doesn’t stop there – those He restores He also calls to join Him in restoring others as builders of ruined and waste places.

You are important to Jesus because He loves you, but He also has called  you to join Him in His labor to cover the earth with His glory. Don’t let the enemy hold you in the past, you have a brilliant today and tomorrow to live.

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