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Moving on from past mistakes

Have you ever looked back over your life and wondered how it could have been different? Jen Baker’s new book, Unwavering, encourages us to reflect on the choices we make to move from making fear-based decisions to faith-based living. Premier’s Maria Rodrigues chatted with her about her own journey with this.

How have you dealt with looking back at decisions you’ve made in the past that in hindsight you feel were wrong?

I try not to spend a lot of time on that, to be honest. There are two extremes: you can go into denial, or you can just sit in it for the rest of your life, and so I have tried to acknowledge it and grieve it. I think you need to grieve, but then I make a definite decision to move forward and receive the grace and the forgiveness God’s given me. I then say: “Now Lord, where do we go from here?” Spiritually I get myself right and then practically outwork it into the next step.

I guess we can’t talk about assessing the choices we’ve made without dealing with the sense of disappointment or failure. Is that something you’ve had to do in your life?

Oh, goodness, yes, absolutely. I think disappointment is one of the biggest things that stops people from going forward because it can challenge how we see God. It can also challenge our image of ourselves. That’s why knowing your identity, your authority and who you are in Christ is vital. I’ve had to take disappointments and failures, and again, grieve, be honest, then ask the Lord, what he thinks of it and of me. I need to remove the lies of the enemy, and bring in the truth of the word of God. That takes time and is a choice. It’s not easy, but the enemy wants us to be defined by the disappointment. It can be a chapter of our lives, but it’s not the whole story.

If you’re reading a book and you get to a tough chapter, or the character is going through something tough, you don’t close the book, as it doesn’t stop there. There’s the rest of the story. But for many of us in our own lives, we tend to close the book right there. God’s saying, there’s another 355 pages of storyline. So let’s start writing again. Pick up that pen and ask the Lord what to write and just start writing that next page. Don’t worry about all the pages. Just begin to write and all the rest of the words will come.

Things that other people say to us can impacts our lives too, which reminds me of a story you tell in the book about when you went on a date with someone and the impact of the words they said afterwards. Would you share what happened?

It was a blind date, many years ago. It was early on in the online dating stuff and this guy came to the city that I was in and we spent some time together. I thought there could be potential. He got on the train to go back and phoned me soon after he left and I thought: “Oh, this is this is quite good.” He said: “I had a really great time.” I started thinking: “Oh, wow!” He followed it with: “I expected you to be great but never expected you to be amazing.” I started thinking: “Oh my gosh, this is really happening!” Then his next line was: “It made me realise I want to get back with my ex-girlfriend.” At that point, my heart just fell. He kept talking but I have no idea what he said. What the Lord said to me through was: “Jen, he had an authentic relationship with his girlfriend, he was just very afraid to make a commitment.” I responded by thinking: “If amazing can’t even get me a second date, I’m finally done.” What God said back has stayed with me: “Authenticity always trumps amazing.” I think in the world people try to go after amazing, but the Lord wants us to go after authentic. Let’s be authentically who he created us to be, knowing our identity, walking in our authority, and then we’ll be empowered to make those right choices and begin to write our story again.

Listen to the full interview here. Jen Baker is an author, speaker and pastor who has a deep love for the Bible, the presence of the Holy Spirit and the impact that faith can have in our world. She has authored seven books and has been involved in pastoral ministry for over 20 years, both in the US and the UK. Find out more about Unwavering here.

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