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Miranda Writes: Cluttered Key Chain?




by Omar Miranda



I was sitting in the chiropractor’s office today, awaiting my turn to be what I like to call “snap, crackle, popped!” As I sat there, I began to examine my key chain. Every week I examine something different. One week the ceiling tiles, another week the floorboards . . . I’ve been told by many people that life with me is crazy, fast-paced, and exciting.

I spent 30 minutes examining all the stuff that I had on my key chain. I didn’t realize it, but half the keys I’ve been carrying around for years I no longer need. Armed with this new information, I did what any sensible person would do: I immediately took them off my key chain . . . for a total of five minutes.

Immediately I had a feeling of intense, illogical anxiety about this action. As I sat there, I began frantically to make all kinds of excuses about why I couldn’t get rid of these keys . . . on and on went the lame excuses.

Truth be told, within five minutes those same keys I had scrutinized and examined were back on my key chain. Why? Simply because I wasn’t ready to let go of what they represented in my past. Bottom line: all these keys represented how I perceived myself—good or bad. I wanted to hold on to them because I was comfortable with the way they made me feel about me. Whether it was healthy or unhealthy, I had been carrying these keys for a long time, and they were now part of me.

I’m happy to tell you that at that point God decided to enter the conversation. He quickly let me know that I was being ridiculous and was anxious about nothing. He reminded me who I was in Him and told me, Omar, let the keys go! In the end I found the nearest trash can, and now those extra keys live there. I can’t describe the incredible joy and peace that I received by obeying God and letting go of something that was holding me down and keeping me from being all that I could be for God.

This incident made me think deeply about the things that we decide to hold on to in our lives. Things—both good and bad—that we think are too important to give to God, when all the while they’re causing us untold stress, anxiety, or pride. Stuff that we’ve been holding on to that mattered to us, or made us feel good about ourselves at some point in our past, but now, in the light of a relationship with Jesus, is absolutely useless and worthless. (See Philippians 3:1-11.)

How do we just let go of all the stuff from our past? Some of it is small, some of it is big, but all of it weighs us down and holds us back. Simply put, we change our focus from ourselves to Jesus. The apostle Paul shows us how. He writes, “I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven” (Philippians 3:12-14, CEV).*

I know there are only three verses there, but like last Christmas’s fruitcake, they’re dense! Let’s unpack what he’s saying and see how we can apply it to our lives. Just a reminder: Paul was a psycho! Before he became Paul, he was Saul. His résumé read: “Super-Jew! A Perfect Pharisee! In charge of hunting down Christians, torturing, imprisoning, and killing them.” That was his identity. It was who he was, what he did, and he was good at it. So if you think you’ve got a painful past that causes you emotional pain, guilt, hurt, and shame, Paul’s got you beat.

The first part of the process is to be honest about our level of spiritual maturity (verse 12). Paul recognizes that although he’s better than he used to be, he’s not yet where he needs to be. Second, Paul recognizes that it’s God who has initiated this positive change in him (verse 12). Third, he’s persistent and active. Look at the words that he uses in the second part of verse 12: “running and struggling.” Then in verse 13 and the first part of verse 14 he clarifies the process of running and struggling even more by stating that he has to actively “forget what is behind, and . . . struggle for what is ahead. . . . Run toward the goal.” This means that he has to daily reprogram his mind and his thoughts on Jesus and what’s truly important. Last, he completes this process by always keeping the goal in front of him. What’s the “goal” and “prize” that he mentions three times in these verses? Well, in verse 14 he tells us it’s heaven. Paul understands that as long as we’re on this earth we’ll be constantly struggling to be all that we can be.

Stay on that road and I promise that one day you, like Paul, will be able to say that you have finished the race, kept the faith, and are ready to see God (see 2 Timothy 4:6-8). Until that time, keep asking yourself, “What’s on my key chain?” Good or bad, big or small, if it gets in the way, then, by God’s power, let it go. Keep focusing on Jesus, and keep moving forward.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omiranda@rhpa.org; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, editor, Insight Magazine

* Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is the editor/director of Insight Ministries and a Christian counselor and with more than 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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