Victoria Osteen - Investing In Your Future
Listen, I want to remind us to spend our time investing in our future. Don't invest in the past. Investing in the past is when you relive your hurts, your pains, your disappointments. See, it's easy to focus on who hurt you, what didn't work out, what mistake you've made, but you know what that is? It's a big waste of time and energy. We can't do anything about what happened in our past. It's done, it's over with, it's finished, but we can do something about today, and when you begin to focus on what you can change and not what you can't change, that is a good investment in the future.
You know, we weren't designed to carry around a lot of unnecessary negative baggage, and sometimes we fill our bags with bitterness, resentment, heartache, but can I tell you that you've gotta get up every day and let that stuff go? Forgive the people who offended you, release them, forgive yourself. You see, when you are weighed down with all of this junk, it's hard to see where you're going. It's hard to even be ready to get there.
One time Joel and i, we had scheduled back-to-back work trips. We really don't ever do this, but this just happened to be an instance that we did this. We had come home from a week out, and we came back in, and we only had, like, two hours to be at home, and then we'd have to turn around, head back to the airport. Well, on the way home, all I could think about was those dirty clothes in my suitcase. There was a week's worth of dirty clothes in my suitcase. When I got home, I dumped all those dirty clothes, and I began to refresh my suitcase.
Something amazing happened. Where I was tired and anxious on my way home, just thinking about all that in my suitcase, I became refreshed, and you know what? I was prepared to go on my next trip because I had exchanged that dirty clothes with fresh new clothes, and do you know, a lot of times, we get so weighed down with this emotional baggage of clutter that's full of pain and heartache that we lose our passion and excitement for living? In fact, we're not even prepared where God wants us to go. We're just too weighed down and anxious.
Can I tell you that you need to refresh your emotional baggage every single day? You need to learn to travel light, because I can tell you this: where you're going is far more important than where you've been, but you can't be weighed down from the past. You know, too often people don't even enjoy what they're doing today. They can't enjoy the opportunities that they're living in today because they're too focused on yesterday.
There was a woman who had been divorced for a couple of years, and one day she met this man, and he was a very nice man. He seemed to be very happy. He was successful. He went to church. She was excited about the possibilities, but she made a mistake. When she went into that relationship, she began to constantly talk about her hurts and pains of the past. She would describe why she acted certain ways or why she said certain things. It was because she was so hurt by her first husband.
You know, after a while, that man told one of her friends, he said, "You know, she's so focused on what happened to her, she can't move forward. We're not making any kind of connection here, and I really don't feel like the relationship is right". So, he decided that he was just going to quit seeing her. Because she made the mistake of living in the past, she failed at an opportunity that she had for her future. See, when you carry negative baggage into your relationships, you can ruin many relationships. See, we've got to decide that it's time to let it go. It's time to put it in the past. To shut the door to it.
One time, Joel and I were going to this, like, highly secure government building, and so there was two sets of double doors. So we stood in front of the first set of doors and it opened up, and we began to walk past those doors to go through the second set, but we noticed the second set would not open until the first set closed, and do you know, in life, you're not going to be able to walk through open doors until you close the doors that are behind you? When you're holding on to bitterness, the mistakes you've made, it'll get you stuck. It's like a trap you can't get out of.
Years ago, that the way hunters used to trap monkeys was they would take a big barrel and they would fill it full of bananas, and at the end of that barrel, they would cut a very small hole, just big enough for the monkey to get its hand and arm through. Now, the monkey, unaware that this was a trap, would stick his hand in there and grab a fistful of bananas. But the problem was, as long as he was holding on to those bananas, he couldn't get his hand out of the barrel. You see, he could have just simply let the bananas go, taken his hand out of the barrel, and gone on his way. But see, because he was holding on to the barrel, he was trapped, and he couldn't get away.
See, we can't let yesterday trap us. We cannot be trapped in the past when God has a bright future. Unfair things happen to all of us. We experience loss. We all make mistakes. People hurt us. We become offended, but we have to make a decision that we're not going to invest in those things. You see, we'll have negative seasons. The Bible says that trouble will come. We will have seasons of disappointment, seasons that we don't always care for, but we can't allow that season to define our life. We can't wear the labels of that season. You see, we've got to put our foot down and say, "No more".
"God wants to give you beauty for ashes", the scripture says, but you cannot receive the beauty if you don't give God your ashes. The best way is to give God your hurts, your pains, and then open up wide so that you can receive the beauty that he has in store for you. The scripture says this: "Think on these things, things that are good, things that are pure, things that are trustworthy, of a good report". See, these are the things we are supposed to set our mind on. When we set our mind on the good things that God has for us, when we begin to set our mind on what God says about us, when we begin to count our blessings, that is investing in our future. That is the best investment that we can make.
I want to say it one more time: let it go. Just let it go. If there's anything holding you back today, it's too high of a price to pay. Let it go, because God's got bigger and greater things in your future, and where you're going is way more important than where you've been, amen? I just want to take an opportunity right now for every one of us to let go of ashes, to release them to God. You know, we can hear a sermon and we can say we're going to do it, but I just want to take this time right now because how important it is for us to just give God these hurts and pains, to release them so we can receive our bright future. So, right now, just through your eyes of faith, let's just pray.
Father, I thank you right now. We've heard this message. We know it to be true, God. We've experienced this phenomenon of living in our past and how it holds us back, and, Father, we don't want that anymore. We want to close the door to our past so, Father, you can open the door to fresh new opportunity. God, you said that your mercies are fresh and new every single day. So, Father, we want to pick up those fresh, new mercies. We want to unload that emotional baggage, those things that didn't work out, and, God, we want to refresh our mental aspect and our mental life. Father, we want to know that you are for us and not against us. So, we declare right now, Father, as we let go of the ashes, we are receiving your beauty. Thank you, Father, for good opportunity. Thank you for great families, wonderful relationships. Thank you, Father, that everything we put our hand to will prosper and succeed because, God, we've got a fresh new mental attitude. Thank you, Father, that you're blessing far exceeds anything we've ever done in the past. Thank you for everything that you're doing and everything that you're going to do, in Jesus's name, amen.