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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Dawn Johnson

The Ghost of Christmas Past!

Look Back With Love, Laughter and Intention!

It was midnight and my friends and I had done it again!! Crouched behind a ginormous bush, the three of us exchanged high fives and quiet giggles as we peered out onto the street in front of my home. A lady in a little SUV had stopped her car in the middle of the street and was walking all around it to examine her tires. We loved pranks! We were the queens of pranks! And we had succeeded yet again with tricking another gullible soul. VICTORY?... OH YEAH!!!! This rush of adrenaline and laughter is what we lived for!

As the woman drove off, we took out another black balloon from our evil stash and, when the coast was clear, we ran out and stuck it in the middle of the road. Then we waited in feverish excitement for our next victim to run over our balloon.

A few hours later, we felt a need to take our prank to a whole new level. We emptied out all the oxygen we had left in our little girl lungs and stuck twenty balloons across the entire road. This was going to be great fun to our premature minds! Then to our greatest horror, our next victim was non other than law enforcement itself! dun dun dun!

Our hearts nearly stopped as the police car approached our dreaded line up of terror. We did the most brave thing we could do.... ran inside my house, down the stairs screaming to my parents never to open the door ever again and hid in my brother's room. We peered out the basement window, quivering with fear. This for sure would land us right in the slammer! But to our great delight the police man looked around, picked up the balloons and left. We were saved!

With our great wisdom, we conferred among ourselves in a huddle. We decided right there and then it was most assuredly not good to be imprisoned at the tender age of ten.

Therefore, we gathered up all the balloons we had left and immediately set them up in the street again. This time in front of our neighbor's house! They were older and prison would not be as scary for them.

As you can see, pranks were a strong part of my childhood. And to be quite honest, to this day it baffles me how I became an upright citizen that feels guilty when jay walking. But where ever we are at right now in our lives, we all have past experiences we look back on with regret. We all have a past filled with ups and downs, big wins and big lows, untold pains and all too well known repeated mistakes.

Like the ghost of Christmas past, it is extremely important to look back with intention and with a time limit. Do not live there! Look back at fond memories with joy, but do not let it make you discontent with your today. Look back on your yesterdays with extreme kindness and without shame. Look back with the purpose of learning. But do not dwell there.

All too often we can lose ourselves in the past. We can rob ourselves of the present joy by dwelling on that past. We can slip into the harmful habitual ritual of telling ourselves these three types of thoughts:

1. My life would be so much better if I had/hadn't done ____. Or if this _____ did/didn't occur.

2. If I could go back to that time in my life where everything was so simple and fun, then I'd be happier.

3. Look at my failures and mistakes of the past. Nothing will ever change.

How do we fight off these negative thoughts? How do we get rid of this evil "ghost of Christmas Past wanna be"? How do we bring out The real Ghost of Christmas Past? Here are three thoughts to use to change your thinking and start living more in the present joy that is called today!...

1. Everything up to this point in my life was SUPPOSED to happen. I don't understand why, but it is part of something bigger than myself. And it is wonderful. No need to analyze and worry any more!

2. My life CAN be just as happy NOW! What is possible? How can I be the joy? be the fun? and choose to love my life in the present?

3. "Look backward, remembering that you proved your worthiness in your pre-mortal state. You are a valiant child of God, and with the Savior's help, you can triumph in the battles of this fallen world. You have done it before, and you can do it again.

Disappointment comes to visit on occasion but is never allowed to stay. The Apostle Paul said, “We are troubled … yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. You may be exhausted, but don’t ever give up."

- Neil L. Andersen

Lastly, no matter how many pranks, mistakes, failures or pains you regret and experienced in your life up to this point, don't give the evil ghost of the past any power over your future. Your past DOES NOT dictate your future. Start today. Live moment by beautiful moment. And when you fail, get back up again. That simple.

Look back at your past with a prayer, with the holy ghost and light of Christ as your main lens. You will find everything in place as it was meant to be. The path was never meant to be a perfect straight line back to our maker. Be OK with your own awesome swirvy path and set backs. They were all apart of your personal plan. Yes, even your mistakes were foreseen and calculated into the eternal equation. And ALL IS WELL my friend!

Look back with intention! And Your life can be one of heaven on earth!

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