Last weekend I engaged in the thrilling task of getting rid of some of my stuff. I hauled a carload to Goodwill, but that was the easy part. It's not too difficult to let go of old furniture and such. The hard part came from going through my filing cabinet. In a folder simply marked "Personal," I unearthed things I definitely needed to keep -- my birth certificate, Selective Service registration card, all that fun stuff -- but I also threw away or shredded a large stack of other documents.
It turns out you don't really need your ACT scores at age 32 after you've finished a master's degree -- nor your A.P. test scores, ASVAB scores, outdated immunization records for which you have new copies . . . and yet it was still hard to get rid of them. They were a part of my history, telling who I am and who I once was (especially in the case of the old glasses prescriptions I excavated). I'm a documentation hoarder, and it's hard for me to let go of that kind of window into the past.
In The Tempest, Shakespeare writes, "What's past is prologue." It's over, done, finished. What came before got you where you are today, but it's not the story you're living now. Maybe your past, your prologue, still defines you; maybe no one will let you tell the next chapter because "you'll always be that person" from the past, or maybe you think you were better then and don't want to move on yourself. Fortunately God isn't like that. He makes us new creations in the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). He gives us new names (Revelation 2:17). Our past is forgiven, and our future is decided by what we do in the present, whether or not we choose to live for Him.
Whether your life is on chapter one or chapter 100, let go of the prologue. Let God love you for who you are right now.