You cannot return to the past. You must stay in the present. When someone talks about “the present” what are they referring to? Allow me a little word play.
To be present as opposed to absent. It means you are fully here. But present also means right now, in this moment. So to be present in the present means you are fully here at this very moment. Our culture moves so fast that sometimes you may feel like you have to run to just keep up with the present. You can’t even think about the future.
So if present means right now, then past means before right now. Sometimes we can get caught up in regret over our past. We know we can’t change things from a decade ago but we still may stew about it from time to time, saying things like, “I wish I had done things differently.” But according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the definition of “past” is “gone by; done; accomplished; ended.” So if the past is truly ended, then it’s untouchable. You can’t change something that is over. And it becomes heavy baggage to carry around with you when you can’t do anything with it. Freedom comes when you can leave the past in the past. And even if the past is full of good memories, you still can’t return to them.
So, yesterday is over. You can’t change even what you did yesterday. It’s over and done with. You CAN however, choose to do some things differently in the present. TODAY.
The future is what comes next. It isn’t some blurry scene in the distance. Tomorrow is the future. You can’t go there yet. All you can do is make wise decisions in the present that can affect the future.
So everything before this moment is the past. You can’t go back. And everything after this moment is the future. You can’t go there either. What you have is NOW. What are you going to do with it?
“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB)