K: You talk of putting the past on the shelf, and praying to God to take your memories of such away... but is that really what is best?
K, it's not that I pray for God to ERASE bad memories, but I pray to not be controlled by or to stay focused on them. To focus on them brings back chain-linked negative or hurtful memories. I pray for a different focus - on who I am in Christ, and in how in Him all things are possible. I have a Lord that can truly change circumstances, that has the power to protect and guide me. I'm not just at the mercy of random people, events or dumb luck. The devil wants you to focus on past hurt, insecurities (past and present), failures, things that make us angry. Yes, it is good to know, grow and learn from our pasts. But it is terrible to stay focused on them, or trapped in the present by things we cannot go back and change. So, perhaps it is more praying to not be controlled by memories or feelings, because the devil is the master at exploiting such things. I've found that when my focus is on myself too much, my bad memories can flood back. And dwelling upon one bad experience or some situation that made me very angry will typically lead to a chain of negative memories. That's when I sense the devil working me over.
Sometimes, we can look around and see other people whom don't seem to have had much trouble in life. Things and relationships with them appear to have been pretty easy. But what we fail to realize is that just about everyone has fractures in their reality, in that they've had many hurts and disappointments in their life - from people, circumstances, etc. Feelings, particularly, are often highly misleading. And we often remember the past - both good and bad - rather selectively and inaccurately. We just have to stay focused on Jesus, looking up and not around, knowing that He can even use our pasts, no matter how difficult, to our benefit and His glory. We are Who we are NOW, in Christ. And not who or where we once were.