Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of the Past

Sometimes the things we need to let go of are tangible, easy. They're money or farmhouses or jobs. When it's a thing, we can simply open our hands and watch it fall. We can pound a sign into the dirt, hand in our letter of resignation. And even when it's not that simple, when the choice was never ours, we can choose to walk away in joy and expectation.

But what are we to do when the thing is not a thing at all? How do you let go of a memory? An old hurt? A dream that never came true? Those are the things that keep us tied to our chairs. They tether us to the past, keep us from being fully where we need to be today.

We carry the aches and failures around for so long that we forget they aren't really a part of us. We forget that we can choose to let go. We slide into the belief that these feelings define us in some way, and we begin to live as though that lie is the truth. We wear the bruise not on our sleeve where others can see it, but we press our fingers to it every now and then and nod just a little to our self - yes, it's still there.

We strap the loss across our heart. We chain the mistake to our mind because it's what we deserve. We feel the weight. Sometimes, we feel it for so long that we forget to feel. It's simply the way it has always been, the way it must be, we think. This kind of weight keeps us immobile at worst, trudging at best. It handcuffs us to the lie that we aren't worthy of a grand story.

Of course this pain has a purpose. It is in the sore places, in the haunts, that God makes himself known to us. It is here that he shows us redemption and healing. He lets us see up close that he's the only one who will never fail us. He dusts us clean and says again that it's time to get moving.

We can carry the wisdom like a penny in our shoe, a reminder of how far we've come. But the hurt and the sin and the bitterness were never meant to take up residence on the inside. There's work to be done and beauty to be noticed.

Yank out that nail, loosen the strap, break the chain. Let go.

God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
Ecclesiastes 5:20

*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.