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.

22 comments:

  1. oh wow. powerful words for something that has been weighing on my heart today. I think you might have just given me the courage to write about something that I've wanted to let go of too.

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  2. How painfully true, how heartbreaking and yet how insightful. Sometimes, just the mere thought of a breath is enough to cripple someone. The fears and the failures that we hide so deep within are the ones that typically we never allow to heal.
    The physical pains and hurts are the easy ones to deal with my friend. They tend to heal, mend and fade after time. Those that we shove, hide, cover, and almost erase in some fashion from our recollection are the ones that haunt us forever at times. Those are the ones that resurface like addictions, like a bad penny if you will.
    The "letting go" as you so beautifully have put it is a "Gift" that we should each give ourselves. Almost like forgiving ourselves of our own faults if we will. Sometimes our imperfections are what hold us back, sometimes it is that which we have no control over that we fear the most. We can only control our own actions and what we choose to do....challenge yourself to allow yourself to do just that....LET GO!!!
    Thinking of you and your family tonight wherever you may be. Hoping that life is treating you kind, and sending you positive thoughts and energy. Thank you for sharing, as always my friend....trying so very hard tonight to do just as you have suggested....to just breath and "let go!"

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  3. Yep! And then we can say I was thankful for x! It helped mold me into who I am today a stronger, more compassionate, caring person!!! If we allow God to make it so!

    A hidden bruise that we press ~ how TRUE is that!!!

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  4. This is so beautiful and powerful. Reminds me of my own current journey.

    And my word! How I adore the post picture with just a hint of the spider's web. Brilliant! Did you take the picture? It's fabulous!

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  5. The way you string your words together is so incredibly moving. This is such a beautiful post. It is such a powerful reminder to take stock of the chains binding me today. Thank you.

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  6. fits in with what i wrote about today :) love your words.

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  7. First Emily and now you. I'm listening, Lord.

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  8. you can't even know what God's been working in my heart. how i'm getting ready to pursue real healing instead of the bandaids i've been using most of my life.

    it's been a weight, yes. and a slow stream, too. it runs underneath but it taints everything.

    i'm so thankful for a gracious and loving Father who has gently led me to the place where i am ready to see how much i need to heal and move on. how much i haven't already done that.

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  9. this, my friend, is exactly the case for me this week. i'm writing this in tears because, YES! this describes my struggle so perfectly. time for me to give up the ghost and stop pressing on the bruise. I just really loved the way you put it. xoxo

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  10. This is good stuff! God definitely didn't intend us to carry our suitcases/baggage around with us, its slows us down for what he has planned for us.
    xxoo
    heather
    ps i enjoyed seeing you at the barn!

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  11. I enjoyed this post! Got a link to it from a friend who shared on Facebook. Letting go is very hard for each of us at many times in our lives. I think of the verse: "forgetting those things that are behind and continuing to run the race set before us!". When my brother attempted suicide for the 6th time the family counseling division at the hospital provided us a poem on Letting Go. I share the link here, as it may encourage someone else as it did me: http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com/2010/05/letting-go.html

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  12. about 7 years ago, i sat in my counselor's office trying to wade through all the pain and baggage i carried around for 15+ years. it was freeing and heartbreaking all at once. the thing i've learned is that it's a continual letting go. i wish it were just a "bye past, not going to think about you ever again" sort of thing. but it's not. i have to constantly choose to let go of the hurt. and you're so right... the pain has a God sent purpose. thank you for this encouragement.

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  13. It is likely bery appropriate that I read this on a Sunday when my heart was already raw.

    You do a good job of listening before you write.

    xxoo

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  14. Just wanted to say that I love this post. My Church has recently been hitting on Katie Souza's 'Glory Light' teachings - about how to find that redemption and healing through our anointing in Christ. Very cool.

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  15. I really needed this today. I actually made a noise when I read the line about the bruise--the one that no one sees, but we touch every now and again just to make sure it still exists, still hurts us. We are only prisoners to the past if we allow our pain to hold us captive. Beautiful stuff.

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  16. AMEN! This is fit for a book. (hint hint)

    There is a time for everything...letting go is one of them...and when the Lord leads this is a particularly growing time. Eyes open. Walk forward.

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  17. I'm reading this a little later, but this is exactly what I've been going through lately, well, for about a year. My struggle was with trying to forgive. It was so hard, until one of our pastors just spoke the words to "stop trying to forgive in our own minds and just ask Jesus to wash us and wash away the hurt and pain and memories". It was like a light bulb went off. I was able to do it and find a forgiveness in my heart for major hurts that I had never been able to get past in my own strength. And it's helping me to press on and move forward instead of just being stuck in this hamster wheel of frustration and hurt. Anywho, I'm thankful for your post and I'm thankful that the Lord's mercies are new every morning!
    -Shannon

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  18. Oh girl, this is exactly the stuff that has been on my heart. God has been doing some serious work as of late. My heart has been tethered to my past for much too long. My heart has been clouded with shame all while I've been trying to keep a smile on my face and perform my way to redemption. I wrote about it here - http://www.sixbrickshigh.com/2011/10/discovering-hope-day-11when-your.html

    I'm love, love, loving your series. You are hitting the nail on the head, the ball out of the park, whatever you wanna call it - you are doing it every-single-time!

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  19. Oh wow. It's crazy how this hit me today. I'm really struggling with a hurt that is so old and so deep and so difficult. I've been working with a great counselor on it but one of the things we've talked about is my fear that I will never be OVER it. This offered reassurance and hope. Thank you.

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  20. lovely, miss shannan... i'm enjoying your whole series! :)

    this touches on a subject, maybe a bruise, that i've chained to my spirit and i'm wondering if you might dive a little deeper and chat w us about letting go of friendships... or letting go of the bruise when the other has let go? it's time i got rid of this, and i'm not being successful on my own...

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  21. "keep us from being fully where we need to be today." thank you. i've been rechained for a couple of weeks to old hurts. they crept up on me, again. but they don't own me. they don't. i want to be fully here~where i need to be. i've been fully there for a couple of weeks. so long there. so long.

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