Recently my daughter, Kelly, moved to Houston, TX to begin a new chapter in her career with the company that she has worked with for years. This past weekend, I flew to Texas to help her get settled into her new home. My girls and I have an understanding that when they move, I will do my very best to help them unpack and decorate their new living space. I like new beginnings especially when it comes to opportunities for my girls.
Starting a new adventure is not always comfortable for many people. It can be scary and not at all practical given their jobs, family, friends and community obligations. I understand that completely but for me there is something so freeing about stepping into change. The same can be said for letting go of any burdens that hold us captive or keep us in the past unable to move forward. Life experiences such as divorce, drug and alcohol addictions, co-dependency, and domestic violence can keep us living with feelings of unworthiness, self -loathing and wrestling with a spirit that doesn’t make room for forgiveness. However, I have found a promise in the biblical text of 2 Cor. 5:17-19, which celebrates a new start:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.”
In the past, I have asked God to forgive me but I was unwilling to accept that I could be forgiven. The scripture states the God reconciles us to him and our old lives are erased and gone. If I continue to carry the same insecurities that have helped to define my past, then my future will not change. We all know the meaning of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over expecting new results. Through God’s power of reconciliation we can hope for a new start.
I think about it like this. I love to watch birds and how they soar in the jet stream and have often wished that I could fly with them with my wings opened wide and glide as they do. What a view! They are free of restrictions. However, if the tinniest weights were added to their wings they would not be able to fly. They would make every effort but would not be successful. If the weights were removed, they could once again soar freely. It seems to me to be the same with our spirits. If our spirits are loaded down with the weight of past hurts and brokenness they cannot fly either. We can’t get off the ground because we are so loaded down with the hurt. When God wipes our slates clean by forgiving our brokenness, and we believe and accept this gift, then our spirit is no longer loaded down with extra weight and we can soar to new heights.
Sometimes that is very hard to do. Going back to old behavior is comfortable and it is something we know. You might be familiar with John Maxwell, who has many books and good ideas under his belt. He said that everything we do is focused on going uphill so we should constantly be looking forward. He also said that it is easy and comfortable to revert back to downhill habits. We all do that right? It seems like sometimes we take 2 steps ahead only to fall back 3 steps when we are uncomfortable with changes that need to be made. We tend to go back to the feelings we know. Honestly, we may not intend to go backwards and we may really want to change bad habits but change can be uncomfortable and scary.
Letting go takes courage and a willingness to recognize that we must let go and grab onto a new future. I have found that in difficult times, it is easy to go down the rabbit hole of bad habits. What is the rabbit hole? The place where you go when something triggers your thoughts, emotions or behaviors of the past. I have discussed this rabbit hole concept with a friend and he asked me something curious. He asked me if I had seen the movie Alice in Wonderland and I replied no because I have never liked that story. It just seemed too weird and scary. But I was interested in his point so we continued and he asked me if I knew why Alice went down the rabbit hole? He said that it was not just for curiosity’s sake. He asked me what I thought it was I said she wanted to follow the rabbit. To which he replied, exactly! He then said, “You need to identify your rabbit and stop following it down the hole.” That totally made sense to me. So I intentionally have worked on identifying my rabbit so I can stop chasing it down the hole. I can only stop doing so if I change the course of my thoughts and actions.
Whether we are relocating for a new job or letting go of the past, we can focus on turning the page to new possibilities and begin to write a new chapter in our lives. Just as Kelly is focused on bringing her significant experience into a hope-filled future, we can do the same with our everyday lives. When we recognize our hurts, forgive the past; we are free to walk down the path into the future with hope. We then make peace with all of the hardships and tough times to move into the future with strength and courage, trusting that God is already at work rewriting our story.