When Shelley moved to the city, she really missed her best friends. She tried to keep up with them as much as possible but soon she began to notice a distance in the relationship.
They would hold a party and not invite her. They asked other people to be godparents to their new babies. Shelley felt sad and rejected. Despite her best efforts, things were changing.
Shelley began to spend more time with the people around her to meet her needs for friendship. Over time she realised that her original friendships would have to be given up and new friendships embraced if she was going to stay happy.
Shelley discovered something a lot of us realise - to survive the future, you’ve got to leave the past.
Leaving can be hard
In some ways, moving on in life is a little like the change that happens when we become Christians. In Philippians, Paul talks about his past life without Christ & his new life with him. He reminds the Philippians that when you become a Christian, you leave the old ways behind you.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
In fact, there’s a lot of leaving in the Bible. Abraham was told to leave his homeland and move to the land God would show him. The people of Israel were led by Moses to leave Egypt.
What did leaving mean? Basically it just means not going back.
Abraham couldn’t fully trust God for his new home if he was still connected to his old home. And the people of Israel would never be free from slavery as long as they kept looking back to Egypt.
We’re not slaves, and most of us haven’t had a 'word from God' to move to the place he tells us, but the principle is still the same. To move on in life, we really have to ‘leave’ the old things behind. If you move house, church, school or job or country or habits, or whatever, the moving is not complete until you can leave the past behind.
Get your goodbyes right
This is where saying goodbye effectively comes in. If we have not said goodbye, and we are still living in the past, things going to be much harder.
Leaving the past is not the same as suppressing your past and pretending it didn’t exist. But you can’t continue to live there. You need to say goodbye to the old so you have room for the new. If you’re trying to hold on to the old tightly with both hands, you’ll stay there and you won’t grow in the future.
Study up: Read Numbers 20:1-5. Why do you think the people of Israel complained about leaving Egypt? What would you advise them if you were there?