When I’m driving around the Oklahoma hinterlands, I often find myself thinking about the settlers that crossed the plains on their way to a “better life out west.” Those folks didn’t have cell phones or the internet to keep them connected to home. They didn’t have easy travel. When they left, it was like a death, because you pretty much weren’t going to see them again.
Today, we have the distinct advantages of rapid transit, constant communication, and connectedness. I will not knock these things. Sometimes, these things can provide us a true lifeline to those we love when we deeply need it.
However, there is a side of it which can be more difficult to navigate. How do you balance stepping into the future with keeping one foot in the past? How do you build new relationships while not forgetting the ones you already have?
And possibly the most difficult thing, how do you let go of past hurts and not let them shape your present and future incorrectly. How do we learn from the past, deal with the pain, forgive what needs to be forgiven, and let go?
Moving on is not always easy, not always cut and dry.
A good friend reminded me of Paul’s words to the Philippians “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul wrote those words after listing his impressive religious pedigree and declaring that all of his former “knowledge” was rubbish compared to the knowledge of Jesus. He was committed to forgetting the legalism and lies of his past for the sake of walking in the truth of Jesus, the freedom of the gospel, the newness of life He found there.
I find myself dwelling far too much on the things of the past, especially the hurt and the loss. Paul would counsel me to let it go. Move on. Don’t act like it didn’t happen (he owned his past), but leave it there.
God help me to walk in newness of life, not in the shadow of the past.
(If you want to follow along with us, can I encourage you to sign up for updates via email? I honestly don’t know how involved I’m going to be on social media (that’s a post for another day), so if you’re interested in following our journey, the best way to find out what’s going on and not have it buried in your newsfeed is to sign up!)