First of all, I didn’t title this post “Let it Go.” You’re welcome.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard the phrase “New Year New You” in the last few weeks. Naturally, like every other human being on the planet, the coming of the new year had me thinking about change and a fresh start. But even if I hadn’t been, it only took five minutes online and I was inundated with 2 ads for yoga mats, 3 for diet plans, and 5 for podcasts that promise to help me “be your best self in 2018!” All of a sudden it seems like everything needs to change.
I officially gave up on New Year’s resolutions a while ago. There’s nothing like getting all excited about something, getting started, and then crapping out three weeks in. It’s discouraging, and defeating, and before long I want to stop trying because what’s the point?
But I think I’ve finally discovered the problem. (Cue lightbulb!)
I keep trying to add new things without getting rid of old things. It’s like I have a bag that I’m lugging around a store with me – and I see all this cool new stuff that would be so helpful, or so fun, but when I try to stick it in my bag it just falls out because my bag is filled with all my old stuff. Old habits, old attitudes, old perspectives, old expectations.
These things that I haven’t even realized I’ve been holding on to mean that there’s no room for the new stuff. I can’t grow in the areas I want to grow if I’m holding on tight to a whole bunch of old stuff.
Beth Moore got my wheels turning the other day when she posted this thread to Twitter:
“The Eternal God who has neither beginning nor end fashioned mortals for both. As surely as we need new beginnings, we need definitive endings. There are some things that need a full-stop-end with this old year: That feud/affair/fixation on that rival or that idol/that side thing. The emotional punishment needs an end. Some old emails we keep reading need trashing. Sentimental keepsakes from a wrong relationship need throwing away TODAY. Time to delete some texts. Block some numbers. Unblock others. Time for all contact with a particular person to end. Time to stop beating at a door God cemented shut. Time to end our self-defending and promoting. Time to end what is flat-out not working and what we know good and well is never going to work. Time to end a financial deal we make with the devil. Time to end because it’s time to begin again.”
Out with the old, in with the new.
I’ve heard it a thousand times and yet somehow I’m constantly trying to cram in the new without first ousting the old.
Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy.” – Ephesians 4:21-24
and to the Christians in Colossae He says:
“Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” – Colossians 3:10
When we choose to follow Jesus, we are given a fresh start. A new beginning. A new us. Now that doesn’t mean instant perfection. But it means that layer by layer, hurt by hurt, habit by habit or fear by fear, we are constantly being made new. But in order to have room for that continual renewal, we have to be willing to let go of some old stuff. I know I do.
So what’s your old stuff? Is it an old habit that you need to let go of? An old fear, an old insecurity? Maybe you’ve been hanging on to an old grudge and need to let it go and forgive. Maybe you’ve suffered some hurts in your past and you’ve been letting those hurts define who you are and you need to let those go.
Whatever it is, I encourage you to go for it. Make that choice. Get rid of that old stuff, and when it creeps back up on you and tries to tell you that it still has power over you? You tell that old stuff who you belong to. That you are a child of God, redeemed and made new by the sacrifice that Christ has made for you.
Will it be scary? Probably. Will it be worth it? Most definitely YES. Plant these verses firmly in your noggin, stick them where you can see them regularly – they’ve helped me, and I promise they’ll come in handy for you through this process:
“This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Did you see that last one? If you are a child of God, he has given you a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. It’s yours. Grab onto it, lean into it, shout it as loud as you need to. If you’re not a child of God and want to know more – head over here or reach out in the comments. One of us would *LOVE* (did I emphasize that enough?) to talk to you more!