Letting go, moving forward

As I’ve continued to dig through the hoard and make progress on our bonus room/office renovation, I’ve had to do some major purging.

One of the boxes I came across while cleaning and organizing was filled with these:
These are mostly textbooks I purchased when I was going to school for my M.Ed. in Psychology/Counseling or when I was in undergraduate school for journalism. I’ve held onto these books for many years, partly because they cost me a sick amount of money and partly because they represent an immense amount of time and hard work.

But now, as I take a closer look at these books (and a hard look at the state of my bonus room/office), I realize these suckers are taking up a huge amount of space in my home. Plus much of their information is probably outdated or can easily be found online. So I’ve made the not-so-easy decision to donate them.

And that got me to thinking … (I know, very, very dangerous) … how many things in our lives do we hold on to year after year, letting them take up space in our minds, hearts and homes even though they serve no useful purpose or may actually be hindering our progress in some area?

Maybe it’s a hurtful comment from a friend or family member that we just haven’t been able to let go. Maybe it’s a past failure – or even a past success.

The truth is, most of us have suffered enough tragedy, trauma or drama to be able to come up with some good excuses for letting the past keep us from accomplishing future goals. And on the flip side, many of us have had great accomplishments in our past and find it easy to kick back and rest on our laurels.

Either way, we must remember that life is not over until God says so. No matter how many shiny trophies, plaques, certificates or degrees we have obtained or how much pain and sorrow we have endured, the Bible tells us to forget the things that are behind – both good and bad – and reach forward to the things that are ahead.

“… 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 other words, we can’t pick a parking spot out in our past and sit there. We’ve got to keep moving on to greater things.

God has placed us all here for a purpose. It’s like a race course set in front of us which takes time and energy to navigate. But too often our energy is spent dealing with the past and we don’t have the willpower to move ahead.

Today, I want to encourage you to let go of the things that are holding you back and cluttering up your life – just like those old textbooks were cluttering up my bonus room/office space. Pray to God to be set free from what is hindering you from experiencing your best life and pray for the faith to move forward, trusting and believing that your best days are ahead of you.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Do you have anything in your past that has kept you from experiencing freedom, joy and peace in the present? What steps have you taken to move forward? I would love to hear your story.

To leave a comment, use the box at the bottom of this post or click the thought balloon at the top of the post (to the right of the title).

I’m linking this up to Women Living Well.

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9 Responses

  1. Sally Kidman says:

    When I started reading this post, I had to laugh. I too have been holding on to the many expensive, heavy, space-taking textbooks from my nursing courses from my Associates Degree all the way to my Masters. For whatever reason, I just could not get rid of them. Your post has inspired me.

    The University where I teach has a outreach program in a small town in Africa, especially in the education of young women in the field of nursing. They are always looking for donations, especially old textbooks. At no effort to me, I just have to drop them off at Campus and they will ship them for free (bonus!).

    I think that it is time to do what I know needs to be done. . . to Africa they go!

    Thanks for the motivating words!

  2. Joanne McMillen says:

    You certainly have inspired me to encourage my sons to donate their old text books from their college and post graduate days. That would clear out quite a chunk of space in my attic!-AND- it would spare me the chore of carting them all to their homes in NY and NC.

  3. Jo Shawver says:

    Thank you!

  4. Megan says:

    What an encouraging post! Thanks Susan, I’ll keep this advice as I’m nesting!

  5. Sharon Hines says:

    Very inspiring post, Susan!


  6. Jess A. says:

    I was so blessed by this post! I definitely fall into the trap of past-focusing and not looking ahead enough. As you know, we’re still in the process of trying to figure out exactly what God has for us and Jer and I both have been so challenged this week and were just talking about needing to keep moving ahead and not holding on to the past… your post was so timely!! Thank you for the encouragement and being sensitive to the Spirit when you write!

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