A few days ago I wrote a blog called “Approaching the New Year (and life) with Intentionality“. In that blog I talked about the idea of picking a word for the year, a word to claim that would give you guidance and focus for the coming year.
I have actually chosen 2 words for myself for this year: Change and Bold.
My life has gone through many very difficult and unwanted changes the past couple of years, and up to this point I’ve been focusing more on surviving the changes than I have on trying to be in a place I can begin to move forward. Things have started to move forward, and it’s been exciting, but I’ve still been very much focused on surviving all the fall-out and damage from the past difficult changes as well. However, I’ve been sensing that this year God is preparing some new and exciting things for my future…he is preparing me for more changes that are coming.
That’s where my second word comes into play. It is a good reminder for me to approach whatever new and exciting things may come with boldness…after the kind of changes I was forced to go through, it is easy to become timid and scared of change, so I need to remember to be bold.
Today, in a conversation I was having concerning my future, I admitted that I have not yet been able to let go of some of the dreams from my past. When my life was turned upside down and I went through a lot of very difficult changes, many dreams of mine died. Some of those things I have been able to work through and begin to heal from, but others I’m still trying to figure out how to work through.
Last week I was talking with a missions organization, and I was posed the question “what would your dream job look like?” I knew the answer right away…it would look like my job at my last church. I absolutely loved my job when I worked at Calvary Bible Church; the Student Ministry there was amazing, I loved all the opportunities I was given to preach and speak, and getting to organize and go on mission trips each year was amazing. I loved that job. And to be really honest, I’ve struggled to let it go. It is very hard for me to still wish I had what I did in that job.
In my conversation today, as I admitted and shared that fact, I was challenged with a truth that I needed to hear…
God’s dreams for your future are different than your dreams from your past. His dreams are better than your dreams. It is time to let go of the dreams from your past so that God can do a new thing in your future.
While I needed to hear that, it was hard to hear; it still hurts to think of letting my past dreams die, and I know I won’t happen overnight either. My job at CBC was my dream job, and it still hurts a lot to have lost it. So I definitely needed to hear that truth!
God has a plan for my future. And if he allowed my past dreams to be taken from me, it’s because he has dreams for my future that are better than my past dreams. So while it’s painful, and even though I don’t see exactly what those future dreams are yet, I need to work to let my past go and trust him for my future.
As it says in Isaiah 43:18-19…
Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
I can’t continue to focus on the past. I have to learn to let it go. My focus must be on the truth that God is in the process of doing a new thing. What exactly does my future hold or look like? What are the new things that he is doing? I don’t know. But even though I don’t know, I can trust that God has a better dream and plan for my future than I had in my past.
Letting go of past dreams can be hard, especially when they were good dreams and they were taken from you. It can also be hard to let go of bad memories from the past as well, because it is easy to let painful experiences from our past determine our actions and reactions now. But to remain focused on the past will only keep us from moving forward into the future that God has for us, a future where he is doing something new.
So, may we learn to not focus on the past, good or bad. May we learn to let the past go, and may we instead learn to focus on where God is leading us next.