“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(NIV).
Since 2001, I’ve packed my belongings and moved five times. That averages moving every three years. However, I did remain in one house for almost 11 years. If you’ve ever moved, you know the challenge it involves. While looking forward to a new adventure, there is still the logistics of dealing with possessions one has accumulated over the years.
When I prepared to move this last time in April 2016, I realized, once again, how much I had amassed. During the 11 years I’d lived in that residence, I lost my only surviving parent. My mother had passed in 2004, followed by my father in 2007. When my sister and I met to assess their belongings, we each chose things we wanted to keep. Then, we allowed family members to make their selections. Everything that remained was given away.
As the apostle Paul said, we must forget what is behind.
We must cling to Jesus.
As I cleaned out cabinets last April and started packing, I came across some of my mother’s crystal, as well as other decorative and delicate items stored on the top kitchen shelves since September 2007. Almost nine years later, the keepsakes had remained untouched, except for one beautiful cut-glass vase I’d used many times. Why was I hanging onto things that were not useful to me? Why had I toted them home in the first place? Gathering dust, they had remained hidden from sight.
After letting my sister choose what she wanted from the collection, I was led to give some of the pieces away to close friends whom I knew would appreciate them. One piece, an antique tray on display, had actually belonged to my grandmother. When a dear friend, who had helped me clean up after a tornado struck my house in March of last year, commented on the beautiful tray, I gave it to her as a parting gift. She didn’t want to accept it at first. I wanted her to have it, not just to express my appreciation for her help, but because she had admired it.
As I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord, I’ve learned to let go of the need to cling to things. I would rather give away my possessions to those who will treasure them now, than let them gather dust on a top shelf. With the help of my Savior, I’ve also learned to let go of past hurts.
How often do we cling to the past? We let the hurt of a broken relationship, the pain of physical, sexual or verbal abuse, the dysfunction of our family, the death of a loved one or other wrongs rob us of a future of hope and peace. God makes all things new. Only He can take away the pain and heartache, replacing it with His best—Jesus.
As the apostle Paul said, we must forget what is behind. We must cling to Jesus.