What Needs To Be Left Behind?
I recall a movie I saw years ago where a castaway on an island finally boarded a rescue boat. As she pulled away from shore, she waved goodbye to the pressures she’d endured and the survival mechanisms she’d invented to keep herself alive. Away she sailed into hopes of new beginnings. Yet one problem prevailed: she took with her unhealthy patterns of living of which she’d grown accustomed. Soon she discovered that the new land was just as oppressive as the old. Kind of reminds me of waving goodbye to 2020. We hoist the mainsail in hopes of finding restored opportunities and relationships; however, if we’re not mindful, we’ll bring island debris with us.
As my grandkids were playing the other day, their voices permeated the air. “He hit me ON PURPOSE!” “She left me out ON PURPOSE!” Everything was ON PURPOSE: deliberate, calculated, premeditated. Doing things ON PURPOSE doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, if we desire a clean slate starting 2021, it’ll only come about with us doing the hard work of self-examination—ON PURPOSE. Maybe we ought to ask ourselves what “island rubbish” we have that needs to be left behind. I have my own castaway list.
Trash of offense. Jesus warned that in this world we would have cause for offense. I’m sure you’d agree 2020 was the year of offense. Everywhere there was reason to be offended by a family member, a friend, our country, or a political party. It was a global fight like none other. I heard a pastor nail the root solution when he expressed that life is too short and our calling too great to be offended by something small. Being offended is inevitable, but living offended is a choice. Friend, there’s a lot at stake when we hold on too tight. In the end, it’s not worth it! Our kids need to see what it looks like to forgive and move on. Our lives WILL be marked with offenses of all kinds. The question becomes personal: What will I do with mine?
Trash of self-sufficiency. It never fails. Every time I break my daily routine of meeting with the Lord first thing in the morning, by midday my joy fuel is running low. It’s easy to overlook that my problem is not my shortcoming (I didn’t make God a morning priority), but rather my problem is my delusion of strength (I can do this myself; I’ve got this). I have it all wrong! Embracing Christ every morning is my window for strength, wisdom, and empowered stamina for the day. Once again, another question: Why wouldn’t I make my daily alone time with God a priority for 2021?
Trash of ingratitude. None of us intend to be ungrateful. It just sort of happens. Often we find ourselves mindlessly focusing on what might go wrong rather than who’s in control if it does. What if we made thankfulness our default mindset? Jesus said to be thankful in all things. Maybe he knew something we didn’t. Did he want us to discover that thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity? Did he want us to see that gratitude reduces the toxic stronghold of offense? Did he want us to show our kids that thankfulness always looks good on us? Friend, it’s true. Much of our ability to thrive in 2021 depends on the debris we let go of when life does not go the way we had planned.
So ships ahoy! We’re already sailing into the waters of 2012. How’s your load?