It was a day of letting go.
I was in one of those moods. You know it. Letting go of of the stuff I don’t use anymore. Purge and downsize. Get rid of the clutter. Stop sorting through ten coffee mugs to find the one I use every day. No one ever said I have to keep looking at broken and unused things, so let’s get rid of them, right?
I filled bags and boxes and trash bins with stained clothing, chipped mugs, and five-year-old greeting cards. I was on a roll. My frenetic pace slowed when Preacher Creature got that tone of voice that said he wasn’t as enthusiastic about possession purging as I was.
Then I found my wok.
It was my turn to hesitate. It was a perfectly good wok. I loved it. Great for stir fry, fajita meat and believe it or not, fried chicken. The problem was the lid. I had held on to that wok because of the lid.
Several years back, the insert to my crock pot broke. No question there. I gathered up the broken pieces along with the lid and headed for the dumpster. Except, it was the wrong lid. I had disposed of the wok lid instead of the crock pot lid.
Feeling really bad over my carelessness, I tried using the crock pot lid with the wok. It didn’t fit but I did it anyway, muttering in frustration every time. That clean-up morning, I came to my senses and thought, this is ridiculous. Why am I putting up with this?
It was the guilt. The embarrassment. I didn’t want to admit to Preacher Creature that I’d been so impulsive. I was raised to use what I have and not throw anything away. Make do, make it work. The queen of kludge. My mother’s voice echoed in my brain: “Your grandmother lived in the depression and did without; so can you.” “You should have been more careful.” Every time I used my wok, evil voices inside my head reminded me of my carelessness.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who spirals into guilt talk.
I made up my mind. I confessed my whoopsie to Preacher Creature and then told him my decision. “I’m throwing away these mismatched pieces. I want a wok with a proper fitting lid. It’s time to let go and move on.”
This time, he didn’t hesitate. “Send me the Amazon link and I’ll order it for you.” (The Prime account is on his computer.)
Woks and lids aren’t the only things we have trouble letting go.
Our houses are filled with broken possessions, obsolete devices, and undersized clothing. Why do we hold on to so much? As I realized with my wok lid, it’s much more than the possession.
- Guilt over a bad consumer decision.
- Embarrassment over weight gain.
- Shame over a dish broken in a fit of anger.
And so our cupboards and closets are filled with memories of the past and how life could have, should have been better.
What are you keeping? How are those regret stained possessions slowing you down?
It’s Time To Toss the Weights
I threw away the old wok and bought a new one. What I have now is better than ever. And I don’t have to fight with a lopsided lid anymore. Cooking is easier which frees up energy to do the things most important to me.
Compared to the broken pieces of life, dumping a useless wok in the trash bin is a wok in the park. When we dare to relinquish the regrets of the past, Satan has a way of dumpster diving and recycling the hurt. Like my reluctance to let go of the old and purchase the new, we might hesitate to form new friendships, try new projects, and take full advantage of our remade life in Christ. The old and broken block our way to freedom.
No wonder the writer of Hebrews wrote:
“ . . . let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” – from Hebrews 12:1, NLT
Scripture makes it plain. We need to assess what is holding us back from being all that we can be, let it go, and move on toward freedom. When we no longer handcuff ourselves to our past, we are free to run faster and longer. The barnacles of our sin no longer freeload on our emotions.
It’s not all up to us.
We set the stage for God’s transformation by releasing our grip on the old. Then we trust Him to make all things new.
Let go of that irreparable relationship, trusting that God will bring new relationships into your life.
Forgive yourself of your past mistakes. That was the old you. Christ has forgiven and cleansed. Live like that old person is dead and gone.
Shove aside others’ hurtful comments. Remove them from the cupboard of your mind. You aren’t in that place any longer and neither are they.
What holds you back from moving forward with freedom?
- A divorce
- A ruined relationship
- Poor judgement at a past job
- Parental mistakes
- Past addictions
- Harsh or critical words you’ve spoken
- Hurtful actions or words from someone you love
- Bad financial decisions
Here’s what I want you to do. Find a disposable food container you need to throw away. Wash it out. On the lid, write with a marker those things you need to let go. Attach the lid to the container, walk to your nearest dumpster, and throw it away.
Before you leave, pray this prayer:
“Lord, I release to you my past mistakes, hurt, bitterness, regrets, and guilt. I release the relationships that don’t work anymore. I release the memories about people that keep me from forging meaningful relationships with others. Show me how to move on to freedom through your son Jesus.”
God is in the business of making all things new. He wants to recreate your life into a future of freedom, truth, and beauty. Help Him do His job by letting go of the past.