The junk of my past has no place in my future

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By Jessica Brodie

There’s nothing like packing up your house to make you realize how much ridiculous clutter and junk you have.

This month, we’re preparing to move from our house on one side of town to a bigger house on the other. With four kids, frequent houseguests, a fitness-at-home regimen, and two grownups who do a ton of work from home, we need space! My house currently looks like a disaster zone, boxes stacked floor to ceiling, as we prepare.

“Oh, I forgot about this!” I keep finding myself exclaim as I pull out things from the top of a closet. Some things bring back fond memories; others are just junk I should have discarded a long time ago. 

And it occurs to me: packing up a house and sorting through stuff, trying to figure out what to keep, donate, or trash, is a lot like our walk with God. We go through life, experiencing love and loss, making memories good and bad. We have mistakes and celebrations, sins we’d rather forget and happy moments we smile to recall.

But some of us have a really hard time letting go of the past, whether it’s bad things we’ve done or wrongs that have been done to us. We carry it around with us like luggage, store it out of sight in the back of the closet or atop a high shelf, only to have it come crashing down on us again.

Perhaps we need to do a pack-up of our minds and hearts on occasion just like we do with a house. Perhaps there are things we are holding onto that should have been discarded long ago.

Our brothers and sisters in the Lord long, long ago knew this, and Scripture contains a host of reminders and outright commands that we learn to leave the past in the past.

The apostle Paul assures us we are a new creation in Christ and can leave our sins of the past far behind (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Through His prophet Isaiah, God urges, “Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:18-19 CEB).

God is making a way for us—a new house, a new future. The clutter of the past doesn’t get to come along for the ride.

Like the junk I’m tossing from my home, I pray I can also remember to toss out the junk of my past. It has no place in my future.

Let me know in the comments below: Do you have trouble letting go of the past? What do you do? Can you share any successful tips in leaving the past in the past?

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