Letting Go of Good. Taking Hold of Great!
There was a very special season in my life that lasted almost 15 years. Happy family, nice community, great connections, financial prosperity… the usual stuff we all long for. Not that everything was perfect or that we were millionaires, but it was definitely the best my life had ever been and more than I hoped or imagined. It was as if the desires I had as a child were being fulfilled, even to the smallest detail. You might say it was my personal “Golden Era.”
But, as the old saying goes, “nothing lasts forever.” Through a series of unimaginable circumstances everything began to change. Just as fall gives way to winter, my golden season transitioned to a long series of setbacks and heartache. The era of life so fulfilling became like a distant foggy road in the rear-view mirror. I suppose you could call it my “WTH” era. And it was a phrase I often used during those days.
One evening while walking through my neighborhood, I clearly heard the Lord tell me something I was not expecting to hear. He let me know that I was never going to have the life I once had, no matter how much I struggled to reinvent it. “But” he said, “That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great life. I’m trying to give you something new, something better. If you want it, you’ll have to let go of the old season first.”
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” I suppose that also means a time for a Golden Era and a time for it to end. But it doesn’t have to be “The End,” although it can certainly feel that way.
From my perspective, my Golden Era was the zenith, the pinnacle, didn’t think it could get any better. From God’s perspective, it was just one part of a much larger existence.
In other words, it was not the best life ever. He wanted me to go forward to a new season, to new experiences, to new growth, opportunity and testimonies of his grace and kindness.
On my knees, in gut-wrenching pain (and I don’t use that phrase lightly), I took the good times, the good memories and the good experiences to the cross in prayer. Not because they were bad, but because I had allowed how good they were to become an idol that competed with God’s greatness for my future.
We see this played out all around us; in marriages and families, in communities and ministries, in businesses and careers. Sometimes we allow a certain era of life to define our life or give us such a strong sense of meaning and identity that we can’t imagine living apart from it.
If left unchecked, however, the comfort received from a particular season can become an idol that overtakes our thinking, our focus and all our hopes and dreams.
When we make a past season of life (or a desired season of life) the pinnacle season of life, it becomes a standard that we measure everything else against. It causes us to operate from a one-dimensional closed-minded perspective that distorts our experiences with people and situations. None of us do it on purpose. It is more the sin of ignorance and unbelief than anything else. That’s exactly what happened to me.
The divine question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are we looking for meaning and validation in a particular season of life or from The Giver of Life?” Think of it this way. If a Golden Era could truly meet the needs of our heart, then we wouldn’t need a Savior?
It’s easy to believe for God’s help to overcome the hardships of life. Few of us, however, stop to consider that he wants us to also overcome the good times as well. Regardless of how fulfilling and comforting they may have been, those good ole days still fall short of how great God is and all he wants to do in and through us. The truth is, they compete for our affections and devotion to God’s plans and purposes.
I believe God’s true desire is that we live in a “Divine Era” in our hearts and minds. That is where true peace and contentment lies. It’s not found in obtaining a Golden Era or trying to sidestep a WTH era.
It can only be found when our spirits are connected to His Spirit – when we come to a place of knowing that no matter what season we find our self in, God’s love has already gone before us, and nothing can separate us from it.
Proverbs 4:18 tells us, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”
That means regardless of our station in life, our season in life or the mistakes and setbacks, we have a bright future because of the love of God at work on our behalf.
I don’t know what season you are presently in or what era has captured your hope and aspirations. Maybe you feel tossed about by circumstances or lost in a dense fog or uncertainty and confusion. Maybe a past Golden Era or a future longing has transformed into an idol.
But whatever your situation, God’s deepest desire is to move you forward and upward to a Divine Era that will never fade or pass away. You can begin the journey with this simple prayer.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for being such a knucklehead about the different season of my life. I’m so thankful you died on a cross for knuckleheads. Thank you for the blessings you have given me through the years. Thank you for special memories, for the happy moments and how much they filled my heart with joy. All of it was a gift from you to me.
But Father, in my ignorance I allowed those seasons to define me. I’ve looked to them for security and meaning instead of looking to you. I’ve allowed the familiar or the ambitions of my heart to become my salvation. Lord, forgive me. Arrest the fear, the confusion, and my own stubbornness by the power of your Grace and Mercy. Give me supernatural strength to walk out each day in the knowledge that although I may not know what the future holds, I can know who holds my future. Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief. Amen.