I remember the first time I visited my fiancee Heather at uni. I travelled on a 9hr coach journey to see her. We had an awesome weekend, had loads of fun, I met a load of her new uni friends, spent some quality time together and before I knew it, the time came for me to leave. As you can imagine, another 9hr coach journey was not high on my list of fun things to do(!), so I wasn’t looking forward to it anyway. But the main reason for the gloom of this journey was that it would be a good 8 weeks or so before I saw her again. Saying goodbye was difficult, I even had a little cry once she was out of sight. However, I had to say goodbye. I couldn’t have stayed, she had tons of uni work to do, I had my own life to lead also. It would have been ridiculous to stay forever (the university didn’t like me parking in the car park for a day, let alone a year!). To stay would have limited her and limited me. As horrible as the goodbye was, it was necessary for both of us.
I’m sure we can all think of scenarios when we have held onto something for too long. When we know that something has come to an end, it has broken, or stopped functioning how it used to. Sometimes it can be difficult to throw away that phone that you’ve come so attached to, even though the back falls off, the battery only lasts for 30mins and the ‘space’ key doesn’t work anymore. But what about relationally? What about those relationships that are doing you no good, or that job that you stick at because its ‘safe’, or that friendship group that leads you down paths you know you shouldn’t take. What about those immature thought patterns you slip into, and even know you’re aware of them, you’re scared of how life will look without them?
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel were led out of slavery into freedom through some awesome miraculous acts of God. They saw it with their own eyes, yet they would often complain about their situation and want to return to slavery. They couldn’t say goodbye to that old way of living. Despite the excellent future God had in store for them, they couldn’t say goodbye to the mediocre. Sounds ridiculous, but so many of us do the same thing: rather than enjoying the awesome new life Christ has for us, by default we favour the ‘old skool’ way of living by not saying goodbye to it. It’s a spiritually immature place to be in.
Let’s not be immature by avoiding saying goodbye to things, relationships, circumstances, or thought patterns that hold us back, that slow us down, that limit and prevent us from seeing greater things that are ahead. Whether its a goodbye forever, or for the short term, let’s have the courage to make those decisions, and see them through.