Brave Enough to Say Goodbye

Missy Ortman

One of the toughest things about newness is the desire to look back.  How many times has God given you a new path, a do-over, an answer to a prayer and instead of looking forward whole heartedly, you look back.  Why do we look back?  Often it is because we can’t help but compare.  We want to see positive improvements, right?

What happens when looking back interferes with moving forward in our newness?  Ask any pastor and they will tell you that one reason they leave a church when their time as pastor is done; is so that in the newness of the new pastor there aren’t comparisons made and discontent created.  You can’t experience growth in newness if you continuously look back.

Chris and I have experienced this first hand in our own lives.  Moving to Iowa last year came with some pretty big changes for us.  We left behind our support system, our family, our church, and lots of material things.  God asked us to take on a new path with a smaller paycheck, higher rent, smaller house, no church, and no support system.

Our society would call that a recipe for disaster.  We weren’t immune to the naysayers who didn’t hold back on reminding us that, “people don’t willingly take a pay cut when they switch jobs.”.  For us, our “new” meant stepping out of the cultural norm and out of our comfort zones.

Like all new things we weren’t immune to the urge to compare. We got caught up in the looking back, especially once the newness factor wore off and the reality of everything came into play.  I distinctly remember the first couple of months when we weren’t staying under our budget and rushing to find people to watch the kids during Lincoln’s appointments and surgery.  It was tough and we caught ourselves looking back and thinking “man, we miss our support system.” 

Isaiah 48:18 says, “..Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” If we had left ourselves in our comparative frame of mind we would have never seen what was being worked out before us. Our new support system was being built and a new church with hearts wide open.  We would have missed the perfect set-up in our new home and the way it has helped us re-evaluate needs.  We would have missed the opportunities and activities for our kids We would have missed so much growth.  More importantly we would have missed those times when God was building our paths in the wilderness and our river in the desert. 

Our growth comes because we set out to wholeheartedly embrace our new future.  We intentionally refuse to look back and compare our old and new lives.  It leaves our hearts more open to the path God is laying out before us, the changes He may have coming, and the growth He has in store for us.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19