Let go of the old to embrace the new

It’s not always easy to welcome change in our lives, or to let go of the things we love—things which may remind us of memories we cherish. It may be even harder to feel confident that what the future holds is good, perhaps because we believe we’ve already had our best years. I’ve certainly had my own moments of resisting change. But I’ve come to see that oftentimes, the very change we’re resisting could in fact open the door to new opportunities to bless and be blessed.

For many years, our family was very fortunate to spend most weekends at our lake house, enjoying nature, family activities, and time with friends. We made so many wonderful memories there. Then the kids and grandkids grew up and moved on with their lives, and we no longer visited the area as often. Once in a while, over a period of several years, my husband and I would discuss selling the lake house. But we always resisted taking any action. 

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It was unusual for me to resist embracing change. As a lifelong Christian Scientist, I had learned to trust God implicitly and faithfully, and to consistently turn to Him in prayer for direction in my life, because God is good. In the book of Jeremiah in the Bible there’s this assurance: “ ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (29:11, New International Version). There’s no mention of loss in this promise from the Bible, as God’s plan for each of us is always good, and better than anything we could plan on our own. As God’s children, we are known by God and cared for by Him, so it’s natural to let God’s unfoldment of good in our lives take place, instead of holding on to things and ideas we’ve outgrown.

One morning while I was praying, this statement by Mary Baker Eddy caught my attention: “We own no past, no future, we possess only now.… Faith in divine Love supplies the ever-present help and now, and gives the power to ‘act in the living present’ ” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 12). This awakened me to see that my husband and I had avoided letting go of the past. I knew this was a hindrance—an obstruction to letting that natural unfoldment of good take place. With this recognition, it was easy to pray with an open heart, “Father, … not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

God’s plan for each of us is always good, and better than anything we could plan on our own.

After about an hour of prayer along these lines, I suddenly realized the reason for any resistance I’d been feeling: fear! Fear of losing something really good in our life. Fear of the future and the unknown. Selling the house was a permanent action that symbolically meant that our life as we knew it was over. Maybe it seems obvious that of course fear was standing in the way, but up until that point, I hadn’t realized the attachment was anything more than nostalgia.

We tend to hang on to things that are old and outgrown—such as memorabilia or mementos—because they represent an emotional attachment to people, places, or situations that we’ve loved, but which may no longer be in our lives in the same way anymore. This is where a shift in perspective can be so helpful. From my study of Christian Science I’ve learned that the good we see in our lives isn’t limited to, or circumscribed by, things, places, or people; rather, everything wonderful that we experience actually points to the infinite source of all good—God—and His boundless provision for all of us.

So what about those moments when we feel afraid, or separated from this provision? Even then, the Christ, “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332), is always present to reassure us that we are blessed, cared for, and that we can trust our future to God. In my own case, it was Christ that awakened my consciousness to what was standing in the way of our family’s progress, and this tender divine message also reassured me that God’s blessings were truly uninterrupted.

As my prayers helped me see the situation from this spiritual perspective, I no longer felt afraid, and I realized there was no need to continue holding on to the lake house. I felt new confidence that good is spiritual and eternal and that the memories of life’s good experiences would always be with us! Feeling relieved and fully at peace, I let the whole thing go and trusted that God would show me the next steps forward.

The good we see in our lives isn’t limited to, or circumscribed by, things, places, or people.

Later that afternoon, completely unexpectedly, a friend who was a real estate agent called and inquired about selling our lake house, as she had an interested buyer! I immediately felt this was a perfect answer to our prayers, and my husband agreed. I told my friend yes and asked her to bring us a contract, which she did. Within two weeks we closed on the sale. We never even had to put the house on the market. The buyer, who lived in another part of the country, had been looking to purchase a house in the area of our lake house for her brother. There were several homes for sale, but she happened to see ours, and it had everything she knew he would love. 

I didn’t feel it was a coincidence. The desire and willingness to listen to and follow God’s directive brought us together for a quick, harmonious transaction. It was a great joy to see how everyone was blessed.

After our friend first called to inquire about selling the lake house, I knew there would be a lot of work ahead to get rid of a household of furniture and other items we had accumulated for decades. But the same understanding of God’s love and care that was allowing us to fearlessly go forward with the sale of the house helped me expect a blessing with this endeavor as well. The prophet Zephaniah said, “He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17, New Living Translation). Later that same day, our friend called again saying she had someone who was interested in purchasing our bedroom and living room furniture. It would be used to furnish three small rental homes that this person and her husband offered rent-free to people who were adjusting to a new start in life after transition from prison or getting out of an abusive relationship. As a parting gift, these guests could take all household items with them.

There was no doubt that God was providing a beautiful opportunity for my husband and me to not just move forward with our own lives, but to also be involved in helping these dear people move forward toward their own brighter futures—further proof that being obedient to divine direction and open to new opportunities enables one to bless and be blessed. Jesus said, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). With heartfelt joy, we did just that. We donated all other furniture and household items.

This was not the only big change in our life at that time. Over the next few months, we sold our primary residence of twenty years and moved to a town far away. At first I resisted moving so far from friends, church, and familiar places. But we quickly realized our life had been renewed in ways that proved God’s goodness was both a constant in our lives and tailor-made for our current needs. 

Why cling to things and places outgrown? Instead, we can trust God at every juncture, and with every step. In Malachi we’re assured that God will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (3:10). This promise ensures us that countless opportunities to bless and be blessed await all of us.

God shows us how!
June 3, 2019

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