Alison and I have been married for almost 20 years. In that 20 years, we have moved house 12 times. If you are a renter, you know what this is like.
I also know a lot of other people who have moved house. Whether it is moving to another town or state, or even country, or just moving around the corner, there is always one thing about moving: You can’t take everything with you. Even if you take all your stuff with you, there are still things you leave behind: memories, good or bad, benefits or challenges of the house you are leaving, perhaps friends, neighbours, relationships, trees you have planted, experiences you have had in that house and the potential for those experiences to happen again in that house, or for new ones.
On the other hand, there are new neighbours and friends to be found, new stuff (probably from IKEA) to be put in the house, new memories to make and new experiences to be had. New gardens and more trees to plant.
Some things you take with you as they are, and other things change as you go. I know that each subsequent house we have lived in has seen a change in our family dynamic if for no other reason that our kids grow and change. Those things may have changed anyway, even if you didn’t move – the experiences of being a parent of a 3 year old is different to that of parenting a 13 year old regardless of the house you are in – but there is no telling what those changes may have been – different friends means that you are different yourself, so the simple fact that you interact differently with them means that you are changed, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.
This is true no matter what move you make.
The question is, what are you willing to leave behind in order to move forward? What can you leave behind and what must you take? When we moved house, we had to take the kids (the next tenants probably wouldn’t have appreciated us leaving them there). That is a no brainer – of course we would take the kids, but we left the pet we buried in the garden and the trees we planted in the hope of eating their fruit. As I sit here writing this, I am in a café with a coffee beside a fire. If I choose to leave, which I will do eventually, I leave behind the warmth of the fire and the possibility of another coffee. You see, it isn’t a matter of not leaving, but of knowing what has to be left behind, but knowing that it is okay to leave it, even if it is something we love.
Jesus talks about this and we see it throughout the Bible. People leave things behind and follow God, or follow their dreams, or for any number of reasons. If the future is going to be better than the past, we must do so. If, however, we see that the future is not better than the past, then we will not move.
So my question is this: is your future brighter than your past? If you are following in the footsteps of Jesus, then the answer is unequivocally yes. If that is the case, then what are you willing to leave behind in order to get there?
If the answer is no, that your future is not brighter than your past, and if you are not willing to leave something behind for it, then I suggest that you are probably not moving in the right way.