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Letting go with intention brings faith, peace

My one word for 2018, intentional,  has been brewing in my heart and mind for the past six weeks or so. As I’ve planned for and prayed about the coming year, the Lord has led me time and again to the reminder that all the stuff, all the activity, all the accomplishments, all of everything isn’t worth anything unless it’s focused on what matters most.

How does this idea of being intentional play out in my everyday life and ministry? What does it mean for my goals and dreams?

These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I’ve planned and prepared for 2018. Slowly I’ve felt the Lord opening my eyes to a hint of what He is calling me to in the coming year — and honestly, it isn’t anything like what I’d first imagined.

The Lord has been reminding me how important it is to let go of the past. These are two verses I have been reading over as a reminder to myself:

“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

I’m a remember-er. My brain has this never-ending loop of all the things I’ve done wrong, all the ways I’ve failed, all the times I didn’t do what I should or could have done. That loop of remembering is often what keeps me from stepping out in faith.  All my past failures, all my previous mistakes, can hold me hostage.

The Lord has been reminding me that while those things are a piece of who I am, they are not the fullness of who I am.  My past doesn’t define me any more than my present or future. He has given me my identity: child of God! Chosen, redeemed, loved and accepted (Isaiah 43:1-4).

While I must learn from my past, I need not dwell there. A huge part of being intentional is identifying the important lessons and then “reaching forward to what is ahead” as I keep my eyes on the prize of knowing Him (Philippians 3:8-10).

Maybe you need to let go of some things in your past too? One of my favorite lyrics is from a song written by our dear friend Phil Michael.  He penned this sentence and it has long resonated in my heart — “There is strength for each tomorrow and grace for yesterday; all we have to do is speak His name.”

What a powerful reminder for all of us: that we can trust all our past failures and even successes to the One who holds our every day.