I love the next thing. I love beginnings. I’m simply wired for them. But lately, I’m thinking about endings.
This is something I’ve talked to a lot of my clients about this year:
- To begin a new chapter, there must be an ending to the current chapter of our lives and ministries.
- To go to the next level in our lives, we must leave the current level behind.
A necessary ending.
As writers and speakers, it’s easy to say “yes” to lots of good things. But should we say “no” to some good things, so we can say “yes” to better things?
Sometimes things work for us in one season of our life, but don’t serve us well in the next. Or they don’t work at all.
Some necessary endings involve relationships with people. A toxic friendship. Or workplace. Or even a church.
Maybe it’s a bad habit. Or a bad rhythm. Or no rhythm at all. Whatever it is, you can’t begin a new, better habit unless you end the old one.
Maybe it’s comparison. This is one thing I realize I need to end this year. I find myself constantly comparing myself, my life, my work, my significance, my whatever, to someone else’s.
It’s time to end that. You can never enjoy the life you have if you’re constantly comparing it to someone else’s life that seems better, or more significant, or more (fill in the blank here.)
So, it stops today. This is my necessary ending.
What about you? What’s your necessary ending?
- Maybe a grudge. It’s time to forgive. And move forward.
- Maybe it’s self-loathing, or negative self-talk. It’s time to end that kind of thinking and reflect on how much God loves you. He made you after all. And He loves you dearly.
- Maybe it’s guilt over past sins and mistakes. End it. Embrace God’s grace and mercy and walk in freedom.
- Maybe it’s a job. I mean it pays the bills, but it’s sucking the life out of your soul. Make the decision to end it now, then start the hard work tomorrow of replacing it with something that fits you, that fulfills you, that’s in line with how God wired you.
- Maybe it’s a relationship. There’s manipulation, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse. legalism, narcissism, competition, something toxic. Maybe it’s time for an ending.
Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying you need to go out and divorce your spouse, or leave your church, or disown your family. But maybe you do need to establish some healthy boundaries. Stop acquiescing. Start speaking up.
A necessary ending.
I was thinking about Jesus today. Did he ever make a necessary ending?
Well, yes. He had to end being a carpenter, and start being a Messiah. I mean, He was always the Messiah, but at some point, woodworking had to end so traveling and disciple-making could begin.
How about toxic relationships, particularly spiritually abusive ones?
At one point Jesus called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and his disciples were concerned that He had offended them. Jesus response? “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14) Leave them or end up in a pit.
A necessary ending.
The apostle Paul put it this way when describing toxic people, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
Have nothing to do with them. Quite the necessary ending.
Friend, think long and hard about some endings. Pray about it. Let God guide the process. But don’t be afraid to end some things. They might be the things that are holding you back from the new thing God wants to do in and through your life!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19
Question: What is one thing that you need to end before you can begin something new?
Powerful message one I’ll be praying about
Thank you Tracy!
One of the toughest things I’ve had to do as a leader is to say “No” to some things, even good things, in order to say “Yes” to something God is leading me to do. None of us can do it all and this post on necessary endings is so helpful and encouraging. Thanks, Bruce!
Thank you Carol!