You’re probably familiar with the words I used for the title of this post.
If you’re not familiar with them then just look up Ecclesiastes 3
“A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;”
Allow me to explain the reason for this post’s title..
There comes a time when you have to move on… move on from friendships, romantic relationships, painful memories that keep you stuck in ‘yesterday’ instead of ‘today,’ jobs, and even comfort.
Moving on is never easy, at least for me it’s not. Over the course of ONE year I’ve cried so many tears, battled with mental illness, have suffered loss, have made terrible choices, found myself crying out to God to hold me and keep me strong, and have continued being pulled out of my comfort zone.
I’ve also had to be downright honest with myself, embrace things I was afraid to embrace, let go of situations I couldn’t control, and yes… even release certain friendships out of my life.
Releasing people who I had kinda always thought (and maybe even hoped) would always be a part of my life has been a tough one. Matter of fact… it has to be the one thing that has troubled me the most lately.
Discerning whether certain relationships/friendships would benefit or hinder my growth, my marriage, my faith, and my journey to healing was not easy.
I desire to be kind, patient, loving, forgiving, and understanding to certain people; I give them opportunities to change; I set boundaries; I give them alternatives in hopes that they may choose right.
But there comes a time when I finally have to understand that my desire to grow and to change isn’t exactly everyone else’s desire. There comes a time when excuses and poor choices must be dealt with directly.
Yes, sometimes I have to even allow people to experience the consequences of their choices. Without these necessary consequences, they might continue causing pain (even though they may not intentionally mean to) or even believe that a million ‘sorry’s without genuine heartfelt repentance is all that’s needed to make amends.
Forgiving people doesn’t mean I trust them or accept their behavior. I forgive them so I can let go and move on with my life.
Is this in any way easy? No.
Even as they beg, tell you that they will do the right thing to make amends, and tell you how sorry they are for hurting you, as much as you’re tempted to believe them, you know they won’t change even with all their well-thought-out words of sympathy and concern.
It’s tempting to think of all the fun times you’ve had with these people. It’s hard to think about what life may look like without them in the picture. You go from having engaging conversations, small dinners, and giving and receiving support from them & then, in the blink of an eye, you’re telling them that you have to move on & that you wish them well.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve had to run to God, ask Him if my decision was the right one, and share with Him of the slight guilt I felt for not giving these friends more opportunities to change…
…only to be affirmed, encouraged, and shown why these relationships wouldn’t work out.
Even in the midst of uncertainty and pain, I have found freedom & joy. I’ve discovered I can trust the discernment God has given me. And while this situation was disturbing, I can’t deny that it has helped me grow.
I move forward with no bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness towards the people I’ve released from my life. Do I feel sad? Yes. Angry? Oh yes. Will I be okay? Most definitely!
This isn’t the end. It is simply a new beginning.