When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Deuteronomy 1

Playdate protocol.

That’s what I review with my daughters in the last 5 minutes before we exit our minivan and enter their friend’s home.

Do not fight with each other.

Say please and thank you.

Clean up your messes.

Do not fight with each other.

Do show respect to her mom and call her Mrs. _____ and obey what she tells you.

Do make sure you know where the bathroom is.

Do not fight with each other (I’m sensing a theme, here……)

And, when it is time to go, thank them for having you over and go.  Do not delay.  Do not whine about leaving.  Do not take 40 minutes putting on your shoes. Do not ignore my presence.  Do not invite yourself over to their house tomorrow or beg me for a sleepover.  Do not ask me when the next playdate will occur as we are actually, technically still having a playdate at this very moment.  Do not run and hide, hoping I won’t find you and take you home.  Do not pull out more toys.  Do not whisper to your friend to climb into our minivan thinking that I won’t ask her to come out.

Saying goodbye.  That’s the hardest part of playing with a friend.

Oh, I’ll tell the truth, saying goodbye is one of the hardest life-skills—period—for children and adults.

I have my own issues with leaving.  After all, I dislike change.

Dislike?  Not quite the word, exactly.

More like:  Hate, detest, abhor….change.  Yes, that’s it.

I settle right into my comfortable routine, doing what I’ve always done, ministering how I’ve always ministered.  I take God’s call and keep on trekking, day after day after day in the same direction.

Then, He tells me it’s time for something new.

Time to say goodbye, pack my tent, and head off in a new direction.  Maybe even an unknown direction or at least an unfamiliar direction.

I’m tempted to hide or beg to stay or pretend I didn’t hear God’s call.  Anything, anything at all, other than actually embrace change.

Sometimes we refuse God’s invitation to step out of the old and step into the new.

We just keep right along, working as hard as ever doing the thing we love to do.

But He has moved on.  His favor has moved on.  His blessing, His direction, His guidance, His anointing has moved on.

And, what are we doing anyway?  Trying to work in our own strength and hold things together because we just don’t want to let go?  Because it hurts too much to relinquish that control and trust God with the future?

Maybe God has asked someone else to step up into that ministry, and we’re robbing them of the blessing of obedience because we won’t step down already and get out of the way.

Goodbye. 

God gives us permission to say it at times.  We say goodbye to ministries we love and relationships we adore, to jobs we’ve enjoyed and to seasons of our life that have grown cozy and comforting.

We say goodbye not because our ministry is ending, but because it is changing.  We say goodbye because God has called us to follow Him anew.

In Acts 20, we see how Paul calls his dear friends from Ephesian church together and tells them he’s moving on to Jerusalem, and he doesn’t expect to see them again.

Of course, they’d want him to stay.  He wasn’t just moving on in ministry; He was moving away from dear friends without the advantage of Facebook and email.

Yet, God called and Paul obeyed:

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship (Acts 20:36-38 ESV).

I’ve been praying over my own goodbyes….the places where God is telling me to move on, to let it go and strike out into the new.

That’s when I read this command God gave to Israel:

‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough.  It is time to break camp and move on.’ (Deuteronomy 1:6-7 NLT).

Have you lingered at this mountain long enough, content to rest here and set up camp?

If God has called you to break camp and move on….pack up your tent, say your goodbyes, and go.

Don’t fret or worry over what’s behind.  Leave that in God’s hands.  He’s got it.

Just go when He calls you to go, because you want to be with Jesus, always with Jesus, never lagging behind Him, always right by His side.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

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