Moving Forward Also Means Leaving Behind

“We are all on the path, exactly where we need to be.” – Sisters of Charity, Houston, Texas

“We are all on the path, exactly where we need to be.” – Sisters of Charity, Houston, Texas

I recently spent a day in silence and solitude at a local spiritual retreat center where I participated in labyrinth prayer for the first time. It is modeled after a famed labyrinth in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France that spirals in and out through quadrants symbolizing our walk with God. The mystics say that this pattern reminds the pilgrims that the journey of faith is rarely straightforward.  Instead, we move forward one step at the time trusting God as our story winds through unexpected twist and turns.

And here I am again.  An unexpected twist and turn in my journey.

Through a series of connections and relationships, I was offered a position on staff with The Woodlands United Methodist Church with hours, a schedule, and responsibilities that both excite me and fit perfectly into my seminary schedule. I have a new badge, a new office, new boss, new staff, new services, and a new adventure.  While I am celebrating the doors God is opening for me, learning from the pastors of the second largest Methodist Church in the country, the incredible experience I am gaining in this wonderful church God is allowing me to part of, there has also been some anxiety, fear, and even sadness.

And it hit me this Sunday on the drive home..

Moving forward also means leaving behind.  A loss of the familiar. A loss of people and places that we grew to love and who were instrumental in our story.   To embrace the new things God has for us means we have to release the old. 

In her current bestseller, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, Lori Gottlieb writes “We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.” 

It’s in all of us to resist change, to be afraid of the unknown places God might take us.  To be fearful of what He might be asking us to give up as He writes our stories.  But Scripture time and time again points to the faithfulness of God to those who walk with Him.  Enoch. Noah. Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 NIV

I have no idea where this is going, what God is doing, or how He will use this time and experience in the future.  I’m taking it one day at the time. Trusting God on this crazy labyrinth of faith, twisting and turning, guiding me forward one step at the time.

“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement and transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path…exactly where you are meant to be right now. And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”

Thanks for journeying with me, friends!


Luann Riley