When my kiddos take a fall or have a minor bonk I always catch myself saying “Shake it off! You’re ok. Just shake it off.” Now please know that this isn’t for the serious stuff – just for the little bumps and trips that a normal kid takes. A head over heels tumble down the stairs isn’t a shake it off.
What I’m really trying to say to them is, “You aren’t hurt so just forget about it and let it go. Move on to the next thing.” I was recently reminded that sometimes I need to do the very same thing. I need to just walk away from people, circumstances, issues, or activities that aren’t adding meaning or growth to my life.
When Jesus sent the disciples out into the world to witness and minister He gave them a series of instructions about what to do and how. But He also instructed them on when and how to leave a place. I think sometimes we forget that it’s ok to move on. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s necessary.
Matthew 10:14 & 15
Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in they day of judgment for that city.
Shake the dust off? Even the dust? I mean what’s the big deal about the dust? I think what Jesus was saying was to not take even a piece of the negativity or disobedience with you. Leave it all behind at once and move on.
I think there’s also a shadow of “Don’t even look back” in there too. You remember Sodom and Gomorrah, right? Lot was told to flee and not to look back. His wife missed that part and in a longing for a little piece of the life she was leaving, looked back. Turned to a pillar of salt, I think it’s safe to say that she was stuck there. Much like we get stuck when we continue to look behind us as we try to move on.
Try this for me. In a soft safe space, walk straight forward while looking over your shoulder. How did it go? I going to guess that a few things happened. First you walked very slowly and cautiously; maybe even shuffled your feet forward instead of boldly stepping out. Second, I’m going to guess you didn’t necessarily walk in a straight line. Is it possible that you walked to the left if you were looking over your left shoulder or vice versa?
And that brings us to the challenge. Is there a change that needs to be made in your life? And if there is, are you willing to fully commit to the change? Are you willing to step out, shake off the dust and move into the next phase of life? Are you willing to look ahead and put your focus on God in your future rather than the life in the past?
I would never dream of calling this easy. Many conditions tie us to our past; friendships, responsibilities, memories, small pieces of joy that keep clinging to us. But many conditions free us as well; hurts, suppression (failure to grow), negativity in general. Shaking all that off and moving away can be bittersweet or freeing. The point is if God has called a person to move on, they will have no peace until they shake themselves free and move.
Peace be with you even as you move.