She’s been called the Millennial Martha Stewart. And perhaps you may not have heard of Marie Kondo, but her Tidying Up show has taken Netflix by storm and even briefly invaded the Arp household itself. This last Saturday my wife and I had planned a lazy Saturday morning when all of a sudden she said to me, “I want to go through my clothes”. It was as if a bomb went off in the middle of our lazy day plans…well, not quite. You see the Kondo method is actually quite beautiful. It’s about simplicity and remembrance. So Crystal would take the old clothes, think about how they had served her well, thank them for their service and placed them in a garbage bag to be donated. By the end of the morning there were three large garbage bags full of clothes to be donated and a closet with a lot more space. And truthfully the New Year is a great place to make a fresh start. But one of the things I’ve come to realize that I think we struggle with when it comes to the new, is the ability to let go of the old.
This last Sunday we looked at a passage from Isaiah in regards to new things. Through the prophet, God reminds the people of Judah who He is and what He has done for them. He recalls their identity from the Exodus and how glorious it was, and then out of the blue asks them to let it go for something better. “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 Forget the former things. Not such an easy thing to do. Especially when they are good things. And yet, in order for God to show us the better/new things, we have to let go of the good/old things.
I think about what this means for many of us. We have such a hard time letting go of things period, whether they are good or bad. And we even sometimes get so stuck on what God has done we are not able to perceive what God is wanting to do now. You see, God is always calling us to newness of life and newness of experience. Although God may be the same yesterday, today and forever, His mercies and methods are always new. His character is unchanging, but the way in which God moves should always surprise us. Even in the Exodus story, when God gives His name, He hints at our inability to predict His nature and action. “‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am” – Exodus 3:13-14 God said from the outset, that He will be whatever He will be. And so maybe we need to let go of a bit more. Maybe it is okay to even let go of the good for the better. For in so doing, we remember the good God has done, and we open ourselves to the better that God is already doing in the world.