Kelly Clarkson sings a song—well many of them, actually—about moving forward, being stronger, and learning lessons. (Just one of the reasons I'm sure we'd get along.) One of them in particular is about getting rid of the garbage in your life and moving on.
"Picked all my weeds, but kept the flowers," she says.
I'm not one of those people who kept in touch with everyone from high school. In fact, my friends pool is rather tiny. (Besides all of you, of course!) It's not because I'm no good at Facebook, it's not because I had a bad class, and it's not even because they were all weeds. It's because of me.
I was a much different person in high school. I could be persuaded to believe anything, even something that said, "You've got to do this to be accepted. Oh, and you'd better say this thing, walk this way, wear that, and only do this if you ever really want to be liked." I also used to believe that this was just "high school", the way things were. So, I didn't end up jail, I wasn't addicted to any drugs, and I never got mixed up with the "wrong crowd", but I sacrificed every brave, courageous, beautiful piece of me just to fit in.
Then, I packed my things and moved far away. Well, three hours, far. And, at the time, it was plenty far for me. It was just far enough that I could leave the girl behind who didn't have a backbone. I could leave the girl behind who had a reputation. I could leave her behind because I no longer wanted to be identified that way.
Yet today, as I look over pictures of old friends and see that so many of them remain tight, locked inside that click, I feel like maybe I was somehow never good enough for them. Somehow, I didn't do or say the right thing to be one of them, to still be part of their group.
What, the hell?
You'd have to be kidding me that I would ever, for one moment, believe I belonged there. You'd have to be freaking kidding, after all this time, all this progress, to say that I actually long for that life again.
It's little whispers like those that crush my new spirit. It's lies like those that make me question my identity as a child of the Most High God. Truthfully, I had to weed out an entire era of my life in order to move forward. I had to remove myself and remove those people and places from my life if I had any hopes of listening to and following God. They weren't all bad people, they weren't all bad choices. But they belong to a time when I had no idea who I was and no idea who I was created to be.
I can expect to not fit in. I can expect to be different, to sometimes feel isolated and left out. I can expect it because I choose a greater way of life. I can also expect that my God longs for, pines for, and loves me. I can expect that He will be the one to stand beside me when others don’t. I can expect to be in the comfort of His embrace when I choose to run away from the world. And because I choose this, I must choose to be a weeder, a runner.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. Psalm 19:5
It's tempting to look back and see what used to be, but that usually causes a person to fall. It's tempting to go back and fix all the things you couldn't, but then you're not really moving forward, right?
I choose to be a runner. I choose to weed out the negative, bad influences and terrible choices in my life if that means moving forward to something greater, something more eternal, something that isn’t of this world but is of an awesome, incredible, loving Father.