Updated: Nov 17, 2021
My older brother and I were talking spiritual one afternoon. Though our communications are spread out due to busy lives, when we are able to have a lingering conversation it often involves sharing something that God is personally speaking into our hearts. I get blessed when I spiritually converse with him. He's one of my favorite people to do this with because he's so full of God's Word and the wisdom that results from such fullness.
In the context of something he was sharing that particular day, he relayed that he had an old hoodie, a most comfortable one that he had possessed for quite a while. It was very worn and noticeably frayed, but, even so, he wore it all the time since it “still fits ok.” And really—truth be told—because at the time he didn't have another one.
At that particular moment, there was no back-up hoodie.
However, he had recently come to the obvious realization that he needed a new hoodie, convinced that the need for change could not be resisted any longer; action would need to be taken. It was time. Time to set aside the old hoodie—intended only to faithfully serve a good purpose for a designated season of life—in order to make room for a new one.
My brother wasn’t really talking about a hoodie that day, even though he was.
Sometimes, there are seasons when our all-good, all-knowing, all-wise God brings us to a place like this in our life. A place where we finally have to lay down the “old hoodie," the one that’s faded and threadbare . . .that’s been a part of us for oh so long. . . that’s working but really isn’t, so that we can make room for the new. Usually, there’s nothing easy about this because that hoodie represents a significant part of our identity. Comfortable—in spite of its lack—we’ve become with its familiarity and feel. And all who personally know us know that’s our hoodie.
But deep inside—if we can be gut honest with ourselves—we know that its purpose in our life has been served. That its season has come to an end. It’s just the knowing and the acting upon what we know are two different realities.
Because . . . it’s not easy at all to part with a once functional, well-loved hoodie.
In our being on mission with God in our sojourn on this earth, there are times when what was once a perfect fit is no longer the perfect fit. When something that once functioned so wonderfully loses its prime functionality. These are often some of the hardest—and sometimes most confusing—seasons of the journey. They really are.
There might be a myriad of reasons why this reality occurs but, regardless, when this happens, there’s no use to keep holding on, thinking or believing—trying one way or another to convince ourselves—that the hoodie just might revive its worn-out self, or all of a sudden miraculously fit or function as it once did. No, that thing, that relationship, that job, ministry, or mission has changed too much. Or, perhaps, the greater change has been in us. Sometimes, it’s both. But in these moments, the whys and the what once was are really secondary to the what now is.
Simply put: There’s just been too much evolution, too much transformation for business as usual to carry on. Though a very hard place to be when this happens, because it can be a time of vulnerability, uncertainty, and fear—even a time when bitterness vies for control—if we’re truly seeking God and listening only for his voice (abiding in his Word and obeying, and lining up our spirit‘s gnawing sense with the undeniable truths of Scripture and the realities of our circumstances), God will bring us to a point where we have the peace to accept that change is necessary. . .and the courage to take the initial steps. Then, in time, as we continue to follow his leading, though we might not know what our “next hoodie” will exactly be, he will prove Romans 8:28 to be most true.
He’s just such a good God like that.
There’s no denying that it’s challenging—yes, even sometimes painful—to let go of something or someone that was once a beautiful, perfect fit. To relinquish something or someone that once represented the best version of ourselves or purpose. But if we don’t let go, we leave no room for God to usher in the new. We leave no room for him to showcase himself as the Great Provider, Sustainer, and Manager of our lives.
In a new, deeper way.
In a way that will result in abundant purpose, fulfillment, and joy.
This is why we have to lay down the “old hoodie,” trusting that the new one that God will so wisely and graciously provide will be just the right one for us.