What Can you Leave Behind?

“What can you leave behind?”
Three years ago if you had asked me this question, I would have hesitated. Shifting in my chair I may have rattled off a few easy-to-part-with items, but not anything like what we would inevitably sacrifice:
The house.That was the dream. The one we thought we’d live in until it was paid for. With the beautiful master retreat and the cookie cutter neighborhood that was a young family’s haven. We sold it, and never looked back. 
The security and promise of long-term stability. Even though his job wasn’t perfect, and the culture was less-than-healthy. It was the hope that if we stayed the course we would have a good financial future. We walked away, even though we knew it was a risk.
The circle of family and friends.Mostly friends that were like family. Those who showed up when the call came from the doctor, who loved our children as their own, who would truly give us the shirt off their back if ever we asked. We hugged them goodbye, and drove away.
The working network of my own. With the status and relationships. The people whose lives had intersected with mine and made me better, and hopefully they could say the same of me as well. It was hard to leave what I had spent a great deal of time and energy building, but in the end it became one more thing that I needed to let go of.
The choice was hard. The sacrifices were real. To be honest, it was much harder than our previous 3 cross-country moves.
Even with the allure of sunshine, palm trees and beautiful beaches, it was still difficult to walk away. But this I’ve learned, and I know as truth:

In order to move forward, we have to turn our back to the past. To start something new, you have to let go of the old. The process of a growth requires regular pruning.

Maybe you know the type of pain I’m talking about. Having to walk away from something successful, or someone that you love. You have been in a place of rejecting one thing in order to take hold of something better. You know that the sacrifice was worth it.
But perhaps you are reading these words and you don’t. You’ve never made the hard choice. To walk away. To prune the dead limbs so that life can flow to the rest of the tree. And the thought makes you sick – the idea of walking away, ending the relationship, or giving up something good to chase something better.
And I understand your fear. I know it well.
But what I’ve experienced on the other side has been well worth the sacrifice.
The house, we learned, was just a house. Our home is where we choose to make it, and is determined by what happens inside the four walls, not how it is decorated, or what the neighborhood looks like.
The security in the long-term plan, was false. We are not promised tomorrow. And remaining in a place of stagnation, when you are a creative person, would have meant a miserable life.
The friends that we left, are life-long. The conversations pick up right where they left off, and when we make it back, people drop their agendas to welcome us with open arms.
And the career that I walked away from, has been rebuilt here. And more importantly, the identity that I placed in that job and those relationships has been stripped away. In fact, these words you’re reading… I’m convinced if we hadn’t moved I never would have pursued this venture.
We needed a physical move to shake up our lives. Bring our family closer together. Strengthen our marriage. Remind us of the gifts and passions that had been dormant in our hearts for far too long.
And so, I encourage you, what do you need to leave behind?  What is holding you back, and what do you need to prune from your life?