Separation /sepəˈrāSHən/ (noun) The action or state of moving or being moved apart.
That’s the dictionary definition of separation. I dare say, no one likes it, at least not at first. Maybe never. Eventually, one is able to look back and (perhaps) see where separating was beneficial but that doesn’t make it feel any better. Nevertheless, separation needs to happen. For me. For you. For everyone. Be it from a person, place or thing. Separation is necessary. Necessary evil, maybe. Necessary blessing, for sure.
Well, I’m on the precipice of this bitter sweet, the time has come, pack your stuff, it’s time to go, blessing. The, somewhat, interesting part is that I’m not separating from one thing but a quite a few. I’m parting from a person, a place and a thing…or things (I should say). I’m moving from a house filled with loved ones, a place that I’ve found comfort, joy, laughter, a place I’ve called home. I’m leaving love and tender hearts behind for what God has put ahead of me, even if I can’t see it yet. However, before I do that, I’m selling my belongings, packing what I can’t bear to part with and giving away the rest. Being the sentimental fool that I am, this is a major undertaking. I love my things and they all hold some type of sentiment, no matter how minute. God gave the instruction long ago to “purge” but I didn’t listen, not right away. Now, only weeks from “D” day, I’m trying to rid myself of all that I’ve been holding on to for years. This includes material possessions, emotional attachments and parts of my identity that I’d wrapped up in all my “stuff,” packed in boxes and called them Me.
There has been a level of liberation in this process and I’ve hardly emptied the vault. In doing this, however, I’ve realized that my identity is not encased, enwrapped or entangled in the things that I own. I suppose everyone has this ‘epiphany’ when they start trashing things but it’s a realization worth mentioning. I sold this little antique night stand that I’ve had since the age of ten. When I told a friend of mine, she was mortified. “But that’s you! I can’t believe you sold that. You should’ve kept it,” she said. I responded with a shrug of the shoulders. It didn’t feel like that big of a deal to me. After all, it’s just stuff. Apart from that, the night stand wasn’t me. It wasn’t something I’d picked out for myself or primed and painted. I’d never personalized it or done anything to it that reflected my personality. So, in truth, it wasn’t me at all. It’s just a random piece of furniture I’ve had for a long time.
They sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. Acts 2:45 (American Standard Version)
A few months ago, I got rid of my car. A car I’d driven for twelve years. The wheels fell off, I put them back on. The engine bombed, I got it rebuilt. I had no intent to get rid of it, ever, even amid offers to buy it. Now that it’s gone, it’s one less thing to fret over as I move into the unexpected. It turned out not to be as difficult as I’d expected. As an added bonus, I’ve become aware that the less stuff I have, the less I have to worry about. Ideally, I’d like to move with a sparse five boxes and a bed, but I can’t pretend to be so willing to divest myself of that much.
Separation /sepəˈrāSHən/ 2. the process of distinguishing between two or more things.
Distinguishing lines between my life, my lessons, my path and my favor is also a part of this great shift. We all have things that are meant for us and us alone. Though we often wish to take others with us—other people, other things—sometimes the journey requires us to leave behind things for which we’ve cherished. Relationships, love, possessions, careers, dreams, even. Considering the people we love, we often times feel like there’s a space for them to travel with us, wherever we may go, but that’s not always the case.
I’ve given God the reigns on most of my ‘life strings,’ and he’s drawn definitive lines of where my life has, must and will separate from others. One of my best friends, for whom we’d been through much life together, was removed from my life earlier this year. I won’t paint a rosy picture and tell you that I accepted this divide or that we parted amicably, acknowledging God’s great path for our lives which were set in different directions. That’s not how it happened. That’s not my reality. I resisted. I cried. I misunderstood. I hurt. I still hurt for that lost friendship and I also still hold love for my dear friend. I still miss my friend and have to keep from picking up the phone and dialing one of the three telephone numbers I know from memory. Separating isn’t easy and this is one of the times where it feels more like an unfair evil than a necessary one.
Now, it’s happening again. This divide, however, feels more like a divorce for which I, unfortunately, have a personal reference point. I have to divvy up the things we’ve accumulated. Untangle the lives weaved together by time and shared space. Quell the desire to say yes and summon the courage to say no. Even with God as my spine, it is still hard to stand in his strength. At times, I recoil and sometimes hide from the responsibility, but as He is a God of his word, I want to be true to mine. Even with that, my expectations were to feel the sting on moving day but I didn’t expect it to hurt so much and certainly not before I’d even packed a box. I have moments where I’m anxious to get on with it and reluctant to go anywhere, all at the same time.
Nevertheless, separation is necessary. Necessary evil, sometimes. Necessary blessing, always. We have to find trust in God’s process.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (New International Version)
Trusting in what you cannot see isn’t easy when we are taught and live in a world that says otherwise. However, nearly from the moment I concede to do as God has instructed, he finds a way to oblige, if not reward, my obedience. One layer after another, he reveals things to me. Sometimes he answers the why, sometimes the what, others times he answers the where, but never at the same time (at least not to me).
I’ve seen what God can do, how his plans have come to life right in front of me. I’ve watched him move in unexpected ways, through narrow spaces, blasting my dark places with his glorious light. I believe God is interactive; the more hands-on we are with him, the better he responds to us. That said, I trust God with his plan—much better than I trust my own—and trust that whatever separation he deems for this ever-changing life of mine to be vital.
What might God be urging you to separate from?
~ The Separated Soul