I love the next thing. I love beginnings. I’m simply wired for them. But as we close out 2022, I’m thinking about endings.

We just finished moving out of our house in Big Cove that we’d lived in for 16 years. It’s kind of surreal and not a little sad. But if we’re going to eventually move out to our farm in Blountsville, AL, we had to end our tenure at this house.

A necessary ending.

It’s something that I’ve talked to a lot of my clients about this year. To begin a new chapter, there has to be an ending to the current chapter. To go to the next level in our life, we have to leave the current level behind.

A necessary ending.

Sometimes things work for us in one season of our life, but don’t serve us well in the next. Or don’t work at all.

Some necessary endings involve relationships with people. A toxic friendship. Or workplace. Or even a church.

Maybe it’s a bad habit. Or a bad rhythm. Or no rhythm at all. Whatever it is, you can’t begin a new, better habit unless you end the old one.

So as we end 2022, what are some things that you need to end before you begin 2023?

Maybe it’s comparison. This is one thing I realize I need to end this year. I find myself constantly comparing myself, my life, my work, my significance, my whatever, to someone else’s. It’s time to end that. You can never enjoy the life you have if you’re constantly comparing it to someone else’s life that seems better, or more significant, or more (fill in the blank here.)

So it stops today. This is my necessary ending.

What about you? What’s your necessary ending for 2022?

Maybe a grudge. It’s time to forgive. And move forward.

Maybe it’s self-loathing, or negative self talk. It’s time to end that kind of thinking and reflect on how much God loves you. He made you after all. And He loves you dearly.

Maybe it’s guilt over past sins and mistakes. End it. Embrace God’s grace and mercy and walk in freedom.

Maybe a job. I mean it pays the bills, but it’s sucking the life out of your soul. Make the decision to end it now, then start the hard work tomorrow of replacing it with something that fits you, that fulfills you, that’s in line with how God wired you.

Maybe it’s a relationship. There’s manipulation, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse. legalism, narcissism, competition, something toxic. Maybe it’s time for an ending. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying you need to go out and divorce your spouse, or leave your church, or disown your family. But maybe you do need to establish some healthy boundaries. Stop acquiescing. Start speaking up.

A necessary ending.

I was thinking about Jesus today. Did he ever make a necessary ending? Well, yes. He had to end being a carpenter, and start being a Messiah. I mean, He was always the Messiah, but at some point wood-working had to end so traveling disciple-making could begin. How about toxic relationships, particularly spiritually abusive ones? At one point Jesus called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and his disciples were concerned that He had offended them. Jesus response? “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14) Leave them or end up in a pit. A necessary ending.

The apostle Paul put it this way when describing toxic people, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

Have nothing to do with them. Quite the necessary ending.

So before you start 2023, think long and hard about some endings. Pray about it. Let God guide the process. But don’t be afraid to end some things. They might be the things that are holding you back from the new thing God wants to do in and through your life! 

“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