This weekend I had the awesome opportunity to attend my church’s woman’s conference in Johnstown, OH. The New Vintage Conference at Faith Life Church was everything one could expect. As always, my church knows how to put on an event. I was blessed to be there and people came from other states, cities and countries.
I was in a workshop about using the creativity God gave you for the kingdom and I noticed that one of the attendees mentioned she was from my hometown. I made a mental note of it, and enjoyed the workshop. Later in the day I ran into the woman in the bathroom and in a moment of trying to make small talk, I introduced myself.
“Hello, I grew up in Marion.” The woman looked at me like I was crazy. It was an awkward moment and standing at the sink I was trying to keep the conversation light. “I heard you say you lived in Marion. I grew up there.” She smiled finally understanding what I was saying. I continued, “I went to School A (Not the name of my High School, but to save confusion I’ll call hers School B)” Suddenly I saw her face turn and stare at me. It was as if she’d swallowed something bitter.
“Hey,” she nodded toward someone else she was there with. “She graduated from School A” This was beyond being an awkward conversation. I had just been trying to be sociable. The other girl looked at me as if she’d swallowed poison. In girl talk code I could tell that I’d just been labeled as the one that was wearing a scarlet letter according to them.
“Well I went to School B.” She responded. It was obvious from her body language she felt the B school was superior. I was trying to smile. The schools have been rivals in the town for as long as I could remember. “I have to say I get very excited whenever we beat you in football, and I laughed a little too hard that School A is having a horrible football season.” The look on my face probably resembled one of a train wreck. I was shocked I was having this conversation. I’ve been out of high school for 20 years this year. Why was this girl so hung up on petty rivalries? I looked at her again, she didn't look like she was that much younger than me.
“Oh well I don’t really pay much attention to all of that.” I responded trying to force a smile, yet also trying to figure out how to get out of the bathroom quickly. This girl had just heard my pastor preach on letting go of your past and I’m encountering some crazy small town rivalry in the bathroom. Which, this was one of those moments that reminded me that I wasn’t in living in Florida anymore.
“Well, I still live in Marion so I am involved in it all the time.” Her response to me was as if I was the crazy one. I quickly tried to turn the conversation to some old friends I knew that went to School B and politely exited the bathroom trying not to laugh hysterically at myself. Truly I am not trying to judge this woman. I am praying for her. It was obvious she was passionate about her alumni.
I mention this today in the blog, because we all carry things from our past whether we mean to or not. Sometimes we don’t even think about these things. These petty things can affect our futures if we don’t let them go. In my odd scenario before think about how this woman automatically put walls up to me just because I went to a rivalry school system. Truthfully I was not offended and laughed about it. Too many people go through their lives carrying baggage that we’ve taken on from our lives. Too many people are carrying these bags like extra weights. They are wearing out themselves trying to carry these bags through every little thing. There is freedom in letting putting those bags down. There is freedom in walking toward your future without all these little things.
Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,”
I know it can be hard to let go of mindsets and strongholds, but as silly as the conversation was with me in the bathroom some of those crazy things we hold onto are just as wacky. Let go of your past. Push forward to your destiny. Life is just too short to spend any more time in your life holding onto these things.
God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!