Friday, November 9, 2018

Finding Peace in Goodbye

From November 2016 through May 2017, I kept a small countdown calendar in my daily planner. One sheet with the months mapped out, a reverse number in the corner of each box. I highlighted each day with a blue pen, and my sheet eventually became a tranquil sea of light blue.

I left my job that I had for four years. I was excited about moving on, but I dreaded the final goodbye.

On the last week of my job, one of my coworkers tried to say goodbye and compliment me for my help, and I all but shooed him away. We were able to laugh about it, but I hoped he didn't notice the sheen of tears in my eyes.

The truth is, I'm TERRIBLE with goodbyes. I'm convinced this started back in my childhood, and without getting too heavy today, it stems from my oldest and deepest fear of abandonment. I avoid goodbyes like the plague. If I've ever sneaked out of a party or event I've attended with you, now you know why.

Goodbyes bring me face-to-face with several uncomfortable truths. One is that things will never be the same again. For instance, I will keep in touch with the friends I've made at work, but it will never be the same as hearing their stories and seeing their faces on a daily basis.  I will miss them so much, more than they know.

Another truth that makes goodbyes so hard: it means the unknown future is stares me in the face, and that tempts me to fear. Even though I was ready to leave the job, I felt comfortable in my daily rhythms, and I knew they would be disrupted. I really prefer being comfortable to being you get me?

Yet, the reason I had peace in that goodbye is knowing it is God's time for me to make a change. When I wrote my book Newness of Life, I spent a long time contemplating this scripture:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

The truth about seasons is they change. As much as I dislike change, I'm realizing that change is a normal, even healthy, part of life this side of heaven. Change brings goodbyes, but it also brings hellos to new and better things.

I found peace in that goodbye because God appointed an end to that season so another season could begin. And now I'm living in that new season, which is much better than I could have imagined.

Because I rely on God and trust in him, my goodbyes are getting a little easier. Knowing that God appoints the times of my life helps me navigate my transitions with stronger faith.

I pray that if you are facing a goodbye, you will be able to see the good in it. God is with you in the goodbye, and he'll show you new things on the other side of it, friend. 

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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Reflection questions:

1. Are goodbyes hard for you too? Why or why not?

2. How has God helped you find peace in a goodbye?


  1. A time for everything, indeed! Even the seasons teach us not to hold on too tightly today. I've probably said more than the average number of goodbyes or see ya' laters, but I can almost always look back and find the good and the God in them! Great post, Sarah!

    1. Thank you Liz! Read and shared your post today, friend. Blessings to you!

  2. God bless you in this new season! I understand the dread of goodbyes and big changes.

  3. Goodbyes are very difficult for me also. The oxymoron for me is that I also need closure.
    Currently we are going through a major transition at my church. Goodbyes with interim positions are still just as difficult when you've already made a "connection" with that person.
    I just keep praying and KNOW that God is in the details and has plans that are bigger and better than my hopes and dreams. I trust Him in all things. He patiently grows us through the goodbyes.

  4. This was helpful. Just learned a beloved, go-getter 83 yo Christian saint of an aunt has metastatic cancer. This will be a hard goodbye.


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