5 Things God Will Do Before He Lets You Move On from Someone

1 Samuel 16:1

Here are 5 things that often happen before God lets you fully move on from someone in your heart.

1. Before God Lets You Move On from Someone, He Will Tell You to Stop Grieving After a Healthy Season of Grieving Has Past

God told Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. But then in 1 Samuel 15, King Saul disobeys God and thus the Lord rejects him as king. Samuel is very grieved by all this. Before God calls Samuel to anoint David to be the new king, he does allow Samuel to grieve. But eventually God let Samuel know when it was time to stop grieving so he could move forward with God into a new season. 1 Samuel 16:1 states:

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’”

In much the same way, grieving over a relationship that did not work out like you had hoped is healthy. To move on, you need to grieve first. But eventually God will tell you it’s time to stop grieving. Sadly, many people get stuck in an endless season of grieving and depression because of a past relationship that they wished would have turned out different.

Like Samuel, we have to trust God’s plan. We have to trust that if God is telling us to stop grieving and to let go of the past, that he has something even better in the future.

2. God Will Cause You to Move On from Someone in Your Past By Giving You the Ability to Fully Invest in the Season You Are in Now

As you continue to read in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel anoints David and from that point forward the Spirit of God was upon David (1 Samuel 16:13). When you get to 1 Samuel 17, David’s father sends him to check on his brothers who are following Saul into battle against the Philistines. When he’s there, he sees Goliath taunting God’s people. David will have none of this and he volunteers to go fight Goliath.

Saul tries to warn David that he is not capable of fighting Goliath because he is too young. David then explains that while he was in the field tending his father’s sheep, he repeatedly killed bears and lions who attacked the sheep, so he was confident God could empower him to kill this giant too. But notice this one little line in 1 Samuel 17:34 when David is speaking to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father.”

When you think about the timeline of events, this line is almost comical when you think about it. Just a few paragraphs before David said this to the king of Israel, it states, “And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper . . .” (1 Samuel 17:20). David was not lying when he said he “used to keep sheep for his father,” but the way he said it makes it seem like this was a long time ago rather than just that morning. Imagine if Saul then asked, “How long ago was that when you used to keep sheep for your father?” “O, well, a few hours ago. But I’m done with all that. Being here with the Lord’s army – I know this is what I’m meant for now.”

My point is, David was all in now. He wasn’t living in the past. He didn’t see himself as a little boy herding sheep anymore. It didn’t take him years to shed all the old labels he used to live under. He was now a warrior for the Lord.

Likewise, we need to learn to be all in. So many times we drift back and forth between seasons, not really knowing what God does or does not want for us. One day we say, “I’m ready to move on!” But then the next day we say, “I’m still broken. I can’t move on.” If you need more healing and grieving, there’s no shame in that. But eventually you will have grieved enough. God will heal you. But then you need to make the choice to fully move on from this person by entering a new season with the Lord.

In the morning, David was shepherd. By the afternoon, David fully committed to being a soldier. Eventually, when you need to transition from any season of life into a new one, you have to make that intentional decision to switch and then fully commit to what God is calling you to right now – no more looking back.

3. Before God Lets You Fully Move On from Someone in the Past, He Will Teach You What You Need to Learn from that Past Relationship

Now let’s rewind a little bit from where we are at in the story of David. While it’s completely true that in 1 Samuel 17 we see that David fully made the switch to being a soldier in God’s army, we also see evidence that David took the correct steps that God used to enable him to make this intentional choice to move into a new season.

It’s interesting to note that in 1 Samuel 16 before David’s full commitment to being a warrior, we see that God gave David an opportunity to get more first hand experience in the ways of the kingdom before fully moving him on from being a shepherd. Saul was being tormented by a spirit, so they enlisted David into his service because David was an excellent musician. 1 Samuel 16:23 states, “And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand.” When we get to 1 Samuel 17:14-15 it states, “David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.”

So before David just stayed in God’s army and was a full-time soldier, God have him some experience with the king, going back and forth between shepherding sheep and working in the kingdom. Not only that, when God did lead David to fight Goliath, he didn’t call David off the sofa onto the battle field. God taught David some battle lessons first before sending him into war. As 1 Samuel 17:34-37 explains:

But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.’ And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’”

There’s a logical transition here. God trained David first by teaching him to fight against the paw of lions and bears, but this was in preparation for the battle against this giant’s hand. My point here is that God wastes nothing. Before he will let you move into a new season, God first wants to teach you valuable lessons from this past relationship. The sooner you learn what God wants you to learn, the sooner God will move you on.

4. When It’s Time to Move On, God Will Give You the Ability to Avoid the Negative Noise Trying to Pull You Back Into the Past

Even when you are ready to fully move on, there will be people around you doing their best to keep you stuck in the past. The same thing happened to David when he sensed God’s call onto the battlefield. When David was gathering information about what was going on with Goliath, his oldest brother heard him and lashed out at him. In 1 Samuel 17:28-30 it states:

Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’ And David said, ‘What have I done now? Was it not but a word?’ And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.”

Did you notice what his brother did? He brought up David’s past. He said, “With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?” Not only did he bring up his past, he minimized it too. He made sure to say “few” sheep. His brother was basically saying, “Hey, don’t get any ideas of moving forward in life. Remember your place and where you come from. Go back.”

When you try to move on from someone you know God does not want you with, some way or the other you will be tempted with that same attack, “Go back.” But do what David did. He stuck up for himself but he also did not endlessly ague and get into a crazy family fight. He said what he needed to and then “turned away from him and towards another.”

If you know God is telling you to do the same, you have to do what David did when your past comes knocking, “turn away and turn toward another.” I don’t know what God has planned for you, but I know God has good planned for you. Turn from the past and follow God into your future.

5. When God Leads You to Fully Move On From Someone, He Will Help You Choose Faith Over Fear

Immediately after David turned away from his negative brother, 1 Samuel 17:31-32 states:

When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’”

It should have been a scary thing to leave the sheep to then face a giant trained to kill. But this is what made David different. It wasn’t his skill, his physical strength, or even his experience. Rather, it was his faith in God. While others focused on the man Goliath, David put his faith in God. 1 Samuel 17:45-47 states:

Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.’”

Not only did David fully move on from his past, he also looked at the future with faith. Notice he told Goliath what was going to happen before it happened.

I’m not saying you should proclaim the future or try to tell what the future holds. My point is that, like David, you need turn your eyes away from the past and let them look forward as faith fills your heart.

So if you want to move on from someone in your past, you have to look forward, faith has to fill your heart, and you have to believe that your Father in heaven will bring about his will for you if you follow him.