Could the “safety” of the familiar be stealing the “more” God has for you? “More” as in exceedingly, abundantly above anything you could even dare to dream to ask? (Eph 3:20)
I’ve recently been confronted with that choice. “What if” feels pretty scary when there is no going back if you take the risk of stepping into the unknown. It takes Godly courage to take that step. Not courage that I muster up within myself like The Little Engine That Could; but rather courage that is founded in who God has revealed Himself to be through Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and knowing that foundation is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). Knowing He is the Father who gives good gifts to His children and that He wants us to ask for them. (Matt 7:7-11)
What am I talking about here? It is being willing to let go of whatever is not working in your life even though it feels comfortable, familiar and less risky than the unknown. What is the offer in front of us that anyone should even consider such a risk?
He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
What it looked like for me recently was a choice about a relationship. Do I continue the way I always have so that I don’t risk losing what I do have with this person or do I trust God with my heart and with the relationship to risk open, honest communication not knowing how the other individual will respond.
I didn’t enter the matter lightly. I had spent much time in prayer about it asking God to show me the plank(s) in my own eye; dealt with what God showed me about my own planks and then sought godly counsel from friends whose walks with the Lord I respect. It all kept bringing me to the same point. I had to risk the familiar for the unknown unless I wanted to keep harvesting the same fruit. Fruit that was becoming poisonous to me and to the relationship.
While at a recent conference, I discovered that the eyes of my heart were focused on what only I could conceive and it wasn’t a pretty picture because that was constrained by my fears of “what ifs”. The speaker suggested when praying about a matter to ask God how He sees the situation and wait for whatever thought or image comes to mind. It seems like a simple concept but it had just not occurred to me to ask God how He views a situation rather than explaining to Him how I see it. So I asked. The image God showed me was very powerful and different than anything I had even considered possible. As I fixed the eyes of my heart on that image I could feel both hope and courage permeating my soul (will, intellect, emotions) and spirit. I did not know how God would bring the image to pass, but I knew I wanted what my Heavenly Father was offering and that no thought or purpose of God’s can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
I’m not going to share names here because this is my blog and not theirs. But I will tell you God is faithful! Was my heart pounding in my chest during the conversation – absolutely. Was it uncomfortable for each of us to raise the level of transparency in our relationship – unquestionably. But I am so thankful for the “more” God had and continues to have for both of us that I/we would have missed had I continued to opt for what was familiar and safe.
Do you know how baby eagles learn to fly? Their parents perch on a nearby branch with a choice morsel of food. Even eagles who are born to fly need some encouragement to risk leaving what is familiar! Then there is pilots. Think about all the time and training pilots go through to learn to be able to fly.
Would you agree that learning to fly (Isaiah 40:31) in our own lives involves risk, time and perseverance? Would you agree being able to soar when you come to the edge of the unknown is worth all three?
Risk – why do we avoid it so, when doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity? Our world teaches us in many ways that risk is a bad thing. Insurance companies make millions of dollars selling that mindset. The truth is, the only way to grow is to risk change.
Familiarity will try to tell you, that what you currently have is a known quantity and that’s got to be better than an unknown quantity. Really? My recent experience with relationships tells me otherwise. What about living with chronic illness and hating yourself; can that really be better than risking change?
Can taking the risk to look at what you believe about yourself, a situation or God and discovering where you have believed lies about any of them be a bad thing? How do you feel when someone lies to you? Doesn’t it make you angry? It does me. So wouldn’t you like to know where ever the enemy has deceived you with a lie and be freed from it by God’s truth?
Time – I’ve been taking “flying lessons” now for 14 years and I don’t see an end to the lessons in sight. Did you know pilots must be re-certified on a regular basis to continue to fly, as well as, receive specific, intensive training for every type of aircraft? As I encounter and face the many facets of living with chronic illness, I am recertified to fly every time I make the choice to risk trusting God’s heart for me, believing that His plans are to prosper me and not harm me to give me a hope and a future (Jer 29:11); believing that Jesus came to bring life and bring it abundantly (John 10:10).
Choosing to risk trusting God , His Word and His heart is me spreading my wings so that I can “catch the thermal” of God’s Holy Spirit who is every bit as real as that invisible undeniable force that caused me to rise up and soar like an eagle when I was hang-gliding.
Perseverance – I never liked this word until I heard a teaching about the greek roots of the word. It means being able to be at rest/peace while in a state of limbo.
Limbo – I know that pretty much sums up life living with chronic illness, never knowing how I’ll feel or what my capacity to do anything will be. But, I’m guessing it pretty much sums up life for anyone, doesn’t it? I mean who really has any clue about what today holds? So being able to be at rest/peace while in a state of limbo made perseverance sound a whole lot more desirable. There is just one catch … the precursor to the fruit of perseverance is tribulations … bummer 😉
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope
Ah … there it is again .. hope, unconditional hope because our Heavenly Father can take whatever you are facing and turn it to His good purpose (Gen 50:20) when we are willing to risk letting go of what is familiar for the unknown and un-imagineable goodness He has for each us.
Count me in!