Forsaking the Familiar
by Deb DeArmond
I lived in one house 18 of my first 20 years. I knew the neighborhood (and the neighbors) intimately, including the best hide and seek spots, and that Mary Jane’s mom baked every Saturday, and often passed out samples. I was never the new girl, and I graduated from our single, small-town high school with kids I’d known since kindergarten.
It was a familiar and safe existence.
I eventually discovered there were some downsides. The most significant was fear. Fear of the unknown, dread and discomfort with new people, processes, and places. I had no experience to suggest these would be beneficial at all.
Turns out I’m in good company. Many biblical patriarchs struggled with letting go of the familiar, too.
- Noah was tapped to lead through the destruction of the earth as he knew it to start over in a new world, while enduring the scorn of friends.
- Abraham had to let go of tradition to pursue God’s new direction.
- Moses reminded God he was a poor speaker and attempted to change God’s assignment to lead His people out of slavery.
These saints, and many more, had to abandon the familiar to pursue God’s assignment; it’s a godly pattern. We must leave some things to receive new ones, releasing good places for God places. Even when fear urges us to stay put.
In Isaiah 26, Isaiah expresses confidence the nation will ultimately prosper, although Israel’s immediate future looked bleak. “Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor,” (Isaiah 26:12-13 NLT).
When all looks promising, it’s easy to step up. It’s tough when the scene appears dismal and our fear encourages us to overrule God’s beckoning. It’s tempting to ask Him to change our assignment instead of changing us.
What God orders, He pays for. He empowers us to move beyond our comfort zone, as we claim Christ’s promises, and partner with His Spirit. Stepping out may always be stressful, but God’s best destination awaits.
Ask the Lord: What familiar place would you have me forsake to fulfill your assignment for me?
Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. She co-authored her newest book Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! with her husband, Ron. Deb’s books help readers whether newlywed or long-time married create the life God meant marriage and family to be. Read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.