In three days, I enter my birthday month. There are two times in the year that I usually get very reflective. My birthday month and the end of the year. Today, as I sat down to finish some writing for one of my courses in my D. Min. journey, I was distracted. The distraction came from a verse I read in today's devotional. The verse was Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord had said to Abram, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
So, for a little context, before I sat down to do my "work", I was drinking my coffee thinking of a disappointment I had in trusting an organization that was supposed to help me and it turned out that they were not who they advertised themselves to be. At my age, I had already determined from life lessons that I would NOT stay in toxic environments. I would NOT do things that do not bring me joy. I would NOT hide the person I am just because some people are uncomfortable with women asking questions. Yet, this determination made me 'get out' of the affiliation but it essentially killed what my husband and I thought was the help we needed to get a dream off the ground.
I felt defeated. I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt let down. I felt alot of the things I have felt in that particular journey. But after a few weeks and now a few months, I feel great. I feel liberated. I feel excited. I feel energized for God's next thing for us. I don't even feel that experience was a waste because I learned a few things. And I felt the Holy Spirit softly speak to my heart and say, "all experiences where you are led to leave your comfort, to leave the box you have been confined to either by your own doing or others, is a step toward pursuing purpose." Ugh, I thought to myself. Can we get there without THAT!? But no, unfortunately, we can't.
The religious community has somehow brainwashed many to think that if God is with you, you won't have setbacks. But that is exactly how God gets you "out of the box" you are in! You can't have greatness without separation. In fact, greatness itself means to be separated from the norm. It means you stand out from the crowd. Your purpose in life is what makes you great (in God's eyes not necessarily in people's) but in order to accomplish that greatness you must be willing to accept separation of the things you thought were working for you. Sometimes you have to "get out" to "go up!"
The story of Abram reminded me of that today. The greatest threat to your future, my future is getting boxed in, is getting too comfortable, is the familiar. The familiar is the often subconscious thought that the predictable is the preferred path, what is expected of you is the better route and that the recognizable (in your church, your industry, your religion) is the best option. But uh, not always the case.
When God engaged Abram with the instructions for "his journey," the first thing He tells him to do is GET OUT. Usually those words do not instill confidence, motivation or inspiration from us do they? They usually cause fear. What will people think? What happens then? Can I make it on my own? Etc. But here is the thing, when God purposes to move you to whatever is coming next for you, it always requires an exodus from a former place of comfort and acceptability from the masses. Why does God do that? Because He knew Abram then, and us now, will never step into what He has for us without first stepping out of our complacency.
The beginning of promotion and elevation will sometimes look like failure and misfortune, but God is always up to something good in our lives. We have to believe that first before it can manifest in our life. We have to leave the familiar behind folks. If we dig in a little deeper, we see that he told him to get out of COUNTRY, FAMILY, FATHER'S HOUSE. Our country can be our environment, culture, subculture, our customs. Our family encompasses relatives, the broader community (church, work, etc), and those who surround ourselves with most. Our father's house could be the assumed or predetermined expectations. All these things shape our identity. But at some point you have to leave this place of shaping to be shaped by God according to His purposes for your life.
Leaving the familiar is leaving the place that is presently shaping you and stepping into a new realm with a plethora of new experiences God uses to reshape you for what you were born to do and contribute to this world we live in. Remember, in order to realize purpose you must become a "you" that you haven't met yet, and you can only do that when you leave the familiar. When you get out of the box others (or even you) created for yourself.
So today, I challenge you to GET OUT. A new you is waiting. In order to fulfill your purpose in life, you have to dwell in environments that unlock your potential and releases the creativity that God has placed inside of you. I can't wait to see the land that God will show me (as He told Abram). But I know it is in that place, I will discover Liz 3.0. The Liz that will be a blessing to others. I wish the same for you.