Counselor’s Corner: Releasing the Familiar and Walking in the Unfamiliar by Faith
Familiar things are comfortable to us, we are creatures of habit and like to dwell in places that are known to us. However, you know in your spirit it is time for change, and God is calling you to a new and unfamiliar territory. You would like God to give you not just a rough outline of what is in this new territory but a detailed plan of what to expect. The problem is rarely if ever God gives such detailed plans for the unknown that He is asking you to march forward in. When it is time to go forward, God does provide discomfort in your familiar comforts, such as things just don’t seem to work and flow as they used to.
You may be in a transitional phase as you are trying to crossover to the unfamiliar that God is asking you to step into. In this transitional phase you will be challenged by the enemy to go back to your comfort, but you are well aware that your comforts are not covered in the grace of God any longer. Going back would mean a type of death, maybe not a physical death but a spiritual death. God has given you a mission to fulfill but you keep looking back, you have one foot in the past and one foot going forward.
You may have finally come to realize that some relationships will not be able to go with you in this new territory, and other relationships will not be able to have the same place in your life. This can be particularly difficult with family relationships and friends that you have had for a long time. God does not ask you to leave family and friends behind because He wants you to be alone and torture you, but so that He can get you to the place where you do not make these relationships idols, and your heart can heal to make room for godly relationships. If there are any unhealthy attachments and connections, and God is leading you to a new place of freedom and service for Him-these unhealthy ties cannot go with you into the new territory. God can and will work on those that are left as you venture into the unfamiliar.
Old habits, sins and lingering doubts of God’s goodness and if you can really trust Him shou be left in the past (familiar) and new ways of relating to God should go forward with you into the new territory (unfamiliar place). For instance if in your old familiar past you entertained thoughts that you were an “orphan” and not really loved by God, this lie needs to be dismantled and the truth should go with you into the new territory, “You are adopted and an heir to the Kingdom of God.” This truth may seem unfamiliar because in your familiar past you related to yourself as unlovable, unworthy and not good enough. What was familiar to you in the past, needs to now become unfamiliar, and the old self cannot be brought into the new season God has for you. How you thought of not only yourself, God and your relationships need to be dismantled and put under the blood of Jesus Christ, and resurrect the new truths the Holy Spirit reveals about who He says that you are, His love for you, and how to let go of relationships that cannot go with you into the Promised Land. Some of the relationships that you let go of during this time, will cross over into the Promised Land with you eventually and some will stay in the pit. If you have come out of the pit and are now in the Promised Land, don’t go back into the pit to get these people out. Enjoy your new place of freedom and trust that the Holy One will make a way for all those who desire to get out of the pit, just like you desired!
Reflect and Ponder: Has God called you to a new season but you find you are resisting walking into the unfamiliar territory? Are you at the crossroad, wanting to move forward but sense a tug-of-war happening to keep you looking back at your past? Perhaps you are thinking, “What will people think of me?” or “What will happen if I move forward and leave my loved ones behind?”
Steps to move forward into the unfamiliar:
1. First and most importantly, know that God is calling you to the unfamiliar. Seek the Holy Spirit and write down what He shows you. Let nothing be done because it feels good to your flesh or because you have always done it that way (comfort).
2. If you feel fear, anxiousness or uneasiness about going forward in the unknown, stop and be still. Wait for God to reassure you and to confirm what you believe He is asking of you.
3. Recognize that leaving the familiar behind can produce feelings of ambivalence, loss, sadness and guilt. If you have done something a certain way for years, and now you are doing things a new way, it may not feel right at first. Realigning significant relationships can be even more challenging, you very likely will come against an arsenal of attacks from the enemy as you surrender to God these relationships. Why? The enemy would love nothing more than for you to be bound to unhealthy, ungodly connections where all spiritual life is choked out of you.
4. Expect resistance from the enemy and from relationships that you are surrendering to God. The enemy hates progress and growth and will use the people closest to you to get you to abort the necessary changes in your life. The voice of condemnation will get the loudest as you are getting ready to plant both feet in the new territory God has for you. If you know God is calling you into this new, unfamiliar territory then by faith move forward! The only other option is to go back to the familiar. You will need to in faith push forward as the enemy aggressively pursues in hindering your new territory. Right before you plunge completely forward, the battle will intensify-make the decision to trust God and GO! MOVE!
5. God will not give you a detailed plan as to how everything will work out in the unfamiliar territory, expect a rough outline. When you step out in faith and decree and declare your new territory as something God has positioned for you, then God will fill in what’s next.
6. As you GO FORWARD, march like a solider and keep your eyes on what is ahead and not behind you. When a solider marches they can’t look behind them because they will most likely miss their step.
MEDIATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along am unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.
Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all that you do and He will show you which path to take.