Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Psalm 139

woman backpacking

Leaving Familiar

With graduation around the corner, I was inspired to re-read The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. The book’s first half is a parable about a Nobody named Ordinary, who the Dream Giver gives a dream, but to see it fulfilled, he must leave Familiar.

The parable follows what writers call the hero’s journey. The hero, Ordinary, has a call to adventure—his dream. He initially refuses the call until a mentor (Ordinary’s father) and a sense of discontent encourage him to act and cross a threshold into a new environment. Along the journey, he battles enemies (self-doubt, bullies, giants) and makes allies until he reaches the innermost cave (Salvation), where he realizes the tools and strength that he needs have been given to him. He summons the courage to face the greatest challenge and is rewarded with victory. Then he returns home (in Ordinary’s case through a letter to his father) a redeemed or resurrected person.

The hero’s journey and the parable of The Dream Giver apply to our lives, too, so much so that I want to break it down over the next couple of weeks, starting with the call to action and leaving familiar.

We all are born with a purpose.

I was born creative. Since I was little, I loved to build things, draw pictures, and write stories. My friends and I would often build forts in the woods, but once constructed, I never played in the fort. The fun was in the creating. However, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say a dentist. I had it in my head that creating was playing, and work had to be something—well—more like work. It took some time to realize the two could coincide.  

God has plans for us.

God knitted us together in our mother’s wombs and laid out our every moment before a single day had passed (Psalm 139). In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is no may or might in that statement. God has plans for you.

Also, God isn’t willy-nilly. He’s a God of order and divine purpose and instills that same desire inside us. He plants the seeds early on. David was anointed to be king years before it even seemed possible. Joseph was given the dream of being a leader when he was a boy. Abraham was shown the stars and told his descendants would number the sky long before Sarah became pregnant.

Expect God to use you for His glory.   

handing over diploma

Our purpose may or may not be apparent, but if we ask God to reveal it, He will. Often our dreams can lie dormant inside of us until God reveals His plan. Or, it can be developed and trained like a skilled instrumentalist over time. We can test different waters to see where our talents lie or establish new ones. Or be tested, like the parable of the talents—those who were faithful with a little were then given much. Our dreams can also change over time, maturing as we develop and fulfill our dreams. We’re never too old to have a new dream.

If you move, God will move.

To reach our potential, we have to leave the familiar. I remember feeling overwhelmed at my first writer’s conference. I felt overwhelmed and out of my league, but God placed valuable mentors in my life who to this day help encourage and edit my works. It can be terrifying to strike out and try something new but don’t fear making mistakes. God won’t let a few mistakes ruin His plan for your life. Also, don’t wait on perfect conditions. Make room for your opportunity. There will always be some risks to mitigate, but if you don’t step out in faith, there is a chance you could miss out on God’s blessings for your life.

Step out of the familiar in faith, trusting in God’s plan. We do the possible so that God can do the impossible.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20

Sleep by Salvador Dali

Who are You “Crutching” on?

Humans are notoriously good at one thing—messing up. Controversial as he was, famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali understood human frailty. Many of his paintings depicted people being propped up by sticks or crutches. In his unique way, Dali showed the weakness of the human body and spirit and our need to supply “support for the tenderness of soft structures” (daliparis.com/en/salvador-dali/dalinian-symbolism).

Sleep by Salvador Dali

Some of us use boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses to prop us up. They become our crutch, and we rely more and more on them to bring us happiness and fix our pain. I’ve seen countless women and men pray for God to put someone in their lives, only to stop coming to church once He does. The problem starts when we try to patch our emptiness hole with a person. It’s like putting a Band-aid on a gaping wound. It’s too much to ask someone to fill a hole that only God can fill.

So how do we get healthy enough to stand on our own?

Realize we need a vertical relationship, not a horizontal relationship. Ask God to hold us. Cling to a solid foundation, not a spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Psychologists, Dr. Les and Leslie Parrot, talk aboutA-frame verses H-frame and M-frame relationships. An A-frame is where a couple or friendships leans heavily upon one another to support them. They are looking for what Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry McGuire said, “You complete me.” Unfortunately, when relationships lean entirely on the other person the pressure created is going to cause one side to slip, and in an A-frame when one side slips, the other falls with it. Conversely, an H-frame is independent. It stands on its own, and if one side falls, the other hardly notices. In an M-frame, each person is healthy enough to stand on their own but still feels a sense of loss if the other side stumbles. It has emotional stability but chooses to be together and have a mutual influence.

Realize we are deeply and wonderfully loved for ourselves. God created you, and he loves you for who you are. He has sacrificed much to be with you. St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Scripture confirms it. Romans 8:38-39 states, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Psalm 139 says, “Where can I go from your presence… If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Alexander Pope said, “To err is human.” Fallible has become part of the definition of being human. We can’t idolize a pastor or a parent, or a boyfriend or girlfriend or an athlete. If we do, we will be let down. They are human. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thankfully we have a God who anxiously waits for us to ask for His help. He desires to uphold you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

He longs to reach down and scoop His child up in His arms.

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