I don’t know about you but when I fear the uncertainty of the unknown I often settle for the perceived safety of the known. Even if it is clearly not the best choice.
Recently God used Mildred to remind me of this tendency and help me move forward, continuing to step out in faith on the journey He has invited me into.
An Unexpected Encounter
I first Saw Mildred online when the local humane society posted her picture. I was immediately drawn to her.
A few days later while at the shelter with a fired I made it a point to see Mildred. There she was lying on her bed. A beautiful little black Italian Greyhound, weighing all of twenty-five pounds.
I was smitten.
The next day I had to go back to meet her. We spent a fair amount of time together. She gave me some kisses, and when I picked her up and placed her on my lap, she remained there calmly.
After a while, the shelter worker returned. As we talked Mildred left me to lay beside her caregiver. She was calm, comfortable, and content.
Clinging To The Known
We both joked with Mildred that she should lay by me to increase her chance of getting a forever home. We told that although the shelter was taking good care of her, she didn’t want to stay there any longer than necessary.
But Mildred remained contentedly beside the shelter volunteer whom she had only known a week.
Why? Because it was familiar and seemed safe.
Her reaction reminded me of not only when I adopted Sadie (she did the same thing) but the times in My life when I choose the familiar rather than risk stepping into the unknown.
I wonder how many times I have actually settled for the safe and predictable. The good rather than the best.
To become who we are created to be requires a willingness to take risks, stepping into the unknown and trusting that He will lead us down the right path.
Step Into The River
In 2010 my Pastor preached a sermon called Step Into The River. He shared the story in Joshua of the Israelites crossing from the desert into the promised land.
They had been wandering in the desert for forty years but the time had come for them to cross the Jordan river and enter the promised land.
“When the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, [come to] rest I the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing down from above will be cut off, and the will stand in one mass [of water].” Joshua 3:13 AMP
Notice that God did not act until the priests stepped into the water. In other words, He was asking them to take a step of faith – to trust Him. If you read the full story in Joshua 3-4, you will discover that the river was at flood stage when this happened.
When the priests stepped out in faith not only did the water back for approximately seventeen miles, but the ground was completely dry. God worked but not until the people obeyed and responded in faith.
That message made a tremendous impact on my life. Step into the river has been one of my mantras ever since. It was a catalyst for things to come.
Letting Go Of The Illusion Of Safety
It fueled a dream to become a writer, and I took the first steps to learn how shortly after hearing this message. It was just a small step but doesn’t every journey begin with the first step?
Now let me share right now, I have never been much of a risk taker. I have always liked things safe and predictable, well planned out. But God does not call us to safe, predictable lives.
“God invites us to graduate from the baby pool to become wave riders in uncharted waters that are only navigated with Him.” – Allen Arnold
When you pursue a dream with God, the world will tell you that you are crazy. They criticize you for giving up the security of a good job or whatever other risks you might be taking to pursue your dream.
But truth be told, safety is an illusion. That job you cling to may cease to exist with a moments notice. We don’t know what the next day or even the next minute holds.
So why cling to seems safe (the known) when God has called us to step into the river?
What Are You Waiting For
Five years later, in 2015, after many small steps along the way, I left the seemingly safe routine of a 9 to 5 job with a great organization and co-workers I love to begin a new adventure as a writer and virtual assistant.
Although the move was definitely outside my comfort zone and contrary to my personality, I felt God was leading me to take this next step.
Has it gone exactly as I had envisioned? Definitely not. Have there been challenges and scary bumps in the road? Absolutely. Do I regret the decision? Not for a nanosecond.
I have no idea what the next step of the journey holds. Like hiking down a foggy trail, you can’t see what lies ahead. But I know I’m not on this journey alone. He is behind me and before me and in me. And I am doing this WITH Him.
Oh, and by the way, I didn’t get to adopt Mildred. I received a notice from the shelter the next day letting me know that another applicant had adopted her.
Although I was disappointed for my self, I am elated for Mildred as she leaves the good safety of the shelter to enjoy the best, the joy of a forever home. She will be a great reminder to me anytime I want to cling to the known instead of taking the risks I need to in my journey to becoming me.
“Pause and remember that God brought you to this moment on purpose, to prepare you for your future.” – Christine Caine
What’s holding you back? Isn’t it time to step into the river (your future) and feel the water of His love?
What river is God asking you to step into? What’s holding you back?