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Leaving The Familiar

Leaving The Familiar

I was too scared to leave what I had known my entire life and follow God into the unknown.

Leah Brotzman | Dec 1, 2017

No matter who you are or what you do in life, there is a risk in trying new things. Sometimes this can be fun and exciting; other times it can be terrifying and discouraging. It can even cause you to doubt what you believe. If you’re anything like me, craving the familiar and preferring the well-known, leaving familiar behind is a struggle for me even though I have the assurance that God will be with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). Familiar is safe. Familiar is comfortable. You don’t need faith or trust when you have familiarity. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” goes the saying, but rarely if ever does it breed trust in God. Most of us prefer the familiar to the unknown. You know what to expect and you have contingency plans in place for whatever happens. Going from something you know to something you don’t know can be terrifying no matter who you are. Leaving behind the familiar can be extremely hard and cause you to be filled with anxiety. I struggle with this myself; but as Christians, God offers us a beautiful opportunity to trust in His promises and to meet those promises with our faith. I have seen this come true in my life. Let me share with you part of my journey that happened two years ago. I grew up in Pennsylvania and never had much thought of leaving up through my college years. But I came to the conclusion that after 24 years of life and 6 years serving God in the mission field, it was time for me to move from the home I grew up in, to somewhere new. In my mind, I was not moving for novelty’s sake - just ask my husband or family how I feel about moving! - but out of a genuine sense that it was time for a change: a God-move if you will. Through many discussions, Winston-Salem North Carolina was the location I decided upon. Still slightly terrified to think about leaving my friends and family behind, I put together a list of things I needed God to provide in Winston Salem in order to solidify in my mind that I would move. It was during this time I recalled the familiar (no pun intended) story of Peter from Matthew 4:27-29:
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?’”
If you’re anything like me, you feel a lot like Peter in this scene when God asks you to move. Whether you’re feeling terrified, courageous, daring, or afraid, you can empathize with Peter’s situation. For me, I was scared that God might forget me. I was worried He might abandon me to a foreign environment without friends or family for comfort. I was worried things wouldn’t work out with housing and I would end up on the street. But do you know what happened? God answered my prayers. Every. Single. One. Many times I received answers in spectacular ways. I wish I could say in that moment I packed up my things and trusted in God to be faithful. But I didn’t, really. For quite a while, I still hesitated, still doubted, just like Peter; my eyes shifted from God’s faithfulness. First, I hesitated to get out of the boat; then I took a step of faith out of the boat; finally in the midst of all the craziness, my eyes shifted and I started to sink. I was too scared to leave what I had known my entire life and follow God into the unknown. It took a lot of prayer for me to turn my eyes back to God’s faithfulness but when I did it was more than worth it. Moving to North Carolina caused me to grow in ways I couldn’t have if I’d stayed at home. It forced me to focus on God during the times when I felt completely alone. It was in those moments that I realized He is all I need, no matter what is going on around me. God has so many amazing things planned for us if we only take that first step into the unknown. The gospel promises that God will never leave us or forsake us, even if we stumble along the way, He’ll help us get back up. God is inviting us to a full and abundant life, but we have to put our trust in Him and step out of the boat. The only thing He asks of us is to trust Him enough to take that first step out of the boat and leave the familiar behind. Written by: Leah Brotzman, PPM Recruiting Specialist

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