A few weeks ago I celebrated an important anniversary. I celebrate it every year and remember what the Lord did because it was the turning point in my life- a crossroad.
19 years ago my life changed.
19 years ago my life began.
19 years ago in a matter of a 7 day period, I left everything I had ever known and moved 3000 miles away from my little home town to a new place.
I left family, friends, a job, college, familiarity, and a 7 year relationship that left me somewhat of a shell of a person. I mean, I was in there somewhere, but barely.
From the age of 14 to age 21 I was in this web of dysfunction and abuse that I couldn’t seem to climb out of. The strands of the web were stronger than me. I was stuck and I didn’t know how to get out. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t be free so I just surrendered to it… well, actually I didn’t surrender. I pretty much laid down and died for all those years.
One day, though. One day, I got up.
One day I decided that I wasn’t ready to die but that I wanted to live..
One day I decided I wanted my life to look different… and so I did it.
I got up.
I got up and I said goodbye to a lot of things.
I got up and I said goodbye to a lot of people.
I got up and said goodbye to the life I was living.
I didn’t feel like it.
I didn’t have the power in me.
I didn’t want to.
I didn’t know how to, but somehow, I just did it. Because I needed to.
I walked away… and never looked back. Just kept moving forward.
I know I am here today because of THAT day…
THAT line in the sand…
THAT desperate ENOUGH desire to be moved…
THAT obedience to choose something different than what I was living.
I reflect on this not to wallow but to remember because, to me, this day doesn’t signify all of the heartache, struggle and trauma of those years. It signifies a remembrance of being made new the moment I chose to walk forward into a new life and out of an old life.
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This was my life for all of those years – insane.
For change for new – for healthy, for healing, for growth, for new life to happen – I had to do something different. I had to change something. As Christians we beg God to change, move, heal, fix, and somewhere in our walk we see him as the genie in a bottle from Aladdin shouting:
“Poof! What do you need!” “Poof! What do you need!”
This was me for all of those years: “God fix this… but I’m not going to do anything different okay – Deal?” No deal.
In the Old Testament when the Israelites were released and freed to leave Pharaohs rule in Egypt, they didn’t hang around the camp and go ‘Oh cool, we can be free HERE.”
No. In order to be free – they had to move.
In order to escape they had to stick their toes in the water and walk out of it.
In order to be free they had to move. They had to go. In order to be free they had to change. And to be honest, more of the change they needed wasn’t just physical location, but it was heart location. After they were released, they remained emotionally and spiritually captive and couldn’t physically receive what God saw for them nor could they experience it until they were moved inwardly.
Freedom was accessible to me all along, but I didn’t access it, so I wandered for longer than I needed to.
Until the day when I finally decided to accept that I could be and was in fact free – I moved. I changed. A new thing happened. Of course this “new thing” has evolved and has been a process ever since that day and will be until my last breath. For we are all Gods work to be crafted, molded, shaped and changed into His likeness through the work of His hands. But this new thing wouldn’t have happened without me moving, without me going, and without obedience. It wouldn’t have happened with me staying where I was. It just couldn’t.
Is it your turn to move? Your situation might look a world apart from mine, but God calls us ALL to obedience in all of our different life stories and journeys.
Maybe you don’t need to cross the country to escape an abusive relationship like I did, but maybe you need to reevaluate who you are allowing into your life.
Maybe you need to reevaluate what you are exposing yourself to.
Maybe you need to reevaluate toxic people in your life.
Maybe you need to change your perspective. Maybe YOU are holding you back from new life.
Maybe there is an attitude that needs to change.
Maybe there is a place you need to be and you are ignoring it.
Maybe you are free! Maybe you’ve walked away but you haven’t accepted that you are free.
Maybe like the Israelites you haven’t recognized the freedom available to you.
Maybe God has shown you what He has for you and you are sabotaging the beauty of it because of old hangups.
Maybe you need to be reminded that God holds you when you decide to move and will walk with you to that new place.
Walk forward in obedience into new life and He will do a new thing.
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;” (Isaiah 1:19)