A Voice calls us out,
beyond the well-lit path
into the darkness.
We follow, trembling,
or trembling stay behind.
But whether we heed the call and launch into the dim unknown
or cling to the familiar,
we are changed.
It’s been a few years since I first read these words, and I’ve reread them several times since. But they’ve never impacted me quite as deeply as they do now. This time they are more than an inspiring little poem. This time they are the Voice that calls me out. And, yes, I’m trembling.
There’s something soothing in the well-lit path, even though I may not like where the path is leading. At least I can see what’s coming. At least I feel some semblance of control. I can’t say that about the uncertainty of the darkness.
But here the Voice calls me, telling me that I don’t belong on the well-lit path anymore. Telling me it’s time to blaze a new trail. And here I stand, trembling – unsure as to whether I should really launch into the dim unknown or cling to the familiar. But I am certain of one thing: no matter what my choice may be, change is coming.
So I stand here and wonder what awaits me in the darkness. I say that I’m waiting for clear direction. I claim that I’m being wise. But am I? Or am I just so lacking in faith that I won’t take that first step even when I know that I know that God’s calling me? And I wonder if this is really the time to “be wise” or the time to step out of the boat and start walking on water.
Here I am, trembling, praying, and waiting for the courage to take the first step.
Every time I turn a corner, I’m running into the same message. It’s starting to freak me out. “Okay, God, I get it. I get it!” But apparently He doesn’t agree because it just keeps popping up. In one way or another it hits me. Different messages, different scriptures, but the same theme: There is danger in letting God become too familiar.
Too familiar? Is that even possible? I mean, He’s God. You could study Him for a million years and still not figure Him out. But haven’t you ever reached a point where those simple Biblical truths start to feel more like trite Sunday school answers? Haven’t you ever read your Bible and thought to yourself, “I know, I know.” Haven’t you ever reached a point where you cease to marvel at the greatness of God because it’s so easy to take for granted? Perhaps I’m selfish to say this, but I certainly hope you have. Otherwise, I’m the worst disciple on the planet because I’m there right now. After almost twenty years of walking with Jesus, I’ve let Him fall into a dangerously comfortable place in my life.
Think of how fascinating it is to meet new people. Not that awkward “I don’t know you” stage, but the part where you’re actually starting to like them and may even consider them friends. Every conversation you have is new and exciting because you’re hearing things you haven’t heard before. There’s some sort of wonder in experiencing life together for the first time.
That’s where I want to be with Jesus right now. I want to recapture some of the wonder in getting to know Him more. I’m sick of letting Him be commonplace in my life. So I’ll take a deep breath and start at the beginning. “It’s nice to meet you, God. My name’s Rebekah…”
Change. Doesn’t that word just make you want to cringe? There is something about stepping outside the boundaries of the familiar that makes people uncomfortable. The simplest changes can sometimes feel like the biggest deal, and we start to freak out. Let me clue you in on something here: happy endings don’t come to the person who is unwilling to pursue them. If your life was to go on without changing from the normalcy of today… Well, that’s one boring life you are leading. Little changes are good; big changes are even better.
Just like Belle had to release the desire “to return to the life that she knew lately,” you and I must release our desire to shrink back into the comfort of familiar. It seems strange to me that so many of us desire that fairytale romance and adventure while so few are willing to take the risk necessary in pursuing it.
It all began with a change. Belle found herself captive in an enchanted castle, Cinderella dared to venture outside the home that was her prison, Ariel traded her fins for a pair of legs (talk about change)… What would have been the outcome of Beauty and the Beast had Beauty never dared to enter the castle and actually meet the Beast? Where would Cinderella be today had she not chanced to attend the ball? And would the Little Mermaid have ever been satisfied if she had never attempted to walk on land? Where will you end up if you do not take a step outside your comfort zone and open your heart to the adventure that beckons you beyond the nearest horizon?
Go ahead and take the risk. Take that uncertain step into the shadows of the unknown. Grip the hand of the God who has promised to walk this journey alongside you, and chase the dreams that are stirring in your heart. Move on. Live freely.