Genesis 12:1 – The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives and your father’s house to the land that I will show you (HCSB)
When my husband and I were newlyweds, we were living in the area where we had both grown up and had every intention of staying there the rest of our lives. Then God called my husband into the ministry, and we went out from our land, our relatives, and our parents’ houses to the land that God promised to show us. After several years of pastoring churches, God called my husband into full time evangelism. At that time we lived in a parsonage nowhere near our birth families, but the community felt like home and we had friends and neighbors that were closer than family. My husband’s new calling would take him away from home days and weeks at a time, sometimes to other countries, leaving me home with a pre-teen son. We couldn’t stay in the parsonage and felt that it would be easier on the new pastor if we disassociated ourselves from the church, so we again left our land, our relatives, and our Father’s House to go to an unknown land. That’s what I have always thought Genesis 12:1 was talking about – physically packing up and moving away, going from a known place to a place of the unknown. In recent weeks I have come to see another meaning in Genesis 12:1. I have come to believe that saying “yes” to God often can mean saying “no” to people. I have come to believe that Genesis 12:1 can also mean leaving the comfortable place of always being the “yes, I can do that” person to the uncomfortable place of occasionally being the “no, I can’t do that” person. I am a people pleaser. I want people to like me. I want to be known as the dependable one. I want people to see my faith be alive through my works. But, all of that can get me to the point where my people pleasing overshadows my God pleasing, where a person’s approval is more of a priority than God’s approval, where being dependable can lead to being drained. Like the writer of Psalm 139:23-24, Lord, I am begging You to make me aware of those things in my life that offend You, times when a call from a friend may not be a call from You, times when it’s a “good thing” but not a “God thing”. Help me to be able to distinguish between the work that You have called me to do and the work that others think I should be doing. Give me the strength to accept my limitations. Help me to lay down the burden that my busyness has become and rest quietly at the feet of the Almighty God who calls me to come to Him.