The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you…”
So Abram went.
[excerpt from Genesis 12:1-4]
Abram, was called by God to go into a place unknown. So he went.
These verses do not reveal any possible internal struggle that Abram/Abraham may have had. I wonder what went through his mind and heart. Were there roots to earthly things that needed to be severed before he could follow God in full abandonment and faith? Were their comforts and rhythms of life that had to be surrendered to embrace the call that God had placed upon him? Did he wonder, “Why me?” Did he wonder what God meant by blessing him to “bless the nations.” That is a statement that hangs heavy in the air with both awe and wonder…. and maybe trepidation?
To leave the land of his comfort, tradition and history into a yet to be determined location by God. There are times in our life when God challenges us to release all that we have known, lay down our lives and follow Him into the unknown.
I stumbled upon a British slang word, “coddiwomple“; the urban dictionary defines it is a verb: (v.) To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination. This resonates with my own personal Abraham experience of leaving to follow somewhere in faith. This is not the first time in my life that I had come to this place of complete abandonment to dive head first into depths of faith not knowing what waited for me and lingered below the surface.
My first jump off the cliff into an Abrahamic Coddiwomple was when God called me overseas. I remember wrestling with God in my heart about the reasonableness of this adventure. Also, I realized that I had become too comfortable in my American lifestyle with my familiar routines. I was an ambassador of God who had forgotten my mission as ambassador. I had forgotten that I was a citizen of heaven with a Kingdom purpose. It was time for me to allow God to shake me loose from these earthly ties to embrace a larger Kingdom vision. I surrendered to God’s prompting to go overseas, not as much from a place of joy or peace, but more out of a reverent healthy fear of disobeying God. In following God to places unknown across the seas, I found that God’s heart for the nations began to shape mine and He changed me.
A few years ago, I found myself again at this familiar crossroad – walking down a path unknown with nothing but faith as a compass. Different circumstances, but the same prompting to sever my earthly roots to embrace a calling. This time, I was to go to a place for intentional growth in particular areas: urban church planting, community restoration, racial reconciliation, and loving/embracing different.
I landed in the Atlanta area which is very far from my Texas experience. Pulling up roots to move to the outskirts of Atlanta was just as challenging for me as it was for me to leave and go overseas in my youth. My overseas experience taught me that it takes at least 2 years just to get acclimated to a new environment, language and culture, so I made a commitment to myself, that my stay would be a minimum of 2 years. This new adventure has been filled with a kaleidoscope of experiences: joy, love, fear, violence, peace, surrender, diversity, varied worldviews, abounding differences, and beautiful chaos.
In all of this, I have found an inner strength from God that overcomes fear. A purpose and mission to be a person of peace amid trial and brokenness. And, I am daily reminded to share hope and truth wherever my beautiful feet take me.
Once again, I am embracing a new Abrahamic Coddiwomple with another unknown adventure. Seems like a recurring life theme for the follower of Jesus – to follow in faith for God’s strength to be made perfect in our weakness. The stretching and pressing of one’s faith is like a rhythmic rolling of the waves. In the midst of the tumultuous cultural, political and religious tides of the day, God calls each of us to trust in Him, the Tamer of the tides. And awash in the wonder of God, to step out and go. Though there may be an unprecedented nature for our current moment, the mission to follow God to share the gospel remains unwavering. The reality that we are ambassadors – strangers in this place – must sink into the marrow of our bones so that the Master and the mission define us.
- Are you too comfortable in your current rhythms of life and faith? Have you come to a place where you are not growing in discipleship as you should? What are some things that you can do to shake yourself loose from complacency and stagnation?
- Have you stepped out of your personal preferences recently to push yourself to grow in your faith and in your missional agility?
- Has God asked you to follow Him into an unknown place? Are you reluctant to follow? If so, ask the Lord to help you overcome the barriers in your heart, mind, and soul so that you have strength and courage to step out in faith.
- Discipleship is not designed to end here with you. How is God leading you to propel others into a life of full abandonment to God? How can you encourage others to embrace Abrahamic Coddiwomples?