I have good news today. We aren’t talking politics. Not on this blog anyway. Trust me — no one is more relieved than me.
Today I have to say goodbye. To a lot of people. A lot of people that I’ve really come to love. Today is that last day of my job.
Yes, change can be good and bad. I don’t enjoy either kind. Change is hard for me. I like routine. I like security. I like comfort.
Nevertheless, I’ve been dreading today. Ever since I got home from work yesterday, I’ve been pretty hum glum (is that a word? no, I think I just made it up.) Every since I found out last Tuesday that I would be losing my job, I’ve been really strong. People have asked me how I feel and I always give a honestly optimistic reply. I haven’t felt one ounce of fear. I know God has my back. But now it’s getting really close. And though I’m not exactly fearful, I am starting to wonder — what am I going to do now? And goodbyes. Oh, I hate goodbyes. It’s the worst part of this whole deal.
But listen up here! I’m not writing this blog to complain to you. You don’t need my complaining. I’m writing this blog because God just grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me squarely in the face and said: “Look up, Michelle. Don’t look down. I’m getting ready to move.”
And then He told me to go look up Abraham and Lot. So I did.
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” –Genesis 13:5-9
So they parted ways. Lot chooses the good, lush, beautiful land. And what does Abraham get? What’s leftover. The Bible doesn’t illustrate how Abraham (then Abram) responded. But I have my guesses. I think he was disappointed. I think he got the short end of the stick and knew it. I think he was tempted to second-guess his decision to let Lot be the one to choose which land he wanted. But I also think he felt great satisfaction in knowing that he did what God told him to do.
The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” –Genesis 13:14-17
I didn’t understand why God was having me read this passage until I got to that part. I feel like Abraham must have felt — before God gave him that promise. I feel like I’ve been living in the “leftovers”. This job that I’m leaving — it wasn’t my dream job. In fact, there were so many days that I cried for God to release me from it. There were days when I felt so hidden and so obscure and so useless there. It took being filled up with God every single day in order to not give up, to not throw in the towel. All the while, I could see Lot — over there in perfect lushness, enjoying paradise. And I’d think to myself, “Did I do the right thing? I felt like it was right at the time. I feel like I’m obeying God. But I don’t see any manifestation of what He’s promised me. And look, there’s Lot over there — living a charmed life. Why didn’t I choose the good land and give him what’s left? He’s just my nephew.”
Yeah, I’ve been there alright. I’ve waited and I’ve waited. I’ve stuck it out when I couldn’t stand it, when I hated it. Even on the days when the promise wasn’t as clear, I stayed. It was hard. And a few months ago, things started to change. I was called out of obscurity. I began to operate in a gifting I never even knew I had. And before my very eyes, the leftovers started to look a little like the lush green valley that I surrendered to Lot. Things were getting good. I didn’t have to squint and dig for His promise. Before long, I was skating through days and weeks with complete ease. I enjoyed where I was at.
And then it happened. I lost my job. Now I feel like Abraham must have felt when he had to part ways with Lot. Yes, I know my story doesn’t go in the same order that Abraham’s does, but stick with me. I feel like God is saying, “You’ve grown too large for the land. You can’t stay with Lot. The land can’t hold you both.”
And so… Lot and I must part ways. Do you know what Lot means? I heard it means “veil”. Abraham didn’t receive God’s promise until the veil (Lot) was torn away. And I think that’s where I’m at right now. I’m at the point of leaving behind what was really familiar and easy for me. Because that familiarity — it can’t hold me anymore. I’ve outgrown it.
And so, again, I wait. I wait for him to speak the promise like He did to Abraham. I wait for Him to give me new land — land that can support everything He’s put in me. Land that won’t constrict me or tie me down or smother me.
And my eyes become misty when I think of Him saying to me what He said to Abraham: “Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” Such a promise scares me and fills me with wonder. Am I ready? I don’t feel ready. Am I ready God?