Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds — a great deal of livestock. – Exodus 12:37-38 (NKJV)
Moving is fun! Now don’t give me the crazy eyes, the moving part itself isn’t fun, it’s the new location and new adventure that awaits you… that’s the fun part! But it’s all fun and games until the process you’re enduring after the move causes you to regret the move… #lestruggle
This exact date and time last year my husband and I were moving into our own place after living with my mother in law for a little over a year. Mind you, we were staying with her because we thought the Lord confirmed that we would be purchasing a home. However, instead of moving into our first home we were moving into another apartment. (That’s another topic for another day.)
That was October 2015. Now everything was great after moving out, we’re getting back into the swing of living on our own (we lived on our own prior to moving in with my mother-in law) and enjoying life. I mean we just walked away from a closed door (home buying process), so things were good. Well, fast forward three months to the middle of January (this year) and my husband and I are dealing with some major spiritual attacks. What should have been a simple fix on my car turned into a 2 week long back and forth process with the car shop and more $$$ out of our pockets. And to throw more fuel on the fire, that same night, our apartment was broken into and multiple things stolen. Talk about unexpected. If this was what moving on up looked like I wasn’t sure I wanted a part of it. After they’d left Egypt, the Israelites were probably thinking the same thing:
Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?” For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness. – Exodus 14:11-12 (NKJV)
As a result of our apartment being broken into the Lord opened up a door for us to move into something better. We had to endure that process before we could be elevated. Now we weren’t expecting anything of that nature but we were able to see God’s favor and glory manifest because of it. My husband and I moved into the previous apartment because it was comfortable. It was a place where we wouldn’t have been pushed to grow and mature in our financial stewardship. God knew this and as a result He caused our current “confinement” to become uncomfortable, and uncomfortable it was.
Maybe you’ve increased, stepped into a new season or received a promotion and wonder why you’re experiencing more hardship than the ease that comes with elevation? The Israelites didn’t know at the time but God was allowing them to experience hardship so He could humble and develop them. (Deuteronomy 8:1-5) God is doing the same with us. When we outgrow relationships, environments or a pair of jeans it becomes uncomfortable to endure after a while. The discomfort is a sign that growth has taken place. What used to fit doesn’t fit anymore. You now have the choice to remain comfortable in your discomfort or to level up. Which will you choose?
The Israelites cried unto God while in Egypt, praying that God would deliver them. They endured forced labor, beatings, starvation and a heap of other hardships. (That sounds like discomfort to me.) Yet the moment they were faced with new obstacles they wanted to high tail it back to Egypt. As silly as it sounds maybe you’ve done the same thing. You’re tired of being single so the thought of going back to your ex sounds tempting. You’re experiencing financial hardship, so asking your idol (aka mommy or daddy) for help sounds like a good idea. The thing is, there’s no growth when you run back to what God has delivered you from. God wanted to remove the Israelites from what was comfortable so they could be prepared for what was ahead. The preparation they would need to endure is what I like to call the hallway.
In order to walk into the next door of your life you have to endure the hallway. The hallway is the “wilderness” in between your previous season and your next one. It’s your development process. (You may have heard this referred to as the waiting room.) The hallway is your single season after breaking up with an ex. It’s when you stop relying on family to pay your bills and trust God as your provider. It’s when you’re stuck at a job you hate before you start your own business. The hallway sounds fun doesn’t it? 😉 So if we can be honest, many of us don’t want to experience the “hallway.” We want God to bless us with everything we desire in our time frame; but if He did, we would mess it up due to a lack of maturity and preparation.
When premature babies are born, depending on how healthy they are, they have to stay in the hospital longer than if they were delivered on time. Also, premature babies can suffer from deficiencies that interfere with their ability to breathe and develop on their own. Therefore, just like those babies, if God were to “deliver” us prematurely, we wouldn’t be able to thrive in our new season efficiently. Even though we must cling to the Lord at all times, that doesn’t mean He wants us to live our lives spiritually weak and deficient. (James 1:4) God can’t use us for His purpose and glory if we’re weak in our faith; so He uses the hallway to mature and develop us. That way when we walk into our elevation we can handle it properly. He also uses the hallway to prune us of anything that shouldn’t follow us into our next season. The hallway process doesn’t feel good and just like most hallways, it can seem lonely and dark at times. Nevertheless, don’t let that discourage you, God is with you at all times, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
As I look back over the past year, I’m puzzled at how different it was than what I was expecting. However, God has accomplished so much that as I look back, I realized that there were many times where I overlooked what I saw because of what I saw. I overlooked what I saw spiritually (the growth, increase in faith and maturity) because of what I saw naturally (lack, loneliness and frustration). During our hallway experiences we have to make sure our perspective is in order. What we focus on will either push us closer to God or further from Him. The Israelites focused more on what they saw naturally than the many times God provided for them not only in leaving Egypt but during their wilderness experience. As a result of their complaining, they missed out on the promise land. Let’s strive to learn from their mistakes.
How you act in the “hallway” will determine how soon you reach your promise land or “open door.” You can’t expect God to move on your behalf if you’re not willing to move. (For example, you can’t expect to meet Boaz if you keep entertaining Bozo 2.0.) Whatever God is calling you to release, you must do so in order to receive what He has for you. Whatever He’s calling you to do, walk in obedience so you can reach your expected end in His timing. Instead of lingering in the hallway push forth and press onward. Don’t get caught up in hallway distractions that cause you to miss out on the open door God has for you. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep moving, a new land awaits!
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)