Have you ever asked yourself why some prisoners are repeat offenders? Consider that often they are more accustomed to prison life, than to a life of freedom.

It has been said by behavioral experts that young girls often seek out the same type of abusive partners as their fathers were. In the same way, people who have been delivered from adverse situations do not always run toward freedom, as you might expect, but are often drawn back to what is more familiar to them–trauma and hardship or a life of difficulties, for dysfunction attracts dysfunction. Instead of turning their backs on the anguish and saying “no” to it, they feel more comfortable with the familiar and return to that “safe” place that only breeds sorrow and pain.

As a little girl growing up in Holland, we had only one radio station. I remember that on Monday nights my family would sit around close to our little radio, and listen to a play with delight in our hearts. The play was about a crazy dysfunctional family who did the most demented and flaky things. It was called, “The Family Doorsnee.” And guess what we called our family during the week? You guessed it, “The Family Doorsnee.” We related so well to the dysfunction and craziness that we even thought it to be funny at times.

God’s desire is that we leave our familiar ways of handling negative circumstances and solving our problems by reacting in anger, pain or blaming God. His desire is for us to find Him in every situation and allow Him to lead us to the very heart of God through our difficult circumstances. That may mean we stop our whining, or hiding and pretending all is well, or even just ignoring our problems. It may mean we need to be ruthless with ourselves and break the cycle of enabling others and carrying burdens that are not ours to carry.

Many of us are very familiar with the same old prayer life we have had for years and years. God desires us to seek Him for Himself. Those who find God, find Him to be a very astounding God Who calls us to leave the familiar things of life and be alone with Him and become familiar with His voice. We can experience Him in ways that are new every morning. Most of us have a chain tied to what is familiar, and do not want to forsake our old ways of doing things. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus never healed people the same way? He always did something new and exciting in the way he touched people.

Is there anything sinful with the things that are familiar? No, not in themselves. But these are temporal limitations, and God wants to push us into places we have never been and let us explore territory that is totally new and unfamiliar, so we can bring more people to Him and be “all things to all people.” (1 Cor. 9:22, NKJV) “…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Sometimes when we start wearing a pair of new shoes they are uncomfortable and even painful, but with persistence we will break them in, get used to them and will be able to travel long distances in them.

Here is a picture of an old shoe that is very comfortable. Naturally, we want to wear an old and comfy pair of shoes, but truly need to get some new shoes, for the old ones are starting to look old and worn. God has some new shoes and new places for us to walk. They will be new boots, to kick the enemy of the familiar.

I hear God say, “As you draw into My presence, I have fresh manna for you. Leave the stale and familiar behind. Look forward to some exciting walks with Me into some unfamiliar, but mind-boggling territories.”