Where does permission to step out in faith come from?

Even as grown adults there is an inner-child in all of us that still hesitates to do certain things because we don’t feel we have permission.  Permission is both a restrictive word and a freeing word.  Restrictive for those who don’t feel they have it and freeing for those who do.   I am not talking about a permission that must be granted from an authority in our lives.   This kind of permission is a permission of the heart.  It is more a matter of faith, a freedom to believe that I can really do that, that it’s not only OK, but that it actually is something that will be good for me.

There have been times in my life when I have been stuck in a rut.  I have prayed for deliverance and for a change but the familiarity of the walls of that rut have kept me from seeing a different way.  I have wanted to break out, but doing things as they have always been done is so much easier.  And the effort to climb out of the rut and try something else is huge.  The biggest question that often keeps me in the rut is “Will it be worth it if I do this?”  In other words “Will this change in my life, this venture beyond my comfort zone really pay off?  What if it is a big failure and is just another dead end?”

These are very real fears.  And so what I really need is permission.  For someone to say, “Don’t worry about it, this is something you were made to do. You need to go for this.  It is going to be a smashing success.”  But where does that permission come from?  It won’t come from my past experience.  I’ve never been that way before.  And besides, some of my past experiences were not so good and their voices whisper, “forget about it, that will never work.” 

It also may not come from the circle of family and friends who know me too well.  They’ve spent time in my rut with me and are thinking “he’s a rut guy, that is just not him, he could never do that.”  No, permission has to come from someone who is outside my paradigm.  Someone who has been to the promised land and has come back to report that you can get there from here. 

Permission to venture forth in faith, to answer a higher call ultimately must come from the Lord.  “Lord” Peter said, “bid me come to you.”  And the Lord said “Come” and Peter climbed out of his boat and did what no other man had ever done before.  How did he do that?  He had permission.

How does God give us permission to climb out of our ruts?  Few people hear the audible voice of Jesus saying “Come to me.”  But God does have other ways of communicating to us.

One of the most common permission granters that God uses are the spies who themselves have ventured beyond the familiar and returned to tell us how wonderful it really is.  The spies in our lives are people who themselves were once where we are and by God’s grace broke free from their ruts to take new uncharted territory.

In my own life, the rut busting permission that I so desperately needed has most often come through reports of others who have broken out.  Their faith stories as recorded through books, audio journals, TV programs or actually conveyed in person have inspired me to seriously consider crossing the Jordan too. Their stories convince me that there is life beyond the rut.  And then God uses them to encourage me to write my own faith story.  

Are you looking for permission to climb out of a rut?  Have you been liberated by the inspiring story of someone just like you who did?

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