The Christian Broadcasting Network

Related Link
More Devotions on Spiritual Life

A New Perspective On Familiarity

By Kim DeHoog
Staff Writer - We’ve all been there, stuck in the everyday routine that has become like a jail, seeing the same memorized faces day after day, and secretly longing for something new and fresh. It’s a classic case of familiarity. Most people don’t like this stale feeling in their lives, but actually, when we are familiar with someone or something, it just shows how God created us to be personal, intimate, human beings. “For you created my inmost being …” (Psalm 139:13)

So often, familiarity breeds indifference. Growing up the youngest of 5 kids, I never thanked my parents for seeing to it that every night my entire family sat down together to eat dinner. It was an everyday occurrence that I had simply come to expect. I never asked the others about their day, never appreciated their presence. Now as I look back on those times, it means so much to me. Eating together every night established our family as a priority.

And the fundamental truth that I have learned is that when we see something, hear something, and feel something everyday, there is no way to avoid getting familiar with it. So familiar that, in fact, it gets tiresome. People in any close relationships, be it siblings, friends, or spouses, eventually deal with familiarity. We cannot always identify the source of our frustrations, but when our blood boils at the sight of a bath towel left on the floor again, we should know that’s familiarity. We get so used to each other and our behavior becomes so predictable that it exceeds the level of comfort, and instead becomes irritating.

Sometimes we even grow familiar with God. How many church services do we yawn through, thinking to ourselves, I think I heard a sermon on this subject already. We get through a passage of scripture and wonder, what did I just read? Sometimes even our prayers pick up on this attitude when we mindlessly fall back to easy phrases without really thinking.

Familiarity can be dangerous because we lose sight of the creative God that we have. When we get used to our surroundings, even bored with them, we no longer see the wonder of God. “Your mercies are new every morning”. If we take our familiarity of our surroundings and pray for a fresh, renewed perspective, perhaps gratitude can still be generated.

How can we view familiarity with new perspective? By understanding that we were created to know and be known; there is a reason for repetition and patterns. For example, if 2+2 only equaled 4 sometimes, we wouldn’t understand addition. Likewise, it is through the same patterned experiences that we understand God’s way of working. If God disciplined us differently everyday, or His love for us changed, we would never grow intimately dependent on His character. Though we may get familiar with God’s ways, it is only through that repetition that we know Him to be the unchanging God that He is.

And as for our daily lives, the things that surround us day after day are the things that will mean the most to us years later. When we imagine ourselves without one of the normal persons or places around us, when we are honest with ourselves about the everyday tools that God uses in our lives, then very often, we’ll find that God uses that which is nearest to us to teach us. If we are constantly dismissing those things with a bored wave of the hand, we miss out on too much.

God designed us specially. Now imagine if God were to get bored with the way that He has created us. What if He got tired of the way that we do certain things? What if He yawned His way through our worship? Psalm 139:3-4 says,

You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it O Lord.

Talk about predictable! But not for one second does God get bored with us. He enjoys us. He takes immense pleasure in the way that He made us when we use our uniqueness to glorify Him.

And in order to bless Him back, we need to take stock of all of the commonplace things that He has placed around us. Take time to thank God that He is once again reminding us of those weaknesses that need to be worked on. Praise God for being the same God today that He was yesterday, and look around, really look hard, at the people around us.

Most of our lives are spent with these familiar and endearing ties. If we do not see them to be the miracles that they are, we are basically telling God that He should have done a better job of providing. We are shrugging our shoulders indifferently, and our God is such a God that one cannot know Him and be anything but different. We will be forever changed for His glory.

  • Translate
  • Print Page

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-700-7000
Email your prayer request

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List