Over the course of our lives, we can all identify times we have been on a journey. “Journey”, in this context, means leaving the familiar place (the comforts of home, comforts of what one is familiar with or knows intimately) navigating through unfamiliar territory to a place of new beginnings.
Now that it’s a new year, many of us are already experiencing changes in our paths, our dreams, or our desires. The journey of life can stop and start in various stages, but our walking out of the journey is what really matters.
There is a right way and a wrong way to travel on this journey and believe me when I tell you there are specific stages through which one needs to navigate before experiencing the blessing of whatever awaits on the new level.
It’s imperative to note each of these four stages has to be fully walked out in order for the process to show fruitful. If a step is skipped, or one rushes through one of the stages, it’s possible to not experience appropriate results had the whole process been exercised.
Today I’m going to share the four stages of these journeys we embark on in life, and how to travel them the best way.
Journey Stage #1: Discontent
Discontent in this instance does not mean ungrateful, angry, or even frustrated. This specific place of discontent is a place where what you’re presently doing no longer satisfies. You no longer have the sense you’re functioning at your full potential.
There is a sense of something more. Something greater. Something more significant.
You cannot be fully content with your present state and, at the same time, be pursuing something new. This process must begin with a proper and a healthy discontent. You may still be thankful and grateful for circumstances and blessings in life, yet something nudges there is more.
Journey Stage #2: Disconnect
In scripture, in the book of Philippians, it says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have arrived yet. There is one thing that I recognize that I must do. I have to forget [or disconnect from] everything behind me.” This includes successes, failures, etc. You must be willing to disconnect from anything in the past to look forward.
Paul’s insight explains one cannot embrace or even pursue anything new while still connected to and holding to the past. Disconnect is a most uncomfortable stage because it’s at this stage we evaluate relationships, and even our job, career path, titles we hold, positions we fill, daily activities. When you begin the disconnect process, you come up against longstanding, deeply rooted beliefs you’ve held forever.
If you’re going to move forward, it requires a disconnect.
Discontent and disconnect lead you through the process of dismantling everything old so that you can discover and build what is new.
Journey Stage #3: Discovery
This is a beautiful stage of life’s journey because this is where you have, what Michael E. Gerber calls, “a clean sheet of paper and a beginner’s mind.” There is no scribbling, no eraser marks, just a crisp, white sheet of paper.
Discovery involves reformatting belief systems, rediscovering your personality, and your values. From my own experience, discover seems to be a daily occurrence. You don’t wake up one day and have a massive epiphany or know every answer to every question. This discovery phase is all about trust and daily listening to the voice of God.
Discovery is a beautiful, exciting stage.
Journey Stage #4: Deployment
Now it’s time to engage and go do it. Go after it wholeheartedly.
This can be a scary stage as well because new usually means you’ve never been down this road or done this before. It is intimidating to forge on your own, or even to take it one day at a time. To take a step is to take a step of faith, which is where the trust comes in.
These four stages have repeatedly played themselves out in my life. Discontent, disconnect, discovery, and deployment. Are you embarking on a new journey right now?
God has invited you on a journey. This is a walk. It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day relationship process.
Embrace the discontent. Give yourself permission to be healthily discontent. As soon as you embrace that part of the process you’ll see opportunities to disconnect from things holding you back.
Maybe you’ve already gone through discontent and disconnect. Maybe you’re in the big, fat middle of discovery, and every day you’re seeing a little bit more of what can be. Don’t stop. Press in. Discovery is a beautiful thing.
There may be some of you who are ready to engage this journey on a big scale. Let’s get it done. Take the first step in your plan and execute. Deploy.
Don’t get stuck in the process. Complete it now and be deployed. Your next level in this new year is waiting for you.