I recently heard the phrase "holding pattern" and knew immediately that this is exactly how many have felt in this interesting and often confusing season in which we find ourselves. If you've ever been in a hurry to get somewhere, and yet your plane has been instructed to maintain a "holding pattern", you know the frustration that can occur as your plane circles and re-circles the same airspace without getting you to your destination.
Many have experienced this "holding pattern" intensely as you have the word of the Lord burning within you. You have heard His prophetic promises of promotion, acceleration, and momentum, yet you are waiting.
Our wonderful Father is intent on getting you where you are going, but He is also intent on preparing you for the next phase of your journey before He takes you there. He will not cut short the preparation process, and He will not send you into your next assignment without training and equipping you with what you will need. The Father has necessary upgrades for you.
We have been in a season of preparation and much of that preparation has to do with our hearts. Every time God gives us a promotion or new assignment, it requires an upgrade in our identity and relationship with Him. We often want to focus on external things, getting ahead of ourselves and His timing, but God purposefully pulls us back, lovingly drawing us into the secret place with Him where true growth and progress will take place.
I am reminded of the children of Israel as Joshua led them to cross over into their Promised Land. Surely they expected to launch right into setting up their homes and finally tasting for themselves the milk and honey of the land. But, God had a different plan. He gave the order to Joshua that they were to stop and circumcise all the men before they could move on. (Josh. 5:2) It must have seemed like the worst possible timing! They had waited so long to step into the land of their dreams and now they were to remain immobile until everyone healed. How impatient they must have felt! But, Joshua obeyed the command of the Lord, and the men were circumcised. After the act was done, God said "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." (Josh. 5:9)
Reproach defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "A cause or occasion of blame, discredit, or disgrace." Though the Israelites had left Egypt a long time ago, they still carried Egypt in their hearts. They continued to operate under a "slave" mentality, performing their tasks and assignments outwardly, without an inward heart change. They carried the disgrace of slavery with them even though they were essentially free. They behaved as orphans, with a fearful, poverty mentality. A whole generation died in the desert because they could not fully position their hearts to step into all the Father had prepared. The Father wanted to remove the shame and reproach of their past life in Egypt as well as their failures in the wilderness. He knew they would need this shift in order to courageously step into their new lives.
We know that our "old man" or sinful nature was dealt with at the cross and we are, because of Christ's death and resurrection, the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (from 2 Cor. 5:21) Though we are under the new covenant, there is still a purification and circumcising of that which belonged to our old identity as well. Our minds have to be renewed so that we can see the Kingdom as He sees it. Our eyes will not be fully opened to see His Kingdom, until our minds have been fully renewed.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
God gives us everything we need to renew our minds as we journey through our lives. He has the best of intentions towards each of His children as He persistently positions us to encounter Him in life-changing and mind-changing ways.
God knows the inner workings of each of our hearts and the things that would keep us from flourishing in our new assignments. You may be at your Gilgal right now where God is rolling away the reproach from your life. The "cutting away" process may have seemed long and painful, but be encouraged. God is releasing upgrades for the next level and new season. This purifying process has been a necessary part to prepare you for what lies ahead.
And now, there is a time of healing that must take place before you move forward. In Joshua 5:8, God gave specific instructions that apply to us today:
"And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed".
The Father wants to pull you close and whisper words of encouragement, healing, and identity to you. He has specific facets of His nature that He will reveal, but only to those who press in, come close, and listen. These encounters are life-changing as one encounter with Him can shift everything! Then, He will breathe His life-giving breath on you and your dreams. The embers of identity in you will become hot, burning coals as the truth of how you are known in Heaven resounds within your spirit.
God wants to change the frustration of your "holding pattern" to delight as you embrace the "pattern of His holding". His arms are waiting to hold you as He pours out to you everything you will need for the coming season.
"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14