The practice of sacrificing one thing to obtain something else is commonly regarded to as substitution. Substitutions are typically made when someone doesn’t like what they currently have. They trade what they currently have for something else that they are familiar with. This is done in hopes that the familiar thing will step into the space where the original thing was and serve the same purpose or a better purpose. The risky part is that after going back to something old to fill a new space, you may later realize you made the substitution prematurely because a new space cannot be filled with the antagonist of its creation. You gave up someone you thought you only liked to substitute it with someone you’ve thought you always loved, only to realize that you no longer desire the same dysfunctional relationship. You substituted a partner that challenges you for a partner that doesn’t, only to later realize that your taste buds have changed and you no longer crave the ceasing progression of being with someone that doesn’t encourage you to be better. Be careful before substituting who God destined to be a complement to your life.
The easiest thing to do for a person in the unknown is to revert back to the familiar. The familiar doesn’t test you, the familiar doesn’t expose your fears, and the familiar doesn’t complement you. The familiar is exactly that…familiar. The antithesis of God’s promise is familiarity because something can only be familiar if you are already used to it and God will never promise to give you something that you are already used to. He can’t promise you unconditional love, if you’re used to it. He can’t promise you a healthy relationship if you’re already used to being in one. The only time that God can promise you something better is when you are familiar with something worse, but you can only receive his promise when you make a commitment to not substituting the unfamiliar place where God is trying to take you for somewhere with someone that you’ve already been.