The Things We Fear Day 1 – Change
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4, ESV)
At this point it’s probably a cliché, but I hate change. Who doesn’t, really? We find comfort in consistency, and when there is a threat to it, even if it’s to move in a positive direction, it’s hard to overcome the fear. The uncertainties that come with change can leave us paralyzed and hold us back from taking advantage of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. So, how do we overcome that fear?
One of my biggest fears is uncertainty. I am afraid of the uncertain because in it I can find an infinite number of possibilities for failure, embarrassment, disaster, and heartbreak. That’s why I hate change. I am comforted by routine and familiar surroundings. I’m a huge fan of predictability, so when I am faced with change, even just a small diversion from my current routine, I tend to be filled with anxiety. This fear has held me back from doing so many things in life. I’ve avoided job opportunities, pushed away relationships, and stayed in bad situations far too long because I was afraid of the change that would come. What we all have to grasp about change is that it’s inevitable. Things will not always be exactly as they are now—and that’s not always a bad thing.
When I think of change, I am reminded of Abraham. I am always struck by his response to his calling. Instead of questioning or hesitating, Abraham heard the call from God to move away from everything and everyone he’d ever known for a reason yet to be revealed—and he went. In only moments, his whole life was uprooted and spun into uncertainty. He was leaving the land of his father to which he had grown so accustomed. He was moving away from family members he had been close to all his life. He was packing up all his belongings to head toward an unknown land, filled with unknown people, for an undisclosed reason. He did all this with only the promise that he would be the father of a great nation.
Let’s say Abraham had chosen not to go. Maybe the thought of uprooting his entire life was far too overwhelming and he didn’t believe he would be able to handle the stress of it all. Had he not gone, he would have lost out on the greatest blessing he could ever know. He would have missed the opportunity to be used in God’s greater plan for the coming of the Messiah. He would have missed out on the blessing of a son that would be the beginning of his incredible heritage. To think of all that Abraham would have missed out on had he chosen fear over faith is proof alone that change, although uncertain and frightening, is a blessing.
Overcoming the fear of change is difficult, but not impossible. First, we must always turn to Christ with our fears. He is willing and able to help us manage our fears, but only if we are willing to hand them over to Him. Second, allow yourself time to grieve. That probably sounds strange, but change usually comes with loss. Whether you are letting go of your childhood, saying farewell to a friend, or moving on from a specific phase of life, it is okay to allow yourself time to grieve the past. Remember how wonderful it was to have had what you had when you had it and look hopefully to the future this change provides.
My challenge to you today is to celebrate what you have right now. Be truly thankful for the friendships, relationships, home, job and place that you are in, because it will not always be this way. Then remind yourself that change brings good things along with the difficulties, and that God will equip you to handle them. Remember that it is okay to fear change but not to let that fear keep you from moving forward.