Change isn't the hardest thing I have ever encountered. It is and always has been, the fear of change.
I didn't realize that for a long time. I thought it was the act of moving out of the familiar place that I was in that was causing me fear. Not wanting to leave a place, or take a new job, or meet someone new.
The 'What Ifs' would plague me. What if I do THIS and THAT happens? You know what I am talking about. We have all been there.
Fear is paralyzing. You may not feel paralyzed right now, but that could be because you have developed a lifestyle that has settled you into the status quo where nothing in your life of any consequence ever changes.
It is safe there, it is consistent there, but let's face it... It is boring there.
I love this dialog from the movie Parenthood.
You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Up, down, up down. Oh, what a ride!
What a great story.
I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
Once I heard that in the movie I never forgot it. Fortunately, I have always had an adventurous spirit. Even though I love new things, once I get in a comfortable place in life, I don't what to leave it, and the older I get the more content I am to not change.
But, I honestly believe if we are to make a difference in this world, really make an impact, we cannot, must not, fear change.
We say we are submitted to God, and we want to be, we mean to be, but what if you had been Abram in a desolate country with little ways to communicate or travel? If you felt God was leading you today to up and move not knowing where to go or what was to come, would you? Could you?
Now the LORD
said to Abram ,
from your countryAnd from your relatives ,
And from your father’s
houseTo the land , whichAnd I will make I will show you; you into a greatAnd I will bless nation , you,And make your nameAnd you shall be a blessing great ; ;And I will bless those who blessAnd the one who curses you, you I will curseAnd in you all . the families of the earth will be blessed .”
went away as the LORD had spoken to him; Genesis 12:1-4a
Many times in my life I've had people say to me, "I don't hear from God." It really concerns them. At first I didn't know what to say. But then I realized that they have heard from God while maybe not even realizing it. So I ask them, "When was the very last time you felt led or directed by God to do something?"
After much thought I would see recognition in many eyes. In some they just don't know or don't remember. God is no respecter of persons, but he has a mission for this earth and he recruits those who will honor his direction in their lives and do as he asks, even when it is terrifying.
So, if you are one of those who say that God doesn't speak to you, let me challenge you that 'yes' he does. Search your memory in prayer asking God to help you revisit the last request he made to you. Repent that you didn't obey, or that you may have dismissed it excusing it away as just a random thought.
This can be a scary thing to do. Will you be ready to obey this time? No doubt that the first time you dismissed it or excused it away because just the thought of it created anxiety in you. God wants to stretch us and grow us and if we don't do the hard frightening things, he simply cannot use us.
Last fall I sold my big beautiful home in an area that I loved. God helped us get there in the most miraculous way. Why then would he ever have me go? But, he did and I didn't want to - at first.
It was so hard. It was so scary. It was such an insurmountable task. But God not only helped me every second of every day, he blessed me in the midst of it.
And he changed my heart. I grew to be excited for the change. Now, I don't miss it a bit. That is a true miracle of God.
I am now sharing a small two bedroom apartment with a friend. It is a fraction of the size of my previous home. But I love it here. I have everything I need. I even have what I love the most in a place to live - windows with lots of light.
The scary is over and I am here to tell you, the fear or dread of it was much worse than going through it. Because when we submit and go through it with God, it will be so much better, easier, and exacting than we could ever manage on our own.
How do I handle the fear of change?
Honestly, I usually whine and say 'God why?' before I just simply move forward. I have come to know from first hand experience that he will not leave me comfortable for too long. Why? Because he has a plan for this world and its people and I have a heart to do my part wherever he says that is.
So, I simple say 'okay', and just get started. I become submitted and obedient and I just do it.
My life has been a roller-coaster. It is wild and crazy and I have done things I never imagined I would or even could do and I know there is much more ahead.
Let me encourage you today that it is never too late to get back to that place of total and complete submission, radical submission to God. Ask him, what did I miss? Where do you want me to go?
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Let me ruffle some more feathers here (I seem to be so good at it). I take issue with the little ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ prayers we tack on to the end of our religious box sessions. That does not lead to being born again. At best, it may allow those saying it to realize that there is a need in their life to allow Jesus to help them change and by saying that prayer sincerely they are acknowledging that something in their life needs to change and they give that to Jesus, which is amazing. But...