Friday, May 20, 2011



Talk about a loaded word. 

I used to be scared of that word.  Kind of like when you were a kid you walked down a dark hallway and even though you knew nothing was there, your heart beat got a little faster, and your eyes got just that much wider so you would be sure to discern any possible sign of a threat.  Know the feeling? 

But here's what I want to know: When did change become so terrifying?

The dictionary defines change like this:

change | ch ānj|
• make or become a different substance entirely; transform
• give up (something) in exchange for something else
• remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another
• the substitution of one thing for another
• an alteration or modification
• a new or refreshingly different experience

Now I don't know about you, but none of the things listed above seem that scary.  So what is our deal?  Honestly, I think it comes down to another word: fear.

We fear making the wrong choices, wrong spouse, wrong career...
We fear getting jipped in our interactions: If I give you this, what will I get back?
We fear making the changes we need to because we don't know what life is going to be like after.
We fear changing our routine, rocking the boat, having conflict.
We fear new experiences, not having enough, need.
We.  Fear.  A lot.
As I sit her and ponder all the reasons why we fear, I begin to recognize a pattern:  This is about me, mine, and what I'm going to get/keep/preserve without having to give up/lay down/risk anything.  On some very deep level, we are pessimistically convinced that if everything is going to turn out all right, it will be because we have made perfect decisions, flawlessly executed them, and not had to rely on anyone but ourselves to make that happen.

We have become the gods of our own universe, wholeheartedly believing that we have control. 

Newsflash: We don't.

Somewhere along the line we have taken back the faith we placed in our ever-loving and faithful God and substituted it for something that... well, it's just plain weird.  The foundational truths of the goodness of God, His love toward us, and our absolute reliance on Him have been exchanged for a puppet god that we can control sometimes but certainly don't have to give our lives fully to, who is moody and changes his mind a lot and waits for us to screw up so he can punish us with gleeful vengeance.

So let me ask you this:  Do you trust God?

Not just some assent to the fact that He holds the whole universe.  But that He holds you.  That He knows you.  That He wants the best for you. 

Because if we did, I mean REALLY did, the commands of God saying, "Do not fear," would be invitations to intimacy and trust, instead of isolating ourselves with worry and fear of the unknown. 

Isaiah 30:15 says this:

  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
   “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
   in quietness and trust is your strength,
   but you would have none of it.

Trust and faith are a choice that we can choose to walk in or walk away from.  Your ability to manage your inner world of fear, worry, and rest come from your willingness to trust that God is who He says He is.  That may or may not change your circumstances, but it will change your stance toward them.  Rest will be your portion and quietness will be your strength.  Choosing trust is the first step toward overcoming fear, and in turn conquering our fear of change.

I think we get stuck on what we're giving up and not believing that the best is yet to come when it comes to our faith walk with God.  We fear giving up our fears.  Because our fears are what we use to justify our lifestyle before God.  We try to use the things in our life as barganing chips without realising that it was God that gave us those blessings to begin with.  We so fear losing our stuff/relationships/control (Whatever it is, you fill in the blank), that we don't realize that we have complete and total access to the God who has it all to begin with.

I've been walking this trust/rest thing for a little while now.  The last six months have been loaded with changes for me:  I moved to Texas.  Then I left Texas.  And then ended up in Colorado Springs.  Jobless.  No direction whatsoever.  In one of the worst job markets in the country. 

In all of this I could be trying to control what is happening to me.  Bargaining with God, accusing him of taking me to Texas and then not caring what happened there.  Accusing Him of not caring for me as I watch my savings account dwindle rapidly.  Taking things into my own hands and thinking I'm in charge.  Getting worried about what's going to happen next.  Fearing for the future...

But here's the thing.  He holds me.  Tight.  And He's never letting go.  Why?  Because I'm the apple of His eye.  I'm the beloved of His heart.  He turns every circumstance I experience into a cause for praise.  I am His child.  He doesn't ever forget me.  He knows exactly where I am.  And before I cry He hears me. 

I could try to fight all that stuff, but I'll be honest with you.  Fear sucks.  And trust, although its hard sometimes, is waaaaaay more fun because I'm not in this alone.  These circumstances are an invitation to intimacy with God that I might not have known without them.  I am thankful for the times I am afraid, because I can run to my Shelter and be safe.  Do I know what's coming next?  Nope.  But God's got it covered.  His heart is for me.  He wants the best.  And He WILL provide.  Because that's Who He is.

Remember those definitions for change?

• make or become a different substance entirely; transform
• give up (something) in exchange for something else
• remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another
• the substitution of one thing for another
• an alteration or modification
• a new or refreshingly different experience

As Christians we're to be transformed daily by the renewing of our minds.  It's time for change to stop being scary and become a word we embrace with excitement of what's to come.

You choose change because you are becoming a different person entirely, you are being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
You choose to give up old patterns of thinking, ways of living, and belief systems in exchange for the Living Hope found in Jesus.
You actively work to eradicate sin in your life and replace it with fruit from the indwelling Spirit of God.
Your identity is held in Christ, who substituted himself for you.
You are changing daily anyway, so you might as well enjoy it.
And change is no longer terrifying, but it is an adventure lived out with radical trust in a Loving Savior.

And then it get's bigger!  You're not afraid of life altering change because God holds you.  He is not stingy with you.  He is not waiting for you to screw up!  He's cheering you on!

What change have you been afraid of?

Thinking you can control the outcome of anything is kinda silly.  Use wisdom, make good choices, but ultimately God's the one who has got you.  Your job is to trust and enjoy the ride.

Isaiah 49:16
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands"  He'll never let you go.