In a previous post I wrote about change being an opportunity to expand your life. The problem is often we allow our fear to paralyze us from ever seizing such opportunities. Change is guaranteed in life. Why do we resist it?
I have always found the Old Testament hero, Joshua, inspiring. God called him to face his fears and lead the people of Israel to invade and conquer the Promised Land. I would encourage you to read of God’s call on Joshua. (Joshua 1)
This Old Testament man of God had several reasons to fear the changes into which he was to lead the people.
Consider the fears he might have experienced when he faced his life changing task…
- Fear of the unknown. They had little battle experience. There was a divine promise that they would gain the land, but there was not a promise that they would attain the land unscathed. They would have to strive and fight. They would have to risk and sacrifice. Even when God promises us a victorious future, he also calls us to enter battles and face uncertainties.
- Fear for survival. The enemy forces were intimidating. Joshua and the people could have thought that they might lose the fight. Sometimes change scares us because we fear that we will lose something and that our lives will be irreparably diminished. Are there changes you are facing that make you fear that you will lose your position with others or the routine to which you have become accustomed? As a leader of a church, I have often had the task of leading our organization through change. Almost always, there are a few people who resist the change. Usually they do because they fear the loss of something they are comfortable with. Sometimes they fear losing a position they have enjoyed filling. Often these fears are unfounded, though sometimes change does eliminate things they have come to love. The only way to face such a fear is to trust that God has something else for you on the other side of the change. It might be different, but God is bringing the change so that you will join him in a different adventure.
- Fear of failure. He had witnessed a previous failure. Forty years before the people refused to advance into the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb had spoken for obeying God at that time. Often when we face changes our minds go back to times when we experienced painful failure. Those failures of the past can be magnified in our minds paralyzing us from embracing the changes that could stretch us and expand our opportunities. Beware of the fear of failure. It just might keep you from one of the greatest successes of your life.
- Fear of inadequacy. Joshua was following a legend. Moses had led the people for four decades. God had used his predecessor to free the people from Egypt, cross the Red Sea, and receive the Ten Commandments. It would be difficult to fill Moses’ sandals. He had not performed miracles. Moses had, but Joshua had not. He could have looked at his predecessor and said, “I can’t measure up to that.” Had he let that fear grip him, he would have missed his calling. I often look at a task for which God is calling and then compare myself with others who have done it. It is easy to make such a comparison and feel inadequate. But none of us should let that fear prevent us from moving forward. Those same predecessors had the very same feelings of inadequacy that we are prone to have. What made the difference for them? They faced those fears down and moved forward anyway. So can you and so can I!
It is so worth facing down your fears. Why? Because entering into the changes God call us into can have great benefits.
Consider the benefits Joshua would attain when pushing through his fears…
- Growth. Because Joshua was willing to follow God through change, he grew to realize his calling and increase his responsibility. When you follow God through changes in your life you grow. Your understanding of God’s purpose for your life increases as your responsibilities in life increase.
- Gain. Joshua would help the people attain the Promised Land. All great achievements in life demand that you navigate through change.
Change can be frightening. Kriegel and Brandt say, “Change is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and often seems unsafe. It’s fraught with uncertainty and always looks harder than it is…Change brings us face-to-face with the unknown.”
But let’s not forget that change is our opportunity to face down our fears, stretch our faith, and reach for something more.
Question: What fears grip you when you face change? Why should you push through that change to follow God’s call into something new? You can leave a comment by clicking here.