We fear change. I have often wondered why that is. What about change do we fear? We often say it is an issue of stepping outside of our comfort zone, but I have never been very convinced. I step outside of my comfort zone all the time, but still I have this inherent fear of change. This phenomenon eats away at me.
Two years ago I made some big changes in my life. I packed all of my belongings and moved out to Kansas for my first job as a youth pastor. I was fresh out college, engaged, and ready to embark on a new adventure. It was intimidating and scary. It was full of change. It was also exciting. There was something about being part of an adventure bigger than myself that is appealing. I think we all long for an adventure. I think it is a trait God has given all of us. It may take longer for others to discover this hunger for adventure, but it is a quality that is rooted in all of us.
It’s been two years since going down that new part of the road of adventure. The funny thing about the road we are on is it often has twists and turns that we never see until we arrive at them. My family and I have found ourselves at one of those turns. Every turn means change. God’s called us down one direction of the road that will change things drastically for us.
Yesterday I announced my resignation as a youth pastor here in Kansas. God has called me away to go to seminary to continue my education. It is a new time of change. It is a new adventure. It is both bitter sweet. Sweet in knowing I am following God’s leading, but bitter in leaving behind relationships and ministry I have invested in here.
In the back of my mind there has been this element of fear though. Change is coming, and that is always unsettling. I do not believe it is the change itself that brings fear though. I believe it is one the change shows us about ourselves that gives us fear. Change always exposes us. It always has a way of highlighting our flaws and struggles. Change always tells us how far we really have to go. It reminds us of the progress that remains to be made. It reminds us that no matter how far down this road we go, we still need to continue to go down it even farther. Perhaps the biggest thing change reminds us of is that all of this is so temporary. Simply facing the possibility of change can show all of these things.
I’ve written a lot on here lately about trusting on God, and following His leading even when we may not know all the details. It is that constant balance of being responsible, but also being willing to let God work. When this latest big change started to come into focus I began to get nervous. I played the what if game. What if I fail at this. What if I’m not cut out for higher education? What if people feel betrayed by my leaving? The what if game never ends with you winning. A possible door began to open for this feeling of God’s movement to become a reality. After praying and waiting on the Lord it seemed like there was an opportunity, but there were still risks. Following God always requires risk.
I was hesitant. I wanted to look before I leapt, and I was not all too confident about what I saw when I looked. It took my wife to remind me how we had felt God at work in our lives and began praying for clarity. We prayed for Him to keep our eyes open when He gave use the opportunity to move forward with the desire He placed on our hearts. We took the wisdom of an old professor in waiting on the Lord. The waiting went on for some time. During that time we wondered what God was trying to teach us while we were waiting. I think my wife and I would both now tell you the lesson was simply just to wait on Him. So we waited.
My wife had to remind me all I had been saying and writing lately. This was clearly God at work. This was clearly where He was leading us. I couldn’t live in fear of the what ifs. I couldn’t live in fear of my potential failures. I couldn’t live in fear of leaving behind the things that we cared about here. So I move forward boldly with my family. I move forward to face a road that has its own fair share of unknowns. I leave grateful for the opportunities I have had here. I leave appreciating what I had here, but moving forward for a new adventure. I’ll let that hunger for adventure drown out my fears again today.
No, it really isn’t the change itself that is scary. It is what the change forces you to face. Change forces you to face yourself. It dares you to ask one simple question.
It all truly comes down to this simple question.
Do you trust God?