This morning I was sitting with one of my seminary professors talking about pretty much everything we could have talked about in 90 minutes. It’s an incredible thing when you can sit down with someone who genuinely cares about who you are and how God is working in your life. We talked a lot about change and fear and how they go hand in hand. You can’t really have one without the other. Change is the only constant thing in our lives, besides our faith, and this is why I always write about it.
As humans, we fear change, and oftentimes after this change happens, we wonder why we were afraid of that change in the first place. Of course change is scary. Your life can be rearranged, your faith can be shaken or strengthened, your relationships can grow or shrink, and somehow, in the end..you come out better than you were before. It’s weird, we are all so afraid of being changed and becoming something new, but why? Why are we so afraid of becoming the people we are called to be, feeling awkward when we simply say, “I don’t know,” and most importantly embracing who we are and what we are capable of? I truly the believe the world would be a different place if we all embraced our fears and accept the changes that happen when we do the things that scare us the most, the things that make us feel uncomfortable.
In reality, everyday we learn something new, become someone new, and experience something new. We never view it this way though. If that were the case, I feel like change would be something we would all embrace, beg for, and experience to its full extent. All day today I’ve been thinking about the ways that we let fear get in the way of the words we want to say, the things we want to do, and the changes that we need to experience. Last summer I spoke to a group of college students about being afraid, but continuing to live anyway. Today I talked to my professor about the same thing, being afraid, but living out your call in the midst of that fear. It’s interesting to me, when we start something new it’s scary, we don’t know what we are doing, and we ask the questions that don’t always have a purpose or reason. After a while though, this new thing becomes something different, and we slowly start to find the courage to ask the real, deep, meaningful questions that we desperately want to hear the answers to. Once this new, scary, thing becomes our normal, we begin to live in our fear and grow in our fear, and when we do this-we change. This thing that we now view as normal becomes something that we should still fear because it still has to change us in someway. It’s a cycle that keeps on going and encourages us to grow. We slowly morph into the people we are meant to be-the people God calls us to be. We do this by doing the things we are afraid of doing-by asking the questions we are afraid to ask, and hearing the answers that we mostly likely are afraid to hear. Maybe, if we all started to view fear and change as a cycle-they would be easier to comprehend.
I like to believe that fear doesn’t control our lives. That everyday we do things that scare us because we know these things will end up changing us- eventually for the better. I like to think that showing up is the most courageous thing we can do, especially when we are afraid. For me, the greatest moments in life have been the moments when I have let my faith and courage diminish my fear and let God into those places that I have tried to hide, but desperately needed to show.
With all that being said, I’m leaving you with a quote from Shauna Niequist that has encouraged me to live in my fear, uncertainty, and change: “Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we’re not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we’ve barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we’ve said we’ll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.”