New Year, Same Fear? The Fear of Change

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January 27, 2022

Change. It’s a guaranteed fact of life. Some of that change may seem minuscule, some of it may be life-altering. As I sit here and take quick stock of some of the changes in my life, the range is massive, and the list seems unending, but most of them have one thing in common — that imminent change brought a sense of distress. Most of us tend to get comfortable in our routines. We like the way things are and don’t like when that rhythm gets disrupted.

Before we dive in, I’d like you to take a minute to remember the most notable changes in your life. Recall the career change you weren’t ready for, the child you didn’t expect, or the one you hoped for that didn’t come, the relationship you didn’t see ending, the friendship that faded, the family member you lost, anything that seemed to throw the rhythm of your life off. Maybe you’re on the precipice of a major change in your life right now. Hold that in your mind as you read the next few paragraphs.

As a husband and father of three quickly growing children, I seem to experience change daily. Recently, my teenage son asked my wife and me a question that we weren’t totally prepared for — “can I go see a movie with a friend… who’s a girl…?” After we both briefly choked on whatever we were eating, we responded the only way we knew how, “where did this come from? And, um, no.” I say that half-joking because we knew this day was coming; we’ve talked with each other about it and with our kids. However, we still weren’t ready for our oldest to go from being oblivious to the opposite sex to dating. I love the relationship we have right now, and I know that dynamic will shift, and I’m anxious about what that might look like.

Our lives are filled with constant change, and that’s been true since the beginning of time. Nearly 2,500 years ago, the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” It was true then and remains just as true today. Why does it seem that some people are more comfortable with it than others? What can we do to lean into change instead of living in fear of it?

Change Your Perspective

I want to encourage you with a foundational fact about God that we learn about in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” You might be thinking, “why does it matter to me that God doesn’t change? It’s my life changing that I’m concerned about?” It matters because if God is always the same, then His promises remain the same as well. There are so many verses I could point you to, but I believe Psalm 46:1–3 sums it up best:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

There is no solid ground in the world that we live in, but if you’re not a Christian, I hope you will consider putting your faith in the One who never changes today. It’s powerfully reassuring to know that the God of the universe has a plan for your life despite the seeming chaos you’re facing. If you are already a follower of Jesus, maybe you’ve forgotten this and need to be reminded that your anchor holds. Like the waves of the sea, your life will continue to be unpredictable and full of change. I certainly can’t promise you that it will be easy or painless, but I can promise you that God will use whatever you face to continue forming you into who He wants you to be. There’s much more to unpack about the truth of God’s love shown through His Son Jesus. Take a look at this blog about the true peace He can bring or reach out to one of our pastors.

Bring back to mind that change in your life that I told you to hold onto earlier. Take a moment to prayerfully ask God to reveal why it scares you. There are many reasons you might be anxious about change — from a fear of failing, embarrassment, pain, criticism, and more. Your change might incite more than just one of the fears on that list, and that’s ok, but it’s helpful to move from just thinking about the thing you’re afraid of to why you’re afraid of it. As we begin to focus on the underlying cause of our fear, we can start to view it as a part of God’s bigger plan for our lives and as an opportunity to grow in our ability to overcome even bigger challenges.

Today, don’t shy away from change. Let’s look to God for the strength to face it and for the wisdom to learn through it.