Change is exciting. It’s fun. It’s part of life. As the saying goes, “The only thing constant in life is change.”
Change is also scary. Change can cause fear. Change can make you imagine every worst thing which might happened to you and/or your family.
2016 seems to be a year of change for so many. Moving from comfortable, familiar situations and preparing for things to come, setting up the stage upon which eternal events will hinge.
Our country as a whole is fixing to embark on major change as we head to the polls in a few weeks and vote for a new president. I have talked to several people over the past week who have voiced how anxious they are over the upcoming election. They are not alone.
I’m sure a lot has been written on this topic by many people who are more educated and eloquent than myself. But this is some of my experience over the past year in dealing with change.
This year after I got married I went through a few months of living in fear. Fear was robbing me of joy in what is one of the happiest times of my life. I was afraid everything good that happened to me over the past year was going to crumble and something bad would happen. I felt as though I didn’t deserve any of the good things happening to me, it was only for good perfect people who never messed up. Who didn’t have a child out-of-wedlock. Who had never had been in messed up relationships. But the great thing about God is His blessings are not discriminatory.
I found myself allowing fear of what I thought others thought of me to dictate how I saw myself, where I would go and activities I participated in. You see when you have a past not everyone holds the same views on how you should proceed into your future. To some, you are forever marked with the scarlet letter A on your chest. It is also unfortunate it seems people who are in church can be some of the harshest critics of how we should live our lives if we have failed. Oh, it’s ok for a total sinner who has never known the Lord to come to God and try to move forward but if you have been raised in church and mess up it seems as though prodigals have to work twice as hard to prove God’s mercy and grace is sufficient. It can mess with your mind. Make you doubt God’s word, the power of His blood, forgiveness, and redemption process. When people hold your past sins over your head because you don’t fit into the box they have created in their mind of who they think you should be, then yes it is hard to face. So in turn the church ends up pushing away the very people who need extra love and support. I’m not saying not to have beliefs and standards and convictions. But if you do, do it in love. Don’t treat someone like discarded trash because they don’t have the same cultural beliefs as you, the right back ground, the right skin color, the right story to fit into your box. You never know if the people you are treating as unworthy could one day be you or a family member facing a similar situation. We are all just flesh, saved by grace.
Perhaps all of this was just created in my head. But regardless, God had to work this out in me. I was allowing fear to hold me back, just where the enemy would love to see me stay.
One morning while jogging I was thinking how I have been somewhat passive in so many areas. I have lived in fear of pushing myself in jogging because I might hurt my back. What’s funny is nothing has changed about my back in the past year. It’s the same back I ran a half-marathon with last December. What has changed is what I now know about my back. I was causing fear to build within me and not allow me to push towards my full potential. Whether I train harder and push myself or sit on the couch at home, I have the same back and will still need frequent adjustments. What changed was my mind. Since that morning of deciding to no longer be passive, I have shaved about a minute off of my run. I am not quite back to where I was a year ago, and nowhere near where I would like to be, but I do manage to hit a 10 minute mile every now and then. Prior to me changing my mind I was doing about a 12 minute mile. And you know what? My back is fine. I feel great.
So what else does letting go of fear translate to for me?
I have unfriended and stopped following certain people on social media. Does it mean I don’t like them? Does it mean they are bad people? No, it just means I want to keep my mind in check. My mental, emotional and spiritual health is more important to me than my friends list.
Overcoming fear means making a decision to not stay at home from an event where I would have fun with friends because I might see people who I think don’t like me. How someone else feels about me is not my problem. I choose to be joyful & happy.
The biggest one two punch we can give to the enemy is to choose joy, get up when we have fallen, keep moving, live in unity with each other and be victorious in it.
Change can be scary and cause fear to harbor or we can choose joy through change, it’s our decision. And today I choose joy!
I leave you with some of the words from one of my favorite songs, The Corinthian Song, written by Micah Stampley.
It was taken from 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
I am troubled, yet not distressed.
Perplexed, but not in despair.
Cause I’m a vessel full of power,
With a treasure, none can compare.
Persecuted, but not forsaken.
Cast down, but not destroyed.
I’m a vessel full of power
With a treasure, from the Lord.
Thank you Father for your power
It has resurrected me.
Oh, the painful circumstances
That my poor soul could not flee.
Bruised and battered but not broken
Brought my sin back, From sin I am free
Cause I am a vessel, got a whole lot of power
With a treasure, delivered me.