Afraid of Change

Some call it a fear, others a phobia. For some it’s a dilemma and for others, an outright disorder. But regardless of the setting… whether in the workplace, in relationships… even in personal style or habits, change is not easy!

Fear of the Unknown

I have stared change right in the face over the past two weeks and have survived to this point (we’ll see what tomorrow holds) I updated the operating systems on both my iPhone and my MacBook Pro.

Don’t check-out just yet… I’ll get to the “meat” in a bit… I promise.

  • Why did I wait so long with my phone that the iOS went from 6.1 t0 8.1?
  • Why, on my MacBook, did I have to jump from Mountain Lion to Yosemite without even looking at Mavericks?

Because I dislike change. I’m uncomfortable with the unknown.

Have you ever heard the old classical musician’s quippy pun?
“If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it!”  (word play on ‘broke’)

Dealing with Change, Afraid of Change, Uncertainty, Fog, Leap of FaithMy phone and laptop were working well enough for the most part, but then, in each case, there was an app that I wanted to use and was unable to because I’d so successfully resisted change. What if I did the update and it set off a domino effect, requiring me to update a never ending succession of programs and patterns?

Worst case scenario: Total system crash requires me to purchase new.
Definite scenario:  I might have to … ugh… learn to do things differently.

– and that takes time, which I don’t have enough of…
– and it takes effort, which I’d rather devote elsewhere…
– and it means accepting to become uncomfortable…

Dealing with Fear

Not only am I a Christian… I’m a pastor for heaven sake. So I am very familiar with the many times that Jesus commanded people to “Fear not!”, I’ve heard countless verses and messages that deal with putting things into the Lord’s hands and leaving them there, and I’m very familiar with Hebrews 11 that defines Faith as: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  • So why does fear still creep in from time to time?
  • Why will I avoid situations, actions or even people sometimes?

Because every day presents us with numerous opportunities to embrace change or to shrink back from it. Oh now I’m not just talking about updating an operating system… that’s just a lightweight example. This is the nitty gritty.

In short, I’d have to say that we don’t deal well with change because we’re still on the earthy side of heaven’s gate. You know, where weeds still grow in the garden and our flesh is not completely wiped out by our spiritual self. Our faith is still… being perfected.

Change-Related Stress

As I age I find I have less tolerance for change in general. Consequently, there are times when it amazes me that we are preparing to shove just about as much change into our life as can be imagined.

I did a quick tally on an interactive version of the Holmes & Rahe Stress Scale (try it out here) and scored 270. If you’re not familiar with the scale, the authors assign a numeric value to various life events, the combined total of which quantifies the level of stress that you are managing. It considers things like, in my case:

– Change of financial state
– Change of residence
– Change of responsibility at work

My 270 is not good. A score of 300+ generally indicates a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future and you must get below 150 to have a low risk.

Why on earth would someone who is increasingly averse to change consider willingly introducing so much change in their life?

Key to Embracing Change

I don’t know that you’ll be able to understand unless you experience it for yourself but in my mind the only reason that a sane person willingly introduces that much change in their life is that their minds are captivated by something that is worth much more than their personal comfort.

william barclayI call it being in the Will of God.

William Barclay put it this way:
“There are two great days in a person’s life; the day they are born and the day they understand why.”

When you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are doing what you were created to do, it is much easier to embrace change and temporary discomfort.

That’s why we are preparing to leave a secure position in an established church, sell our house and move our family some 4,982km away to live in a new city, with a small church and depend on others for our livelihood.  Because we are in the will of God.

Expressing Faith

When momentary fear tries to raise its ugly head, we remind ourselves of this fact. We express, whether silently or outloud, that we trust the One who is trustworthy; the one who does all things well.

*God, I trust you for the big things…. and the little things too.*

Thank you for stopping by again today.
Be strong and courageous…. you’re in good hands!