Being Shackled by the Fear of Change

There are many types of fear we humans experience, including the fear of change. Perhaps you are considering making a career change. You sense God is calling you to do something different and more meaningful with your life. As you have thought about particular choices, however, you vacillate between being excited and being fearful of the changes that would be required to go down a new path. Perhaps you have found yourself saying (to yourself and maybe others), "My job isn't really that bad after all" or "The job market is tough, I'll need to wait until another time to start doing what I believe God is calling me to do."

These rationalizations often are the result of being seduced by the comfort zone. Seduce means "to persuade to disobedience" and "to lead astray." Your life's comfort zone-made up of all the things you feel comfortable doing and surrounding yourself with-can be very seductive, leading you astray from discovering and living your calling. "But I've spent so long learning my job and getting good at it...would God really want me to leave it?" Maybe...maybe not. The key point, however, is that discipleship means you must be willing to leave your job for something new if that is what God asks of you. "But I like the people I work with....My work is so close to my house....It pays so well and offers a great retirement." Remember that handcuffs come in all shapes and sizes, and may even be golden. Nonetheless, they keep you captive.

Being Freed to Embrace Change

Melissa finally realized that she had procrastinated in calling the women's ministries director because of the mental images she had created for herself. When she pictured making the call, her fears colored the "movie" that played in her mind. She saw herself getting a negative reaction from the woman. She then felt herself being depressed and discouraged by the rejection. No wonder she avoided making the call!

"The truth is that there is a good chance I will get a positive--not a negative--response," Melissa told herself. I have the skills and experience to do a good job speaking at this event, even though I've never spoken to this large an audience before. They need a speaker. All that's stopping me is my own fear of presenting myself as a professional speaker. I haven't seen myself in that way before. It's a...change for me."

In preparing for the call, Melissa not only practiced what she would say, but she also meditated on some key Scripture verses:

- "For God did not give [me] a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7);

- "For [I] am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do" (Ephesians 2:10);

- "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all [I] ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within [me]" (Ephesians 3:20).

Melissa embraced the idea that God had a calling for her life, and that she would need to be willing to walk down an unknown path to follow Him. She realized that not only would she not be alone, but that God had already walked ahead of her to prepare the way for her.

She made the phone call, and was graciously greeted by the women's ministries director. Although the speaking position had already been filled by the time Melissa called, she was invited to speak at a small staff luncheon so that they could get to know her better and consider her for future events. Melissa's comfort zone expanded as she took significant steps forward and made the choice to live her calling.

What about you? Is God calling you to make some changes in your life? If you would like professional assistance with discerning and/or taking practical action steps to live your calling, we invite to schedule a free consultation session. We would consider it a privilege to help you discover who God has created you to be and what He has designed you to do!

Excerpts from Live Your Calling (2005) by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.