This is the time of year when everyone starts thinking about change. We think about changing our weight. We think about changing our style. We think about changing our habits and the types of people we hang out with and the things we do.
Everyone changes things up in January, and I think it’s ironic because deep down inside, I don’t think anyone really likes change. People are creatures of habit. Even the change we initiate is uncomfortable, and most people I know change things up because they don’t want to get stuck in a rut. They do it as a preventative measure; not because they yearn for change. Maybe I’m wrong and there are people out there who thrive on change, but I haven’t met one before.
But change is essential. Without change, we don’t grow. Without change, we plateau. Without change, we get comfortable, not only with ourselves but with God. And that’s a place I never want to be. I never want to be comfortable with God, where I feel perfectly capable of doing everything myself and never having to ask Him for help.
Today’s verses are Genesis 12:1-3.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
God has a history of helping ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and the story of Abraham and Sarah (at this time, Abram and Sarai) is just one example. There was nothing special about Abraham. He was just a guy who made a choice–to follow God instead of rejecting Him. But that one choice changed everything.
God told him to leave. Leave his home. Leave his family. Leave the life he’d built in the country he’d always known. And just go. God didn’t say where. He didn’t tell Him where he’d be living or how he was going to get there or when (or if) he’d ever come back. Just go.
And Abraham did.
The trouble with me is that I hate change. I despise it. I can deal with it. I don’t mind coping with change, but it’s my least favorite thing in the world. I understand why it’s necessary, but I don’t like it.
I have the same internet provider I’ve had for years. I have the same cellular phone provider I did when I was a child. I use the same brand of shampoo and conditioner on my hair. I hate change. But change is good.
Now, does that mean the status quo is bad? Well, not necessarily. Change is good, but many people are in a position where they have to keep to the status quo right now. Changing right now would have a negative impact on their lives or on their families. But if God has told you to change, you need to do it.
The thing about Abraham is that God had huge plans for him. Like this verse lays out, Abraham had a great future in store for him. I mean, imagine what would have happened if Abraham hadn’t done it. He would never have left. He would never have become the father of Israel. Everything hinged on Abraham doing what God called him to do. Granted, God would have worked out His master plan some other way, but think about what Abraham would have missed out on.
The long and the short of it is that God couldn’t have used Abraham where he was. He had to move. He had to change.
I have a lot of things changing in my life this year. Some changes I’ve chosen. Most of them I haven’t. They range from my personal life to my professional life, from my own life to the lives of the people I love. And the one uniting factor is that I have absolutely zero control over any of it. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m a control freak, and not having control over anything shakes my world.
None of the change is bad, necessarily. On the contrary, most of it is super exciting and shows just how much God is working not only in my life but in the lives of others. But in all these situations, the only thing I can do is hold on to what I know is true and keep moving forward.
Change is unsettling and uncomfortable and unpleasant. And it helps me remember that I’m not in control and that I need help daily. Change helps us grow because we don’t know what’s coming next and we have to rely on God for every step, because when we change everything up we don’t know what the next step is going to bring.
But if God has called you to change something in your life, don’t be afraid of it. If He’s called you to change, do it. The story of Abraham tells us that God’s already worked out the details; he just needs us to say yes and take that first step, even if we can’t see where we’re going.