How do you stop being afraid of change?

Do you live a steady, predictable life? I know a lot of people who do. Even in my own life (which has its tumultuous times), there is some comfort in routine. It’s nice to get up and know exactly what you’re going to do, exactly when you’re going to do it, and exactly how you’re going to do it.

You don’t face challenges. You don’t face uncertainties. You don’t have to worry that you’ll encounter an obstacle you can’t overcome because you’ve faced it all before. And while that’s nice in many ways, you never grow.

Routine is a blessing at times, but when you get stuck in it, routine can do more damage than good. But that doesn’t make facing a rapidly changing world any easier. And believe me, your life is going to change. Even if you stick to the same old routine for as long as you can, something always changes. And when that moment comes, if you aren’t ready for it, you’ll be swept away.

A mountain on the hike to Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO

A mountain on the hike to Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Isaiah 26:4.

Trust in the Lord always,
    for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

Change is a part of life, and the best way to get through it is to base your life on something that doesn’t change. It’s like building a structure on a good foundation. If your foundation shifts and moves, your structure won’t be able to withstand the storms that beat against it.

So what does that look like in the life of a Christ follower? Well, there’s a reason God is called a Rock throughout the whole Bible. Rocks are big and strong and they last a long time. God, in this verse, is called an eternal rock.

A big, solid, strong rock that isn’t going anywhere. He won’t change. He won’t alter His course. He won’t fail when you need Him. If you have that certainty in your life, you can face any change that comes at you. But what does that look like? Because you can talk about building your life on the solid rock all day long and still have no idea what it means.

Making God your rock means that you stop relying on your own strength to get you through difficult times. The change that’s coming for you? That situation you don’t know how you’re going to handle? You don’t have to face it by yourself, and you don’t have to handle it in your own strength. God is offering you His strength, and all you have to do is accept it.

But to accept it, you have to be willing to do things God’s way. You can use a chainsaw all you like, but it won’t do you any real good until you plug it into a power source. It’s the same way with God.

God has given you resources and all sorts of tools in order to live your life, but if you insist on doing things your own way, you’re going to keep bashing your head against a wall.

The idea of change can be scary, but if you are firmly grounded in what God says is right, you can stand up to any challenge. There’s nothing life can throw at you that is bigger than God.

So don’t be afraid of change. Change is going to happen for good or for bad, and if you run away from it, you’ll stay a child your entire life and you’ll live a childish faith.

Embrace routine while you have it. It can be a blessing. But embrace change too because it’s in the moments of change in our lives that we learn how much like a Rock God really is.

Storm clouds in Guatemala, Peten, Guatemala

Confessions of a worry wart in a thunderstorm

I have a confession to make.

Why is it so hard to let go of the things you worry about? Does anybody else have that problem? Sometimes my brain races at night, and I can’t get it to shut off. I just can’t stop thinking. And before you know it, I’m lying in bed wide awake when I should be sleeping.

I had a monster rainstorm at my house last night. By all accounts, my basement should have flooded. Judging by the amount of rain that came down and how long it came down, a basement full of water this morning wouldn’t have surprised me. But my basement is dry. In one little place water is starting to seep in through the concrete, but that’s not a problem. And it’s not something I need to clean up. So I’m immensely thankful this morning, and I’m wondering why I stubbornly cling to things that don’t matter.

Storm clouds in Guatemala, Peten, Guatemala

Storm clouds in Guatemala, Peten, Guatemala

Today’s Bible verse is Isaiah 26:4.

Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

I trust God. I do. I have no problem turning things over to Him, but then my brain keeps bringing them back up again. Last night is a great example. I knew the basement hadn’t leaked in months, and even if it had, it’s not like it would have destroyed a bunch of valuable things. The biggest issue would be clean up. But my brain wouldn’t stop thinking about it. Do I have enough towels? Is the shopvac here? What if the power goes out and I can’t use the shopvac? Is the sump pump working? I don’t hear it running. Why isn’t it running?

And on and on and on it went, circling my brain until the rain outside finally slowed around 3:00 a.m. I’m glad I took a nap yesterday.

Does worry like that mean I don’t trust God? That’s what I’m concerned about. Because I want to trust Him completely. I want to know that I’ve given everything I have over to Him and that He can do whatever He likes with it. Granted, He can do whatever He likes with it without my permission or not, but my attitude about His sovereignty in my life is essential.

For every worry that popped up in my head, I answered it with truth. God is sovereign. All I have is His. Things are things and can be replaced. Until I got to the point of wondering what I was even worrying about. But even then, I couldn’t stop it.

So what does that mean? Does that mean I don’t trust God like I should? Well, I’m not sure any of us can claim that we’ve accomplished that level of trust. Maybe a handful of people have, but I’m not sure they would go around talking about how tight they are with God even if they were. I want to trust God more than I do, but I trust Him already too. I’ve seen Him do miracles. I’ve seen Him do extraordinary things in my life.

Today’s verse calls Him the Eternal Rock, and that’s true. He hasn’t changed at all from the beginning of time. He’s the same God who provided for the founders of our faith, the same God who protected believers in the past. I know that. I believe that. So why do I worry? And not just worry–allow my brain to run wild to the wee hours of early morning over something that doesn’t matter, something that won’t even turn out to be a problem?

It’s frustrating.

Not once in the night did I doubt that everything would be okay. Even if the house flooded, even if everything was destroyed, I knew it would be okay. God has taken care of me before; certainly, He’d do it again. But it’s one thing to know it; it’s something else to believe it. And living it takes the whole concept to another level.

So what’s the solution for worry? I wish I knew, but I don’t. If I knew, I wouldn’t be staying up to 3:00 a.m. worrying about a flood that never came. I tell you what, I never felt more like Elijah in the cave after Jezebel threatened his life.

For me, I think it’s focus and discipline. Part of having faith is acting like you believe even if you don’t feel like it. If you think about it, that’s a definition of faith. And the rest of it is remembering. Remember what God has done for you–not necessarily for other people. It’s easy to remember how God has helped others. That’s because it’s a lot easier to focus on others in general. But when it comes to remembering what God has done for you personally, that’s more difficult. Remind yourself how God has helped you in the past and focus on that. Your perspective will change, and maybe the urge to worry will go away.

It’s supposed to rain again tonight, so if it works, I’ll let you know. Either way, giving in to worry is a waste of time, and losing sleep over something you can’t change or can’t stop is silly. It’s one thing to want to be prepared to face trouble. That’s wisdom. But get prepared and then don’t worry about it. And when your brain starts to worry anyway, point out all the ways that God has helped you personally in the past. You’ll probably have to remind it more than once.

The key to facing worry down is remembering who is in charge. If what you are worrying about happens, God has you covered and has something for you to learn. If what you are worrying about doesn’t happen, God still has you covered and has something for you to learn. Either way, God still has you covered.


Can you trust a rock?

What is it about rocks that make us trust them? Whenever we refer to someone as a “rock” we usually mean that he or she is steady and solid.

Granted, rocks on earth are subject to erosion and wear like everything else. But it takes forever.

Whenever I hear people talking about people being rocks, I think about Duane Johnson, formerly known as The Rock — the wrestling guy. He’s an acting guy now. I actually enjoy his movies. He’s kind of fun. But people called him The Rock because he was huge and because he was unmoveable.

We trust rocks because they are solid. When the wind blows, generally speaking, they aren’t going anywhere. They’re unchanging. Rocks usually look and act the same from day to day. And they’re steady. When everything else around them collapses, generally they stay where they are.

Those are normal rocks. And if you’re speaking of a person, those are normal people. But what would happen if you found a rock that never eroded?

That’s what today’s verse is about. Isaiah 26:4.

 4 Trust in the Lord always,
      for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

This verse identifies God as an eternal rock. A rock that lasts forever no matter how the wind howls or the rains pound.

So if we can trust a person who we think is a rock when we know that they aren’t perfect and will eventually make a wrong move, how much more can we trust God? If we can trust a rock down here where everything — even the mountains — are temporary, how much more can trust a rock of heaven that really, truly never changes?

People we trust can make mistakes. Even the best, most solid rock on earth can crack. And for that reason you can’t always trust people. We’re always supposed to love them, but loving people isn’t the same as trusting them.

Oppositely, though, since God is a rock that will never crack or erode, we can always trust Him. So why don’t we?

I mean, we say we do. But we don’t live like it. Maybe it’s because too many people have let us down. Too many people we trusted have disappointed us. Too many of our rocks have worn away.

The thing about trust is that it has to be earned. And so many times I don’t think we give God the chance to show us how trustworthy He is. We ask Him for something and when He doesn’t give it to us right away, we decide that He’s a liar and we give up on Him. Or we just try to accomplish something on our own and we fail.

So if you haven’t ever allowed God to prove Himself to you, consider giving Him a chance. And when what you want doesn’t happen exactly when you want it, don’t give up.

Many people consider mountains to be a symbol of wisdom because they’ve been around so long. And people who are wise know that it’s not always the best course of action to give a younger person everything they want immediately when they want it. God is the same way.

He’s older than the mountains. And He is wiser than the wisest person in the universe. And to a certain extent, while God wants to prove how trustworthy He is to us, trust is reciprocal. We have to demonstrate to God that we can be trusted too. God isn’t going to give us responsibilities or possessions that we will misuse or mistreat until we can show Him that we are ready.