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by Brian Sell on May 29, 2019

Understanding Change Anxiety as a Call to Worship

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~1 John 4:18 (NIV)

I’m not real big on the idea of change.

I like things to be predictable, normal and tidy. Safety and comfort are things I have tended to be very enthusiastic about. I think we generally work hard to find ourselves in a place that seems better than our former situation, and when something comes along which threatens our happy moment of bliss, it can be very disconcerting.

Transitions can be downright scary! And yet, if we look at our lives, it would be hard to find a time when we weren’t either preparing for change, transitioning through a change, or getting used to a change.

The important moments of our lives seem to consist of these transition points. It’s almost as if God is the master weaver who takes the various strands of familial relationships, friendships, romance, work, finances, self-expression and health, and he bends them around each other in an artful pattern that is only fully appreciated as it is witnessed by others. These bent threads descend and emerge, back and forth as his indelible image slowly takes formation.

I kind of hate to admit it, but deep in my pain-averse heart, I know that God calls us loudest when we are furthest away from the things we have used to comfort ourselves (or maybe our ears are just more open). It seems to me that during those times, he wants us to bear solemn witness of something that he is going to do. He wants to show us something about the true nature of his universe, and his complete mastery of the fearsome, elemental terrors that confront us. He wants to show us LOVE.

On the sea of Galilee, a horrible squall frightens the disciples who are panic stricken and awaken Jesus as he was sleeping. Jesus got up, and rebuked the waves, but he also rebuked his disciples, and by extension, us.


He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  Mark 4:40 (NIV)


Now, take a second and really think about placing yourself in a moment of scary transition. Examine the feelings that pass through your heart. “Why are you so afraid?”

Even as Christians, we have the ability to see ourselves as teetering on the brink of destruction, because somewhere down deep, we know that we alone are not good enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, or smart enough to keep our rightful destruction at bay.

When scary changes happen, we can even see it as the other shoe dropping: “I deserve this!”


We feel despair: “Who will save me, when I am the only one I can call on?”


This fully describes the reality of the human condition without Jesus, but that doesn’t describe you.

There is such goodness at the heart of Jesus’ rebuke. Can you hear his revolutionary call for us to see ourselves as the Always Loved, the Deeply Cared For, the Never Forgotten, and the Fully Supported. We are safe in the midst of trials, and his eye is completely attentive in times of calamity.


We open our arms to you, giving up our agenda of comfort and self-made safety, 
We open our hearts to the reality that you have our ultimate highest and best in mind.

There is nothing random or haphazard about the seasons that confront us,
Transitions and changes simply dance to the rhythm of your active, loving work in our lives.

We worship You as the Lord over all of the seasons of life,
We hold onto You as the One who will take us through the storms, We yield to You as the One who commands the darkness to flee. 

In Jesus’ Name


Thank you, church for reading. 

Brian Sell 

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