The Call to Courage
By PeggySue Wells
Change. It’s inevitable. We can embrace it or resist it. Moving is all about change. A change in address, a change in friends, a change in community.
At the foundation of much of our hesitation, we are fearful to leave the comfort of familiar surroundings. Change requires effort as I adjust to different routines, unusual experiences, and fresh relationships. It means venturing into new doctor and dental offices. Finding schools, grocery stores, a library, theater, and mechanic. A move requires new bank accounts, car registration, and taxes. Then there is the painting, remodeling, and landscaping. Just thinking about it makes me break out in a sweat. Some intrepid souls thrive on adventure, but most are content to be homebodies.
The call to follow our Lord is a call to courage. It is often a call to change. It was for nearly everyone in the Bible. The change impacted reputations, identities, careers, and lives. The disciples stopped fishing and traveled. David stopped shepherding and experienced the splendor of palaces and the starkness of the desert places. Moses stopped herding sheep and moved an entire people group. Abraham changed his address and the course of world history.
Go and tell. Noah took up shipbuilding and witnessed the complete change of the entire world. His was the ultimate change in address. Paul changed his name, his trade, and traveled the then known world. Each one knew the Lord (come and see), had a relationship with God (follow me), and received instruction regarding where they were to go and what they were to do (go and tell).
Arise and Go
Joseph, Mary’s husband in the New Testament was a picture of relocation for the protection of his family. “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife,” (Matt. 1:19-20, 24).
Joseph continued to respond immediately to God’s command. “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,” (Matt. 2:13-14).
Joseph’s instant obedience left no room for fear to hinder or halt him in the course. His immediate action had a huge and positive impact on those within his circle of influence that includes you and me thousands of years later. Joseph was willing to change his address in an instant.
Fear is the antithesis of trust in the Lord. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Eph. 2:10). These works are the commandments he gives us in Scripture.
Letting go of fear is letting go of control. Only to find we never really were in complete control anyway. Those who are strong controllers operate from a foundation of fear. Frequently, controllers have experienced deep hurt or betrayal or both. They respond by striving to control situations, environments, and people in a desperate attempt to protect themselves from being hurt or betrayed again. Ironically, all our efforts at control do nothing to protect us from emotional upheaval. Control merely makes us exhausted and unpleasant to live with.
I have learned two truths about being in control and about the love of God.
1) I don’t have to be perfect.
2) I don’t have to be strong all the time.
Often I resist God’s call in my life because I’m afraid to follow where he will lead. It may be out of my comfort zone. Like Abraham, Daniel, and Joseph, it may mean relocation.
This material is from PeggySue Wells’s book, What To Do When You’re Scared To Death (Lion Hudson Publishers, 2009). The author of more than a dozen books, PeggySue’s articles appear nationally in magazines. Advisory Board member for Remedy.fm, she writes curriculum and screenplays, and conducts young author workshops in schools, and presents interactive workshops for colleges and national conferences including Celebrate Creativity!, Beauty for Ashes, the Evangelical Press Association, and Write to Publish. To learn more or to contact PeggySue, visit her website at www.PeggySueWells.com.