There is an awful lot of fear associated with taking a new direction in life. That fear comes with a multitude of questions…
Will it work out?
Will I be successful?
Will I fail miserably?
Will I lose all I have?
Is it worth the chance?
What will people think of me?
Can I actually do it?
What will happen if I fail?
Which path should I choose?
These thoughts and fears are all legitimate. And walking a new path is scary. It could be anything. Our decisions in life are fraught with anxiety – at least for me, they are. I’m terrified of making a mistake. To be sure, there are certain decisions for which I can overcome those feelings of inadequacy. I mean, it’s not the end of the world if everyone hates the new recipe I try – it’s just a waste. And, if I can’t fix “it,” whatever “it” happens to be at the moment, and it stays broken – well that’s just a call to a professional fixer of things.
No, the anxiety I feel is when I try to follow a new road in life – my major life decisions. I changed my major once in college and contemplated a second change, but decided against it. I was worried that, since I had a full academic scholarship to college, and I had no other way of attending – the time I had spent on my previous major would not allow me to graduate in time and I would consequently have no way of finishing. I think about that sometimes because I felt called to that major, and had I trusted in God, he probably would have provided.
“Ay, there’s the rub.” Hamlet sure understood indecision! What is the best course of action? As I sat thinking about fear I was reminded of the story in the bible about the talents. Three men were given a certain amount of money – small, medium, & large. The man with the most money took the greatest risk, and his reward was tremendous. The man with the modest amount took a moderate risk and his rewards were modest. But, the man with the least amount was so afraid of losing what little he had been entrusted with that he buried it in the ground so as to be sure to return it in full when the day came. I always thought the consequences of his action were harsh – he had all the money he was given taken away – given to the richest man – and he was reprimanded. As a child I never understood why not taking a risk with this other person’s money was such a bad thing. As I get older, however, it has dawned on me that the biggest problem with what the poor man did, was not trusting God.
When we are babies we trust because that is all we know. We have no way to rely on ourselves. As we get older, fear and indecision can consume us until we become immobilized. In terms of parenting, I don’t provide things for my children so they can NOT use them! in fact, if I provide something, I am annoyed if they do not take advantage of what they have been blessed with. The same is true of the bible story. The man who buried the money didn’t use what he had been given to improve his lot – his fear made him keep it hidden.
How many hidden “talents” lay unused? How often do we give up on a calling because the risk seems too great? Why aren’t we trusting the Lord about our path? If He gave them to use – shouldn’t we assume He meant for us to use them?
Proverbs 3: 5 & 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [a]direct your paths.