Neophobia

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                         I know a few of you probably have some questions like, “Why haven’t you written in awhile?” and “How was your spring break?” and sadly, I’m not going to answer those questions. Here’s one I will answer, “What is Neophobia?” Neophobia is the “Fear of change”. There is a phobia for almost everything these days, but this phobia plagues the church the most I think.

                             We fear change in all sorts of things, change in leadership, change our lives such as; death of a loved one, new make up, changing churches, sitting by someone we don’t know. One big one is moving to other states and countries. As Christians we are comfortable with our church buildings, our saying hi to everyone in the church but not building relationships with them. We are comfortable with agreeing with leaders and being in awe of the things they do but when asked if we would like to join them, we respectfully decline.

                               What are you so afraid of?

                   Sometimes going up to the homeless man in the congregation and talking to him and sitting with him may be scary or embarrassing, but isn’t that what Jesus would do? Going to another country for an extended amount of time that we have never been to is scary but, people do it all the time and as a result, more people know about the glory of God. Maybe saying something that has been on our hearts to another person or a group of people may seem terrifying, but God calls us to spirits of courage instead of timidity.

                   The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” -Exodus 16:3

                    Its always amazing to me to read about God bringing the Israelites out of slavery, and getting them through the red sea, and still they do not trust that He will take care of them. They become a little uncomfortable, a little hungry, a little tired, and they start to sneer about what God did for them. If they could do that then, how much easier is it today for us to do that? We do the same thing. We are no better than the Israelites, even though we do have it so much better than they did. We become a little tired, someone needs us to do something that isn’t on our agenda, God wants us to get out of our comfort zone and we start to freak out.

               We want God to use us but, not if it makes us uncomfortable. We want God to change our hearts, but only the parts we are okay with changing. Giving $20 to someone who needs gas seems a bit extreme right? Giving our time to someone who is crying is just impossible because we have to much to do! Its easier to drive by the homeless and broken instead of giving them any food or clothes in our cars. Its easier than having to look or talk to them. Someone had to have come before you to give them those things and talk about Jesus with them.

                    If those statements are infuriating you, don’t cast judgement on those you know who do this because you’ve probably done it too. We aren’t called to be comfortable, we aren’t called to be entitled brats. We are called to love. If you go read through the Bible, it always comes down to the love of God, and our purpose being to love Him and to love others. Its easy to say “Well, they would probably use that money for drugs or alcohol.” you’re right that could be true, but, what if they really are homeless and in need? Are you going to condemn them because of others?

                     Trust me, out of anyone I know how easy it is to write off people. I have done it before. As people of the one true God, we have to stop doing that. My best friend amazes me in so many ways, one time we were both leaving to go home and she paid my toll as well as her own, she’s given people money to fill their whole gas tanks. I truly believe God uses her to teach the people around her how to really love others and be a child of God. She’s given so much to so many, and done so much that makes her uncomfortable. I remember thinking, “Wow, she gave that money to them even though she just got it and was going to buy pants with it. Here I am with my $5 and I don’t need anything but I won’t give it up.”

                 I believe Jarrid Wilson says it perfectly in his book, Jesus Swagger,

Meaning, its no longer about your agenda, your desires and your needs. If you call yourself a Christian, your agenda is now filled with an all-consuming calling from Christ Himself. -Jarrid Wilson (Jesus Swagger)

               I know I can become selfish and comfortable, and when I am asked to give a little more, take someone somewhere that is out of the way, or share food even though I don’t have much, I get a little uncomfortable. That’s what Jesus did though, He gave and loved, He talked to everyone. He didn’t care that He didn’t have a home to go to every night, whats even crazier is His disciples were okay with it too for the most part. I know that I want my life to reflect the love of Christ to others. I want to love with he selfless love of Christ, but that involves being okay with being uncomfortable at times.

                      Today, lets work a little harder to get through the uncomfortable things with the spirit of wanting to love others. Lets love others even when its not easy. Be okay with the change, be okay with someone crashing on your couch for a few days. Ask God where He wants you, what he wants you to do. It may not be easy, and it may involve a huge change, or even a little change in your life, but, be open to what God is calling you to do.

Much love,

M

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