Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stepping Out

This morning I attended my first ever tap dancing class. Part of me was excited to try something new, and part of me didn’t want to try for fear of looking foolish. Fortunately for me, I have a friend in the class who encouraged me to come and helped me focus on the positives: the great exercise, the brain challenge in trying something new, and the socialization. By focusing on the positives, I gathered my courage, attended the class, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, fears—of looking foolish and of the unknown—often keep people from trying something new. We get comfortable in our routines and doing what we’ve always done. Knowing what to expect feels good and we settle into our everyday lives. Going on auto-pilot is easier than stretching our brains to try something new or do something old in a new way.

Occasionally, life forces us to try new things: once a child is born, life changes; losing a job forces us to learn new skills; changing health makes us adapt the way we’ve always done things. Those forced changes can jar us out of our ruts and enable us to use talents we never knew we had. When our minister retires, the church is jarred out of its routines. What we have always known has changed, and we are forced to see life differently.

In Philippians 4:8, the Bible encourages us to focus on what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Instead, we tend to worry: what will happen to our church when our new minister comes? What will this person be like? What kind of new leadership will we have? Looking to scripture, we might think differently: What new skills might this minister encourage? How will I be challenged by a different person? How will God use a new minister to glorify Him through our church? Perhaps it’s time to abandon the worries and step out to embrace the admirable and excellent qualities in the new.

Philipians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

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