I'm Scared to Leave Home
I’ve always been excited by fresh starts—a new grade, a new sport season, a new job. But some changes fill me with a little less excitement and little more trepidation. Like the big change some of you are facing now or will face in a few short years. The change that will alter everything you’ve known up to this point of your life and launch you into a world that can feel unfamiliar, overwhelming, and cold. The change called leaving home.
If you’re feeling a wee bit like Grover in The Monster at the End of This Book—not sure what the next page brings, but terrified to find out—I hope what I share next will give you the courage to keep on keeping on.
They say courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s staring fear in the face, then moving forward anyway. It’s okay to be scared of leaving home. It’s okay to appreciate the life that you have so much that you don’t want to see it go. (Goodness, I’m usually trying to help girls see how good they have it now, so they won’t get to the other side of adulthood and regret wasting the time they had with their family. You’re way ahead of the game!) But I don’t think God wants to see you paralyzed by fear either. Actually, I know He doesn’t. That’s why He gave us verses like Philippians 4:6-9:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. . . . Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. . . . Then the God of peace will be with you.
According to that passage, the keys to being at peace in the face of scary circumstances are:
1. Praying when we’re worried.
2. Thinking about the right things (because our emotions come from the thoughts we think).
Think on These Things
If you’ve hung around here very long, you’re probably clear on how to pray. So I’ll skip number one and move on to number two. Here are some true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, etc., thoughts you can practice in the face of those big fear feelings.
2. The best is yet to come.
As Christians, we have the amazing assurance that the end of our time here on earth is going to usher in the best yet. Sure, there might be some rough roads between now and then, but it’s comforting to know God has saved the best (heaven) for last!
3. This world needs you.
As much as your family loves having you with them, as God’s soldier, there is a battle to fight out there. Lost, lonely, confused people need the Light that you can offer. Be others-focused.
4. You’re not gone yet.
A lot can change in two months or even two years! Even though you may not be thrilled or giddy about leaving home right now, there’s still time left for God to prepare your heart. Maybe—hopefully—it won’t be quite as hard as you imagine when the time actually comes.
5. Sadness and loneliness are givens in life.
But that doesn’t mean they will destroy you! I just had a talk with a twenty-something-someone who is very dear to me about missing her family. For her, “leaving the nest” wasn’t easy, but she has grown more than she would have imagined through these hard years. We grow the most through pain. I think that’s one of the reasons why God promises His kids that we will experience it! But He also promises He will go through it with us.
6. God has good things in store.
I don’t pretend to know your future, but I have a very, very good feeling about the years ahead of you. God wants to bless you! That might be through a great job, a family of your own, meaningful service, or . . . who knows! Stick with Jesus, and He’ll take you on one amazing ride.
When you feel that anxiety start to surface, think on those things (and add some more of your own). Then take a deep breath, stare fear in the face, and take another step forward. Keep making the most of the months (or years) you have under your parents’ roof, and you’ll have no regrets when God opens the next chapter of your life—whatever it brings!
By Jessie Minassian