In life, I think it’s safe to say that we like to be in a relative state of comfort, am I right?
We don’t particularly enjoy being pushed too far outside of our comfort zones and we don’t care for awkwardness. I totally get it. As someone who is super socially awkward (#homebody), I totally understand the appeal of living within my comfort zone and staying in my own little bubble. But every so often, I find that I am reminded that this isn’t necessarily the way in which God calls us to live. He calls us to both love and live life boldly for Him and for His kingdom.
All too often, I find that I can be quite stubborn and set in my introverted ways. Maybe some of you might feel this way as well. My current reality is that I am working full-time as a public school teacher while also taking classes online part-time. Soon, I’m going to be adding volunteer work on top of both of those things. So basically I’m an introvert and a workaholic. For most of my formative years in the church when I was younger, church was basically something I did on Sundays and really sort of just went through the motions. For far too long, I viewed community as something that needed me to be open and vulnerable around others and that just didn’t seem like something that would work for me. But then, just over two years ago, I felt the Lord whispering to me that He wanted me to take not just a step outside of my comfort zone, but a giant leap outside of it.
He told me that He wanted me to leave the comfort zone of the church in which I had attended since I was three years old. I wasn’t in the habit or practice of regularly praying or speaking with God at this point, so truth be told, that whisper was probably a bit more like a yell. I had been deaf to the voice of God for a long time, but I heard Him then. And I listened. I obeyed.
It was terrifying to know that I was stepping out to go where He was leading, I have to say. I trusted Him enough to follow, but a part of me was still skeptical. I still live with my parents and here I was having to tell them that I wanted to go to a different church apart from them on Sundays. I didn’t know anyone at this new church, I just knew that it was where He was telling me to go. Once I was outside of my little bubble of safety, I stepped into the newness and vulnerability and found peace. I found Jesus in my nerves, in my vulnerability. I found Him in the small group that I joined with a stomach full of butterflies. And soon, that uncomfortable place became familiar. It became somewhere I was comfortable.
But then, a few weeks ago, I felt that feeling once again. Only this time, He didn’t have to yell so loud to get my attention. He needed me to start fresh and go through the awkwardness of beginning a journey somewhere new all over again and to be honest, I didn’t want to do it initially. Like a petulant child, my response was along the lines of “seriously, God? Don’t you realize how hard that was for me the last time? And you want me to do it again?”
Fortunately, this time I had grown up enough to recognize that if God was telling me to step out in faith again than there was most likely something big he was going to teach me through it. And I’ve been through far too much with God these past two years to not trust Him to provide the grace, wisdom, and peace to equip me for whatever He has in store.
And so this year, I have begun the New Year in a new place of worship. I guess you could say that I’m still in the “trial” period, since I have only attended one physical service there and that was two days ago, but I cannot deny the peace that I feel in my heart. Not long ago, I wrote a post about this change and the things that I desired in a new church home. Sunday morning, I prayed for those things as well. And friends, all of those things were found there that morning.
I know that the road is going to have bumps. If we are guaranteed anything in this life, it’s that we will have troubling times. Just because I am answering His call, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be smooth sailing. But oh, I just can’t wait to see what God is going to teach me through all of this.
“All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go.” – Ephesians 3: 11-13, MSG