Beyond The Comfort Zone

I have been reading Bill Hybel’s book, Just Walk Across the Room, which is about sharing your faith in a relational style. It’s been really insightful and I definitely recommend it. As I’m reading it, it has put me to thinking though. I’m also listening to podcasts from my home church in CO which have been stirring in my heart all that passion for the work I was doing in the church and just the culture and perspective I used to be so immersed in.

On the one hand I totally miss being involved in (church) ministry as my vocation – I miss the familiar culture, the constant challenge to grow more in my spiritual walk, the air of expectation and destiny that surrounded what I did on a daily basis. But as I’ve been reading I got to thinking – I used to never be around lost people, like ever. I worked at the church, all my friends were there, I volunteered there; it was my whole life. And I loved it (most of the time ;)). Contrast that with where I’m at now. Right now I spend almost all my time around lost people – people I work with, serve, etc. And I love them. I still go to church, but just with the season I’ve been in, going to school, starting a new career, I haven’t been able to get as involved as I was before. And even in the places I am getting connected the culture isn’t the same anyway.

Part of me misses the strength of like-minded friends; but I’ve learned to love people that live their life with a completely different moral compass. I miss the spiritual side of amazing prayer and worship meetings, but I love living my life as a living testimony. Part of me wishes I could go back to the comfort of a culture that doesn’t challenge my worldview or tempt me to compromise, but on the other hand I love getting to see God in the midst of the “real world”. I miss amazing God moments in worship; but it’s that much more impacting when I have total God moments through conversations with people as unsaved as they come.

I know I’m not doing it all right, but I am learning a lot of things I never would have had the opportunity to if I had stayed inside my comfort bubble. It wasn’t necessarily wrong while I was there, but I didn’t realize what I was missing. I heard people talk about it, but I hadn’t experienced it. I still suck at witnessing – it freaks me out, to be honest. But God in his grace has caused people to notice something different about me – whether it’s the blessing I walk in, my “moral purity” as someone called it ;), or just the fact they feel they shouldn’t swear around me or talk about certain things when I’m around. I hope that causes them to soften to what God’s plan is for their own life. And I’m continually praying for God to make me bold. I think it was Jim Elliot who said, “Preach Christ at all times. When necessary use words.” That encourages me.

I have no doubt that I will be doing vocational ministry again at some point in my life, but I don’t ever want to lose the opportunity to befriend lost people. I don’t ever want to stop being a light that leads the way to Hope. It’s vital to be reminded who we are as Christ followers, and challenged to grow and become all that God created us to be and accomplish the purpose He placed us on this earth to complete. But it’s also essential that we never become so untouchable that we isolate ourselves from the very culture and society we’re trying to transform and bring hope to.

We all want to stay safe in our comfort zone – whether it’s in the church bubble or with all your unsaved friends. But let me just tell you that it’s amazing when you leave the familiar and take that step beyond what you know because that’s when you start to see your Father in a whole new way. So if you’re like I was and all you know is the church, let me encourage you to take the risk to step out into the rest of the world and start letting all that good stuff that has been put in you for years come out and touch someone. Make a friend; don’t judge and don’t preach – be there and let them see Daddy through your love, your forgiveness, your courage, your brokenness. And if you’re still in the comfort of friends and situations that you know are not what’s best for you, take that leap to really give God your all. It’s not a bunch of rules and things you can’t do. It’s about finding a hope you always wished for but dared not to believe in. It’s about knowing that you are loved utterly and completely just as you are – and once you know that everything else will come.

Much love!!!

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~ by Shannon on March 7, 2009.

4 Responses to “Beyond The Comfort Zone”

  1. Really Good Shannon! I enjoyed your post and you are so right on. You are a really good writer too….Keep Writting!!!

  2. So good and true! Your a good writer……..Keep Writing!!! I really enjoy your perspective as I have read through your blog.

  3. ooopppsss! thought the 1st one didn’t take, so I re-wrote it.

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