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Luke {Week 1} ~ Stepping out of our comfort zones

 

I’m just back from a local nursing home, where my two older boys (ages 10 and 11) and I hung out and played Bingo for two hours with some pretty sweet little ladies.  When we got in the van to leave, one brother said to the other, “Don’t make fun of me, man, but I feel like I have sunshine in my heart right now.”  The other brother replied, “Me too, man.  Wanna come back next month?”

 

It’s a date, boys.

 

Rewind back to the dinner table three hours prior, where the entire family is in deep discussion about the nursing home trip to come.  What started out as a conversation about what to expect and how to behave, quickly turned into a conversation about ministry.   Why do we do it?  What does it look like?  What does God say about it?  How has God called our family to serve others in the past?  My husband and I pray often for our children to “love God with their whole hearts, and to love people well,”  and we wanted them to know that even informal nights like these can be intentional opportunities to encourage others with the love of Christ.

 

I have one boy who was quite excited to attend.  He’s social to the extreme, this boy who doesn’t know a stranger.  When we returned from vacation last summer, he hopped out of the van and immediately went knocking on every door on our street, just to “let you guys know that I’m back, just in case you need me.”  Haha.  He has a gift for making people laugh (especially babies), and is always ready for the next party.

What you don’t know is that this night was a huge leap of faith for another.  My other boy would be completely out of his comfort zone, and he knew it.  He prefers familiar faces and small, intimate settings.  Sitting in a large open space with complete strangers isn’t his first choice for a fun night out.  And while he truly wanted to participate, he was unsure that he would even be effective.  At one point after dinner he pulled me aside and privately asked, “What will I talk about with them?  I don’t even know what they like.”  Oh, sweet boy.

 

Stepping out of our comfort zones is never easy.

 

One would think that the God who formed us (and our complex, differing personalities!), would only place us in situations that fit us to a “T”.  Surely He knows that I like my days to flow through a perfectly ordered set of predictable events, and He’ll choose His children who are a little more, say, flexible, to take on the more, well, spontaneous tasks.  They’ll be way more effective anyway, right?  Heh.

 

But God seems to be in the business of stretching, molding, refining and using us in ways that are not always our first choice for a fun night out, if you know what I mean.

 

Plenty of times in the Bible, God’s servants are called to step out of their comfort zones.  He makes a habit of using the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary. God calls a shepherd boy to be a king.  A cupbearer builds a very important wall.  An orphan turned queen risks everything to help rescue her people.  A man who self-admittedly lacked in speaking skills was asked to lead an entire nation to freedom.  Many are instructed to leave the comfortable and familiar in exchange for a foreign land. Oh, and an unwed teenager is chosen to be the mother of the Messiah.  And trust me, that’s just scratching the surface.

 

“For nothing is impossible with God.” ~ Luke 1:37

 

Is God calling you to leave the familiar for the unknown?  Is He asking you to do something completely out of your comfort zone?

 

It may be a baby step or on a much larger scale.  Either way…

 

He may just be preparing you for something extraordinary, in a way that only God can.

 

Can you guess which boy was the first to speak of the “sunshine” in his heart tonight?  With a little God-confidence, I guess he found something to talk about with those sweet little ladies after all.  Thanks, God.  And just so we don’t get too comfortable, next month’s challenge: to muster up enough courage to ask them how we can pray for them.  Baby steps, Lord.  We will follow.  And by your grace, we’ll be LIVING LIKE JESUS a little more than before.

 

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” ~ Luke 1:38

At His feet,

 

Challenge: Has God been asking you to take a step in obedience and follow Him out of your comfort zone?  What first step can you make in that process today?

 

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Comments

  1. This is the big issue with which I am entering 2013…I just stared at this post for a few seconds more, just taking it all in. Praying for confirmation, peace, strength.. all the good stuff! :-)

  2. Really wanting to get into volunteering but am having a hard time even knowing where to begin. Pray that God will show me his will and way as to how to accomplish this. Thank you.

  3. Wow!This post encouraged me. I have to go minister in a nursing home next month, well in a couple of weeks, and I tend to be a bit timid around people I don’t know as well. However, I have went a couple of times with others and love the”sunshine” I feel in my heart as well every time I leave. A little scared, but after reading this, am praying GOD remove the fear and replace it with peace, power and a sound mind.

  4. Beautiful story of sharing and God’s provision – very encouraging. We ALL need encouragement and we ALL have fears to overcome. Thank you!

  5. Timpy Ellis says:

    About 8 years ago my grandfather fell and broke his hip and had to put into a nursing home, we would visit him weekly and got to know many of the residents there. A little over a year ago, my grandfather lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 92. I did not go back to the nursing home after that, it made me to sad to do so, until about 2 weeks ago. An elderly gentlemen in our church was put into the same nursing home for rehab. My husband wanted to go visit with him and I didn’t say anything about my anxiety I just prayed for God’s help. We got there, made our visit and then I looked up a couple of residents that we knew and they were so happy to see us, it made my heart full of sunshine to see how happy they were. I must say I still cried with memories of my Pa when I left, but I’m glad God helped me step out of my comfort zone.

  6. ‎”Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45

    Just like Mary, when God calls upon us he is with us and our calling will be accomplished we have to believe and trust in him. We have to accept the gifts he has bestowed up on us and use them to praise him and serve him. Our God is mighty and he is bot going to give us anything he knows we can not handle, he will equip us!

    Listen to his calling and run with it

  7. 5heartsathome says:

    Just starting our first year of homeschool to my 4 1/2 yr old. Totally uncharted territory for me so I can definitely relate to your story. Thank you!

  8. This Bible Study is just something I *thought* I had just stumbled upon via an e-mail. It is truly divine how God is going to use this amazing study to mold my heart and soul. After living in my hometown for over 30+ years God is preparing our family for a possible move across the country. Leaving all family, all friends, and the only town I have ever known truly scares me to death. There is nothing I love more than my comfort zone and God knows this. Change is my biggest enemy and I am praying that God will truly do a miracle in me throughout the next weeks while diving into this study.

  9. What a precious testimony! Thank you so much for sharing. This year I am stepping out of my comfort zone by leading a GMG Bible Study. I feel ill-equipped, but God who is faithful will do a great work in me!!! He is amazing me each day at what He is revealing to me in His word! The blessing is all mine!

  10. Thank you for this post. God has opened my eyes to so much over the past few months with a realization about how much bondage I have been living in without even knowing it. I am becoming a more godly wife and mother with God leading my every step. I am grateful but uncomfortable! My old ways were comfortable even if they were dysfunctional. But I am determined to allow God into my heart and to change my ways of living.

  11. I love this!

  12. I enyoyed that very much. i have had the desire to help the teenage girls in my church. but always felt like i could not do it. well, this next wed. my daughter and I will be having a wed. night class for the teengirls. i pray GOD will use me and I will be open to his leading.

  13. The comment from “5Hearts at home” rung a chord with me! When I did the study I thought “I can trust God that He can do the impossible in my life- which seems to be Homeschooling 4 kids!” Some days the task is so overwhelming, but I’m so thankful God is gracious, faithful and has given us his word to guide us! He strengthens us and says, “hey now, with ME it’s NOT impossible- no matter what You may think!” Ok, I’ll choose to believe God on this one!

  14. I feel just like your son who looks at you and asks ” What will I talk with them about?” I ask that of God regularly now. I have stepped WAY out of my comfort zone, with my Husband, who is very talkative, social, and encouraging, to Start YoungLife Ministry at a local High School. When I read that Nothing is impossible with God I took comfort in that and with a little snicker I said ” Okay God them give me boldness and everything else I lack (or feel I lack) to be a good leader and meet high school kids. I am excited to watch that happen! I am willing to be stretched and taken to where I am uncomfortable because God is with me.

  15. Good Evening Ladies, one of my Sisters in Christ asked me if I would be interested in joining her for this study. I look forward to sharing this time with HIM and you. Thank you Whitney for your touching share, my Son is also the kid who is uncomfortable until he gets to know you. My daughter on the other hand is the social butterfly. Also thank you ladies for your comments, stay blessed… Haydee

  16. What a sweet story about your boys! For a while now I’ve thought it would be neat to bring my toddler to a local nursing home to visit some of the residents. We haven’t gotten around to doing it yet (just had a baby), but I noticed a few days ago that a new facility is going up just down the street from our house. I’m guessing that’s a sign that we should give it a go.

  17. Hi. Two days ago I enrolled and subscribed to GMG. A friend told me about it. She is in a group but asked if I would do it separately with her also. However, I have received nothing yet. I do not have the reading plan nor the ebook. How can I be involved in the Luke study on my own? My friend and I want to have a chance to do this together. Any help would be appreciated!

  18. deb fitzgerald says:

    It’s kind of funny that I have been “preaching” to my 15 year old daughter about stepping out of her comfort zone and yet I hate doing that myself! I hope that this study will help me to grow more comfortable with the uncomfort that comes from stepping out into areas God is calling me to.

  19. Whitney,
    thank you for this today. I am coming to understand stepping out of comfort zones. 5 months ago we had to move out of our home and the town we’d lived in for almost 7 years ( two of my children have never lived in any other town, and the oldest was only 19 mos. When we moved), my husband just had to surrender his business of 12 years and become a regular employee two weeks ago in which he had to go to Israel first thing after the Holidays. We have found a new church after hunting for the last few months. I have examples in my children if how they’ve adapted, how graceful, accepting, and loving they’ve respondedto the changes. I see my husband accepting and striving to continue to provide for our family. The false security I allowed to be there in that home, business, and lifestyle, was just that. God had to show me I have to put my security in Him. He moved us to better when we have surrendered to Him. For me it had to be drastic, because I had created an idea world where I thought I should be in control, but God revealed that He needs to be and I need to let Him. He has really blessed us this last 8 months, and had I stayed in my confort zone I may have missed it.

  20. My husband’s trip was short and he’s back, continuing to surrender to God. Makes me wonder a I leadig by example in my surrender before my family?

  21. Hi Melissa! So sorry you’ve not received the material links yet. Please make sure when you subscribed that you clicked on the tab that says “Get Good Morning Girls Delivered by Email.” You should then receive a confirmation email that you must respond to before you are officially signed up (if you’re not finding this, you may want to check your “junk” folder). After the subscription is confirmed, you’ll receive an email containing the study material links once the next blog post is published. Thanks for your patience… so glad you’re studying with us!!
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/GoodMorningGirls

  22. Oh, girls, thanks so much for sharing your hearts, and how God is leading you out of your comfort zones at the beginning of this new year!! How exciting to see God work in such tangible, life changing ways!! I want you to know that I have come back to read your comments often so that I can pray for each of you specifically. :)

    May our loving Father give you a boldness, His strength and much peace as you visit those nursing homes, adjust to the many transitions of relocating, step out to volunteer, and follow God’s ways in your roles as wives and moms. May you be blessed and encouraged as you step out in faith to homeschool your children, lead GMG and Young Life groups, and as you help with the teenage girls in your church.

    Aaahhh, just typing all of this makes me sooo proud of you, and immediately prompts me to give praise to God, who has initiated such wonderful opportunities in your hearts and lives! Keeping being BOLD for Christ, friends! Much love to you today, Whitney :)

  23. I have been tossed to and fro on the waves of life for several months now. It’s no surprise that I haven’t been in his presence or his word for most of those months. Also not part of a large group of believers who can offer support and encouragement. He is calling me out of my hurt from the past back into a congregation and body of believers with youth and teen programs. I am excited to see what God is going to do this year. For me I know its about the DO. Discipline and obedience!

  24. Bethany Mowad says:

    I have signed up and subscribed for the Luke study beginning tomorrow, but still haven’t received the study. I am not sure who to contact regarding this issue. Thanks so much.

  25. Jenny Giltner says:

    I started a week late but better late than never right? I came across this site last week. As I started this today, I prayed for God to help me understand this bible study. I know God is pushing me out of my comfort zone into children’s ministry. I am not one to pray out loud with others or teach those about God or the bible but I pray that God helps me with these things.

  26. Stepping out of my comfort zone is definitely a major part of my faith journey right now. Not only did the Lord transplant my family cross country away from family and friends but now we must learn to serve others here and love a brand new community about which we know nothing. It truly is a yank out of my comfort zone, but I’m learning to walk by faith and trust Him.

  27. I am in awe that as we seek the Lord He is able to do ‘exceeding abundantly’ more than we can think or ask. I know He says He can, but sometimes the mountains seem so very big. Tomorrow is election day, and if my husband is elected to office, our life and ministry is going to change in ways that to me seem sooooooooooooo far out of my comfort zone. As I read this, I hear God’s voice though, and His Comfort, His Assurance, His Promise to guide, to lead, to provide all we need to accomplish all He desires. Thank you so much for being faithful to your calling to teach these studies. Our family is enjoying them so much in our devotional time, I am so happy to see my children ‘walk in truth’, and strengthened through these studies.

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