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?