Out of My Comfort Zone

He will give me the strength I need for every step of the journey, even those residing outside my comfort zone..png

This weekend brought in a flurry of wintry weather in my area. The rain/snow/sleet mix began Saturday evening and continued until late Sunday afternoon, turning to rain overnight. According to the forecast, the rain is supposed to continue all day today (Monday). Our first winter storm of the season!

I didn’t mind the weather. It allowed Jason and I to have some quiet time together and to decorate our house for Christmas. And since we were fortunate enough not to lose power, the precipitation didn’t affect us much otherwise.  

Barnabas, on the other hand, was not a fan of the wintry mix. He didn’t appreciate the howling wind that kept him awake. He didn’t understand the constant tapping of the sleet against the windows. And the white blanket of cold, icy snow covering the ground mystified him. But the worst of it was the crashing of the sheets of snow and ice as they melted and fell from the roof, causing our confused canine to run from window to window barking at some unseen enemy. “Danger! Danger!” Bless his heart!

The poor pup was out of his comfort zone. Way, way beyond his comfort zone. I get it. I understand exactly how he felt. For him, the discomforting circumstances only lasted a few days, but for me, the process seems endless. I am thrilled that Jason and I have been called to the mission field in Wales, and part of me is excited about this new leg of our journey. That being said, there is also a large part of me that is running from place to place “barking” at some unseen enemy.   My normal has been turned upside down, and I no longer recognize my life.

The previous portion of my journey included being an integral part of our church services and enjoying the weekly fellowship with my church family. I worked on books, devotions, and videos. I poured my heart into my weekly Bible lessons for my Ladies’ Sunday School class. I made a difference in the lives of others. And it felt good. I enjoyed using my talents for the Lord and doing all I could to make others feel blessed and encouraged. I appreciated the sense of belonging I felt every time I entered our church. It was my home away from home.

But now, everything has changed. We are in a different church every week (often every service), and while many of those churches have been friendly and inviting, they weren’t my church. Because of our schedule, I have little time to work on my books and videos. I am still writing my daily devotions, but the number of unsubscribes and unfollows over the past few months causes me to question if I should even bother. My days consist of housework, paperwork, and schedules, and frankly, I’m bored. There’s more to accomplish than I can get done, but none of it is bringing meaning to my life or helping me to feel like I’m bringing meaning to the lives of others. It’s not that life is terrible. It’s just not what I imagined it would be. I’m out of my comfort zone, and my unease has opened the door to many spiritual attacks from the enemy.

You would be amazed at the junk Satan has been telling me. And unlike his usual tactic of whispering his lies in my ear, this time, he’s downright yelling at me.

“Nothing you do matters. You’re worthless.”

“You are unloved and unappreciated.”

“You are making so little of an impact on the world right now that no one would even notice if you were to disappear.”

“You’ve tried for years, and look where’s it’s gotten you. Face it; you’d be better off to quit while you’re ahead.”

“If God were calling you to the mission field, do you really think you’d be so miserable? That doesn’t sound very loving of you or your Father.”

I thought I was fighting off the lies fairly well until I had a complete meltdown this weekend (and I’m not talking about the snow and sleet). Suddenly, all the lies came crashing into my soul at once, and my calm facade crumbled. I couldn’t put on a happy face anymore, and I sobbed like I haven’t sobbed in years. Hopelessness and helplessness oozed out of me with every tear as I realized I hadn’t been dealing with the lies of the enemy. I had merely been sweeping them under the rug—ignoring them in the hopes they would go away. But they didn’t. And while under the rug, they had turned my heart bitter and my attitude sour. I was suddenly at the point where I could understand if no one else wanted to be around me because I didn’t want to be around myself.

And now, here I am. Spent. Broken. Discouraged. But somehow better. I’m thankful God allowed my attempts to run from the enemy’s lies to unravel and opened my eyes to the truths of His Word. I’m relieved (and a bit stuffy) after crying out all the frustration that had been festering in my heart and mind. It’s almost as if a wall between the Lord and me has been torn down, and I can finally see Him again, reach Him again.

At the same time, I feel like the baby bear in a video I recently saw on social media. The mama bear climbed a steep, snow-covered slope, and the baby followed in her wake. But time after time, the little one stumbled and slid down the hill, losing ground. At one point, the poor thing slipped so far down, he descended past the point where the two bears had begun their ascent. Determined, he started again, retracing the steps he had previously taken until he finally reached his mama who had been anxiously looking on from the top of the slope.

Yep, I’m just like that baby bear. I have stumbled, slipped, and slid, and right now, it almost feels like I’m at the starting point of my Christian journey. I can sit, whining and complaining about how I should be further along, or I can keep climbing. It worked for the baby bear, and I have an advantage. While his poor mother couldn’t do anything but watch helplessly from above, my heavenly Father can help me climb. He will give me the strength I need for every step of the journey, even those residing outside my comfort zone.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
— Psalm 37:23-24