Intro: Try it, you’ll like it! (Life Cereal)When everyone else was afraid to try Life Cereal, they called on Mikey. Sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is just too scary. Have you felt God gently (or maybe not so gently) nudging you to do something for someone else? You know that it needs to be done, but you keep putting it off because it is outside of your comfort zone? Well ladies, this week we are taking a step outside of our comfort zones.
Assignment: This week I want you to do something for someone else. Do you have a neighbor that needs you? Do you know an elderly person or single mom that could use you? What about the homeless? Pack even one single sack lunch and give it to someone in need. Do you know someone in blogland that is struggling right now and could use a note from you about how much you care? Pray about this. Let God put on your heart the perfect thing for you to do for another. Now, here is the kicker…I DO NOT want you to post about what you do. Whatever you choose to do is between you and God. Our rewards are in heaven, not here on earth, Mathew 6:1. I want you to post about how doing this “act” made you feel. Was stepping out of your comfort zone in this area as hard as you thought it might be? Could you see the gratefulness in their eyes? Hear it in their voice? Tell it from their typing? Do you think you might make doing things like this a more regular part of your time? If this is an area that you are already active in, tell us how you feel this has impacted your life.
Picture ideas: Post a picture of your “Helping Hands”. Let us see a picture of your hands, the hands that have honored God by being Christ like and serving others.
I struggled with what to write for this assignment. That’s probably why I’m late in posting it! ;^)
I am not shy. Those of you who know me in real life know that. I’ve never had a problem speaking my mind, stepping into an unfamiliar situation, confronting a tough issue (although the latter is NOT my favorite thing to do, I still will do it if needed.) I have a pretty good-sized comfort zone. I think the hardest part of this assignment was trying to define what really is outside of that zone. I figured it out. Communicating in Spanish is outside of my comfort zone. That is a real problem since we live in Mexico.
I’m a social person. I love to talk – about “real” things, not just pleasantries. I love to hear other people’s opinions, give my own, listen to other people’s concerns and share mine as well. When we moved here, almost 3 years ago, we spoke NO Spanish. None. Nada. Zilch. OK, I knew the word “nada”, the colors, a few basic nouns, some verbs in the infinitive form. But you just can’t have a meaningful conversation with that limited a vocabulary.
Over the course of the next year, our family studied and practiced and practiced and studied until our heads hurt, and I didn’t want to speak English – let alone Spanish – at the end of the day. I got into the habit of staying home, keeping to myself and not talking much in public. I still smiled and nodded and was polite, but I just wasn’t comfortable trying to carry on a conversation in Spanish. I don’t know if I was more scared of misspeaking or misunderstanding! Probably both!
Fast forward to now – I can speak Spanish. I've led women's Bible studies, youth studies and last week even taught on a Wednesday afternoon service (even though I REALLY didn't want to...but that's a different story!) I understand about 90% of what is said around me and more if I’m actively listening. I’ve been told that my accent is good (although I laugh at that), so I have no reason to be afraid to communicate.
What's my problem, then??? I think that my biggest problem has been that I developed the really bad habit of NOT communicating and now it is easier to just be still.
I believe that God is really working on me in this area. For one thing, since I have never been shy, I’ve always (my WHOLE life) had a problem with blurting before thinking. That has been a problem-causer in many instances. Sarah and I were just talking the other day about how God has slowed us down in our speaking! By the time you think about what you’d like to say and then figure out how you would say it and then decide if it would translate culturally the way you intend it and then make sure you’ve conjugated all the verbs correctly, usually the moment is gone and what you were going to say is no longer relevant. What a great way for God to teach me to be slow to speak! I noticed on our last furlough that I wasn't nearly as quick to speak up as I used to be. Maybe I'm maturing??? It could happen!
So here’s my verse for the week:
James 1:19 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath"
One thing that I have been able to do – even when I was tongue-tied – is to bless my neighbors with my hands. I’m one of about 5 ladies within 5 miles who has an oven, so I’ve made more bread to give away in the past 3 years than I have in my entire life before. My friend Cristina has told me that even when she couldn’t understand what I wanted to say and even when I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say, she could tell by my smile and my eyes that eventually we would be friends. I’m so glad that God communicates to us in ways beyond words!!! Lord, help us to do the same!!!