Wednesday, April 9, 2014

{life abundant... outside my comfort zone}

com·fort zone
{a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.}

if i'm completely honest with myself,  i don't just like my comfort zone, i love my comfort zone.  it's like a big cozy sweater or a comfy blanket that i can pull up to my chin and just snuggle there.  sometimes this is okay, but a lot of times it's just not.  not with what i believe.  i don’t think God called me here to be comfortable, but i do believe He put me here and now “for such a time as this,” for a purpose and for His glory. 

"my love of Jesus changes my view of the world.
only when i love the man who brought peace and
good will to all men, will i be able to effectively love
the world.  it is a love that radically changes, radically
restores and radically continues in the hearts of all
those who choose to die to self and live in Christ."
-t. b. laberge "God, grace, & the Gospel"

in the next few months, i will be making a big, scary, yet exciting decision for my life that is SO far out of my comfort zone that honestly there are days that i am absolutely TERRIFIED... and i realize it's because i am scared to leave my comfort zone.  fear of the unknown makes me want to run back to that big cozy blanket of my comfort zone and hibernate there.  no bueno.  like the quote states above, i believe that my love of Jesus changes my view of the world.  it changes how i see things, it changes how i make decisions, and it changes me.

the song "oceans" by hillsong has been one of my favorites over the past few months.  when i was in haiti this past february it began playing as i was walking down the aisle at church to take communion and it almost brought me to my knees.  the music and depth of lyrics in this song  just hit me to my core every. single. time.  i can't help think the reason that it has become so popular is that it has struck a chord deep in the heart of believers. 

we long for deep purpose and meaning. 
we want more. 
more than the comfortable lives we are choosing to live.  
"you call me out upon the waters.
the great unknown where feet may fail.
and there i find you in the mystery,
in oceans deep my faith will stand.
and i will call upon Your name
and keep my eyes above the waves.
when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace.
for i am Yours. and you are mine.”
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the water wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
that my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

as believers we know this life can be hard and that the world is not operating as God intended, but we also know that Jesus has overcome the world.  i want more of the God of the universe, more of the life abundant that He promises when we choose Him…  yet my comfort zone that i have created is so “safe” and comfortable, that i am tempted to run back to what i know and what is easy.  sometimes stepping out to serve God is absolutely terrifying and so very uncomfortable, but i have no doubt He meets us there!

a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing author Allison Vesterfelt, author of “Packing Light,”  speak at CharlotteONE and she said something that has stuck with me ever since.  in short, she quit her teaching job, sold almost everything she owned, traveled to all 50 states and wrote a book about it.  she chose a path not frequently traveled of making sacrifices, pursuing her dreams, and walking away from all that she knew.  she chose to walk away from the comfortable, but less than fulfilling life she had created to pursue something she knew was greater.

she said “I wish I could say that it was easy.  It wasn’t.  It was hard, but I never felt so close to God in entire my life than I did during my journey.”

Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  i wonder if we don’t experience life in its fullness because fear paralyzes our steps.  fear paralyzes our faith.  i wonder if the song "oceans" actually became a constant prayer in each of our lives.  how might our lives look different?  how might our lives impact the Kingdom of God?  how might our joy and fullness of life abound if we just chose to trust Him and step out in faith?

i truly do believe that life begins at the end of my comfort zone, but i am also choosing to believe that in the scary, hard moments that lie ahead…outside of my comfort zone… that the God of the universe and the lover my soul will meet me right there.  that he will stretch me, grow me, and that he will develop my faith in who He is and that the love He has for me will abound and overflow into every aspect of my life.

where are you choosing to be comfortable today?
are you willing to seek God and step out to where it’s scary?
let’s do it friends.
let’s allow Him to take our feet farther than we would ever wander on our own accord, into a life so far outside of our comfort zone, yet so full, abundant, and full of Jesus.

i leave you with paul's prayer from ephesians.
"for this reason i bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family on heaven and earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory"
ephesians 3:14-21 

cheers to hard choices and to seeking the abundant life!

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