Thursday, October 1, 2015

Embracing Discomfort

I've been introducing myself to strangers lately. It's not something I really enjoy and even the fact that we have mutual acquaintances and purpose to the meetings doesn't really help. But I have learned to do it without choking, physically at least.  

God has intentionally been sticking these opportunities in front of me- opportunities that I really want to take- so that I have to step up when I'd rather not. I'd rather not make a phone call. I'd rather not show up when I don't recognize any faces. I'd rather not offer my skills when I'm afraid I'll be laughed at. But I've been doing it anyway. 

Most of it has come from doing what I'd rather not in everyday life. I'd rather not clean up another accident, draft that email, get out of bed. But I do because God tells me to. The little work has been training in obedience for when the harder things arrive. As I learn to obey today I'm preparing myself for what's down the road. Even if I clean up cheerios three times today I know that I can do it again tomorrow. And then I learn to do it with a smile, teaching the boys how to help me with a good attitude. Hard things becomes habits and I find they don't take the mental effort that they used to. Then I can tackle another hard thing. 

Sometimes it goes really well with strangers and with the obedience. We hit it off; I find a place to assist with the work; I clean up the spill without losing my temper. Sometimes I'm left relieved that I did what I was supposed to and I didn't turn my back on uncomfortable opportunity. "All opportunity is uncomfortable. That's where you have to live life."  It's easy to believe that on those days. 

And other times it's everything I fear it will be. I leave remembering all the things I said that perhaps I shouldn't have or I fall asleep at night wishing I could take back those words or that wasted time. I would rather curl up on the couch with a book instead of writing my own story because I'm very likely to embarrass myself. If I don't do anything I can at least avoid that. 

That's not entirely true. Once I've wasted my life I'll see all the things that I could have done if I had lived in that discomfort. I'll see the people I could have helped, the places I could have served, and realize that all the potential embarrassment in the world shouldn't have been enough to stop me. The point of life isn't to avoid mistakes or humiliation. The purpose of life is to pour myself out serving God and helping others. The purpose is to empty myself every day for the people that God places in my path instead of trying to keep it all in my grasp. 

And yes, sometimes that means I mess up. But I'm going to keep introducing myself. I'm going to keep cleaning up the messes, filing the papers, folding the laundry. I'm going to get off the couch and live my story. 

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