Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When the Comfort Zone Is No Longer An Option

When the comfort zone is no longer an option, then what? 

Lately, I have been so comfortable.  I cannot even put into words the level of comfort that I have in my comfort zone.  When they say a man’s house is his castle, I totally get it.  I love my house.  I don’t live in a mansion and I don’t have maid service, but I have a nice-sized house, with kids and husband who sometimes do chores.  I have three cats that don’t use the flower beds around my house for a litter box.   I have spots of grass that are missing from my yard from where we dumped things like oil or paint in the yard and it killed the grass.  I have weeds that grow taller than my flowers.  I have an office that will never be organized, and every spring we have ants.  The floors squeak upstairs in the bedrooms, there is a gap in one area of the hardwood floor.  None of this matters; I love every square inch of it.  I even love the spiders that sometimes find a home in the corner of the bathroom.  It’s comfortable here, it’s home.
When I am home, I watch TV,  play games on the computer (Free Cell and Spider Solitaire are my favorites), sing songs on the Wii.  I like to go on bike rides with the kids, and take walks.  Sometimes, I write. 

I also go to a large church, partly because I can blend in.  I have friends there, but I would venture to say there are far more that do not know me than do.  I talk to my friends before Sunday school and after, but never do I talk in class if I can help it.  I go to bible studies, and I don’t talk in class.  I am really good at talking to strangers, one on one.  I go to malls and make friends with the girls at the Clinique counter.  I go to restaurants and make friends with the wait staff.  It’s comfortable.
I enjoy working with children, but I don’t want to teach; I want to be the aide.  I decide what I will order at a restaurant, once I see what others are ordering.  I will go this weekend to Women of Faith and I will be in awe of the women who can travel around and speak with such eloquence in front of our group, but I don’t want to be a speaker.  I would go to lunch with them and have a conversation and be friends with any of them, but I don’t want to do what they do.

I like my routine.  I like knowing what’s around the corner, that each day is not too much different than the day before.  There are just different evening activities with the kids to go to.  I dream at night, but I like dreams to stay dreams (I normally don’t remember them anyway).  I forget things.  I block things.  I like to be in my comfort zone.

But what if the comfort zone isn’t an option?  What if the call from Him is to do more?  How do you even know for sure what the call is?  What if it’s a wrong number?  Seriously.  I had to get up in front of people and speak last month.   I cannot remember being more terrified.  I don’t want to repeat the experience.  I survived it, sure, but the stress was painful.  I’m still not sure if it was more painful for me, or for those who had to endure listening to me. 

This Sunday in Sunday school, we divided up in groups of men and women.  In our groups, we were given questions to answer about comfort zones.  I had, to this point in the year, spoken during class just one time.  That one time did not go so well because I made a poorly-timed joke. I thought it was pretty funny until everyone looked at me like I just grew three heads. 

I was asked to tell about my experience in public speaking, as an example of being outside of my comfort zone.  I tried to get out of it, since just talking to the class was going out of my comfort zone.  I tried to answer; then I answered poorly. Later, when we were back as a large group, the small group threw me under the bus and made me tell the story again.  I'm not sure there was an improvement.

I’m struggling.  My fear consumes me.  I haven’t glimpsed the future and I don’t know what it holds.  I feel as though I’m in a battle and I’m tired.  I am afraid that I’m going to be told to run, and I don’t have the right shoes.  I don’t have the compass, I haven’t been given the map, and I don’t have a smartphone with turn-by-turn instructions.  I don’t have that iPhone lady to tell me what I’m supposed to do.  I’m not equipped and I’m not even sure I’m called.  I don’t even know how to tell if you are called.  People who are called are at least equipped enough to recognize the call, right?  If you get a call from God, how do you explain that the creator of the universe must not realize that you are the wrong gal?  I know!  It’s a crazy thing to say.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  I know that.  But does He not pay attention?  Does He not realize that I’m just trying to blend in here?  That I’m just the typist; I’m not doing the dictation, and I’m not the illustrator either.  I’m broken.

I don’t know that I want to inspire people.  I don’t even necessarily want people to know I exist. Yet I wonder if, when I die, my family will sit around and tell stories about me just to each other, because no one will show up for the funeral.  I’m a blender inner, not a stander outer.  Blender inners don’t inspire people to do anything.  They blend.  They live, they hang out in their comfort zones and live their lives, and then they die.  The end.  That is MY plan.  This plan will make for a smaller buffet at the funeral, I understand.  It is my plan nonetheless.

But what if it isn’t God’s plan?  What if I don’t follow His plan, but follow my own?  What if I do follow His plan and He realizes I’m going to let Him down?  How do you bounce back from that?  No thanks.  I’m comfortable, right here where I am, in my comfort zone.  Surely that is where I’ll stay.  Don’t you think?

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