I’ve been talking about Abundance for about 15 years now. By keeping abundance lists and gratitude journals and everything inbetween, I have grown increasingly aware of the thousands of ways I’ve been blessed!
More recently though, I’ve been thinking a lot about what is comfortable and what is uncomfortable.
I had intended to write 10 things I learned each month on my blog. So much for good intentions! When June arrived and I thought about what I would list for May, only one thing came to mind:
I have learned that stepping out of my comfort zone isn’t necessarily uncomfortable.
I have been pondering how “Comfort Zone” has become such a popular phrase. I’m learning that at least for me, it can be a very convenient excuse. When I worry about stepping outside my ‘comfort zone’ things are still all about me and that does no one any good.
When I want to be a part of blessing others, sharing this abundant life, and meeting people’s needs, my heart is focused on others. All that matters is that I go where people are to truly understand their needs. Admitedly, it has taken me to areas well outside my neighborhood. It has introduced me to needs layers deep. It has made me aware of hungry children, needy families, indescribable living conditions, and the best and worst of our ‘systems.’
For some reason part of me wants to tell you that I live in a hundred year old house in serious need of an outside paint job. Inside, we have twenty year old carpet that I am often embarrassed about and a tiny kitchen that I sometimes get frustrated with. (I’m just being honest here!) If a catastrophe were to occur we don’t have enough in savings to pay one month’s worth of bills. So, in terms of finances we are not rich.
Or so, some would say. I already feel the condemnation of the financial planners, but I can say this: in comparison to so many, we are indeed rich. The more needs I see, the more I realize that what may be the most difficult – the most uncomfortable – about stepping out of our ‘comfort zones’ is the inequity we see between how we live, compared to how others live. We have SO MUCH while others have so little.
A home in need of a paint job can not compare with homelessness. The uncomfortable feelings I have about my carpet , my kitchen or my yard, are unmatched by the discomfort that hunger ushers in. Generations of family patterns can be debilitating. I’m learning that there are many brave and bold individuals trying to overcome the hand they’ve been dealt.
It is easy for us to sit in our comfortable homes with our landscaped yards and our air-conditioned churches and point the finger to poor choices ‘they’ made. My understanding, however, is that loving people should come second only to loving God. The truth is, loving people is the actual proof that we love God!
Our tendency is to love when we think people ‘deserve’ our help/love, or love when it is convenient for us. I am learning, however, that crisis and need are a daily occurance, seldom convenient in our busy schedules and that kind words, a portion of food or a sudden good break can make a difference in a life.
The needs in our city are huge. No doubt, your community is much the same. We have no shortage of single moms needing jobs and babysitters and someone to believe in them. We have a number of homeless men, women – and families that need shelter and shoes and a second chance.
And ALL of us, rich or poor or inbetween have a greater need: to have healthy relationships, to belong to a community, to have an identity. We all need to know we are neither forgotten or invisible.
We really are more alike than we may know.
When we emerge from our homes and our jobs and our churches and are willing to share ourselves and our time and our resources, we begin to understand. There are a hundred ways, big and small that we can make a difference in our communities. I’d love to hear ways you have found to make a difference in yours!
Growing A Bit More Uncomfortable With My Comfort,