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Entries in Comfort Zone (2)

Thursday
Jun152017

When God Interrupts

Kolleen Lucariello’s goal is to help women discover and live out their identity in Christ, and in this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she encourages us to see the Lord’s “interruptions” as His appointments.

“I listened as my sister explained her dilemma and easily sensed the disappointment and controlled panic in her voice,” Kolleen said.

I (Dawn) think it’s clear Kolleen has a sensitive heart—a heart primed to help.

But is helping at that moment what the Lord wanted? Great wisdom here.

Kolleen continues . . .

After months of struggle, my sister was finally able to help a young woman she had been mentoring find residential housing suitable to help her overcome the obstacles she’d been battling.

Unfortunately, she had just been informed her friend would not be able to continue in the program and my sister would need to find a new place for her immediately.

As in: ASAP.

After hearing the complexity of the assignment before her, I offered her the only sisterly advice I had when I said, “I’ll pray for you.”

I’ve learned this answer is the safest when the fixer in me rises up at the same time my empathy levels increase. As a recovering-controlling-fixer I often offer quick solutions to the pickles people found themselves in; my advice flowing from emotion with little thought or prayer involved.

This, my friends, usually put Kolleen in a pickle with her husband, Pat.

So now, rather than allow my emotions to speak up, I’ve become determined to wait on the Lord and be prayed up. So pray I did. 

I prayed hard for my sister. I prayed fervently for her friend.

I prayed that whoever God had given the ability to help would clearly follow His leading.

Each morning for almost a week I would grab my cup of tea, play “I Surrender” quietly in the background, and enter my quiet time of prayer—seeking God for wisdom in this situation.

As the day of her discharge grew closer and no temporary housing had been found, the desperation level began to increase. Calls for help were put out but—with a list of very specific needs in housing—choices were limited.

What became unlimited, however, were the many reasons for the answer, no.

Still, I prayed on.

I sensed the Lord was beginning to unravel this mystery of where He had in mind for her to go when I was reminded of the empty spare room we had recently painted and put together.

I began pleading my case for why the answer had to be no.

Since we were on limited time, the Lord wasted little of it exposing the reason for my hesitation: Interruption. Exactly.

How is it possible to sing “I Surrender” or “Withholding Nothing” in the morning and yet refuse to be interrupted by the One I promise to surrender to and withhold nothing from?

Ouch.

I wonder how Abram managed when God spoke to him, “Go away from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 AMP). Talk about interruption. 

You UPGRADE your responsiveness to the Lord when you:

1. Listen for God to speak to you.

Abram was settled in Haran when the Lord spoke to Him and told him, “Go.”

Is there a chance we’ve become so settled in the safety of our routine that we fail to hear the Lord when He speaks to us?

2.  Allow God to move you out of your comfort zone.

God instructed Abram to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house.

Is it possible we’ve become unmovable by the comfort of people, places and things?

3. Receive God’s blessing through obedience.

The Lord promised Abram there would be great blessing for him in exchange for his obedience.

Could we be missing out on the blessings He longs to give us each time we fail in our obedience?

Abraham became the father of many nations when he “...departed [in faithful obedience] as the Lord had directed him” (Genesis 12:4, AMP).

I wonder what we might become if we depart, in faithful obedience, when the Lord directs.

We won’t know if we refuse to surrender to His interruptions.

Does the Lord want to interrupt your life?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ—one letter at a time. Learn more about Kolleen here.

 

Tuesday
Feb212017

Comfort Zone / Chocolate Zone

In this UPLIFT post, Rhonda Rhea encourages us to step out in faith—maybe more faith than we think we have.

"Think chocolate is not the answer? Maybe," Rhonda says, "you're not asking the right questions."

Ok now. Rhonda had me (Dawn) at the word "chocolate." Say that word and I'm like a dog hearing the word "squirrel." But knowing Rhonda, there's some spiritual truth in here somewhere.

She continues . . .

Okay, I do know chocolate is not really the answer to all the world’s problems. But it does sort of make a challenge a bit more palatable.

Chocolate-coating our discomforts—couldn’t hurt, right? Sometimes chocolate is not only in my comfort zone, but chocolate is my comfort zone.

Did you hear about the recent scientific study that determined 10 out of 9 people appreciate chocolate? It doesn’t matter so much that the math doesn’t exactly work, I don’t argue with it.

As a matter of fact, I’ve sometimes wondered how much it would take to cause me to say the words “Now that’s just too much chocolate.” And while I don’t know how much, I’m more than willing to explore the topic through my own personal research.

Other studies—real ones—are always citing more ways chocolate is good for you. So I’ve decided to no longer consider myself a few pounds overweight.

I’ve decided to instead think of myself as “chocolate-enriched.”

That’s my comfort zone and I’m sticking to it. Also, it’s sort of sticking to me.

There are comfort zones and there are comfort zones.

When God commissioned Joshua after the death of Moses, He gave Joshua instructions about the new land He was to possess. He said to him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).

Sometimes God calls us to step out of everything comfortable.

We see it all through Scripture. God called Moses to step out before the mantle was passed to Joshua. God called Abraham to leave his home and everything familiar to him to take off to zones unknown. He called Samuel, He called Isaiah, He called so many more. Jesus called His disciples to step out of their comfortable lives and to follow Him with abandon.

There aren’t a lot of things in this life I can promise will happen, but I can promise this. At some point you will be called to step out of your comfort zone.

Don’t be caught off guard. Don’t think you’re being reprimanded. And even more importantly, don’t think for a second that He is not with you in that less-than-comfy place. Be strong. Be courageous. Know He is with you.

It’s good to remember that stepping out of our comfort zone is also stepping into the comfort of His Holy Spirit. It’s amazing—even in discomfort, there’s comfort! Real comfort. It’s comfort not in a place, not in a possession, not in a food—it’s in a Person, the Person of our mighty God of all comfort.

His is the zone of victory—even miracles. Paul spoke of how the churches in Macedonia, though they were in a zone of great discomfort, gave “as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability,” (2 Corinthians 8:3, NIV). God makes it possible for us to do more than is possible for us to do. It’s “10 out of 9” kind of math, only it’s very real.

As you step out in faith, you’ll find there’s growth in every new place the Lord leads you. You can rest assured He will never ask you to step out of one zone into another without His presence, without His purpose or without His empowering.

There’s great comfort there. Sometimes there’s even chocolate.

Where might God be asking you to step outside your comfort zone and into a place of growth?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.