Do you ever go out of your comfort zone when it comes to serving God? It seems that since I have gotten older I have gone out of my comfort zone more frequently than when I was younger. I think when I was younger I was more consumed with parenting, being a spouse, and serving at church, than I was concerned about being out of my comfort zone. I think I worried more about making it through the day without a melt-down–either my kids or mine– than I thought about challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone more!
Recently one of my fellow church members contacted me and asked if I would be willing to speak on a rotation basis at a nearby assistant living facility. That was a stretch for me. I had been asked to speak for their small worship service and believe me, that was way out of my comfort zone. I speak for workshops and retreats for women’s groups, but I had never spoken for a service with older people. I was not sure exactly what to speak about as I wracked my brain for the normal topics I speak on. I prayed about what these individuals would want and need to hear about God.
Then I realized they want to hear the same things I want to hear. They want to hear about a loving God who sent His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for each of us. They want to hear about our walk with Jesus and how it can change our lives. They want to hear that the fruit of the spirit can still be cultivated in their lives, even though their time here on earth can be short.
So I chose to talk about joy. In January I did a two-part blog post on this topic because I firmly believe that like many things, joy is a choice for us. But how would I relate choosing joy to individuals who are dealing with multiple health issues and are just now recovering from social isolation from Covid? I realized having joy is a choice we make whether we are 20 or 80. It is not dependent on what is happening in the world around us or in the challenges of an aging body.
So yesterday I went to our early service at church (which was a stretch for me as I am NOT an early bird) and was challenged and inspired by the message. Then I left and made my way to the assistant living facility. And I talked about joy in our relationship with Jesus, joy in how we choose to interact with others, and joy in the midst of our circumstances (even if they are not of our choosing). I saw several nods and no one fell asleep while I was sharing, so I consider that a win.
I realized when I finished that I was grateful that God stretched me out of my comfort zone once again. And while I hope that the people who heard me speak were blessed by the time they spent with me, I have to say, I was probably way more blessed by being able to share my heart with them for a brief time.
So what about you? What has been asked of you lately that will stretch you out of your comfort zone? I always say, pray about it and listen to what God has to say. Sometimes you will be the one who walks away with the blessing.