A few months ago, I felt God tugging at my heart, telling me that it was time to get uncomfortable.
“What? Umm. Wait. I LIKE being comfortable, God.” That was my response. Awesome, right?
I lost count over the number of ways that God confirmed this message in my life over the next week. It was CRAZY obvious that God was serious about this whole “getting uncomfortable” thing. Whatever that even meant.
It was at about this time that I read “Falling Free” by Shannan Martin. And I started to get it. The lightbulb came on. I got what God had been trying to tell me.
My life was so, ummm, well, comfortable. GAH. It finally hit me. I’m surrounded by people who are just like me. I sit by my friends and family at church. I gravitate towards others who have the exact same values and lifestyle that I have.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t find others we relate to do life with. But I think what God was trying to tell me is that when I’m ONLY around people just like me, when I’m unable or unwilling to be around those whose lives don’t look like mine, I’m missing out. I can’t do His work when I’m living in a bubble.
I started to feel this longing for life outside of my bubble.
Ministry of Ordinary Places
A short while later, Shannan Martin launched her newest book, The Ministry of Ordinary Places, and I managed to snag a spot on her launch team, along with an advanced copy of the book.
You guys. This book made me come completely undone.
The crack that had started to split my heart wide open a month or two earlier became a huge, gaping crevice. Like, my life was WRECKED.
Listen. I underlined ENTIRE PAGES in this book.
I overcomplicate things. The book spells it out so simply: Jesus calls us to love people, so go love people. Loving others doesn’t require a huge budget or a large, beautiful home. It takes saying yes to the people God places in my path, taking a risk and being vulnerable and inviting people into my home and life. That’s it.
I needed this book in a big way. I absolutely, 100% recommend to anyone who’s ready to get out of their Christian comfort zone.
Here’s what she writes early on in the book:
I’ve found myself thinking about how simple it is to love our neighbors, awkward as it can be. We tend to overcomplicate it and talk ourselves out of wading into relationship, but consider the fact that we are a people called to love, by a man who clothed himself in humility to teach us to love, as ordained by a God who is love. In the great church canon of favorite biblical topics, it is love that forms the baseline.”
You can’t undo realizing that you WANT to be uncomfortable. What else is there to do other than be obedient to what God is prompting you to do?
Ministering In My Own Ordinary Places
Look. I’m not an expert at this. I’m an INTROVERT, for crying out loud. My personality is defined by being afraid to look at and/or talk to people. I am not COMFORTABLE putting myself out there.
Ms. Martin TOTALLY called out us introverts in her chapter, “Tacos and Tea.”
Many of us are introverts (Hi! Me too!), and we have allowed ourselves to believe this lets us off the hook of inviting others into our homes.”
Is it the end of the world to start looking beyond what’s comfortable and familiar? Will it kill me?
Slowly, in little ways, I’m learning how to do this whole “be vulnerable” thing that I’m so unnatural at. Here are a few ways I’m feeling led to reach out:
- Inviting new people at church over for lunch after church. (I may have had a small anxiety attack the morning of this event. But guess what? I SURVIVED. And I really enjoyed it. Our kids loved it. And we’ll be doing more of it because it was so great to break bread with new people.)
- Going for a bike ride with a new friend. (Sure, my leg muscles were furious at me the following day. But it was a glorious ride.)
- Starting a bible study in my home and inviting people outside of the usual girls I do bible studies with. I put it on Facebook and invited the whole world, you guys. I NEVER post on Facebook. 😉
A final thought from the book:
Open your windows. Turn off your phone. Walk the back alleys of your neighborhood. You live in the country? The suburbs? It might require a drive up the road, that’s all. Go wherever life thrums and pops, the place common sense most loudly warns you to avoid.
Go there. Sit down. Lean in. Resist the urge to posture or interject. Listen without an agenda. Just wait and see where it takes you.”
Have you read The Ministry of Ordinary Places? Let me know your thoughts below!