Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Out of my comfort zone...

It's entirely possible that God wants us to spend a lot of our time out of our comfort zones. It seems that the times I feel the greatest satisfaction are those when I have really stretched myself and done something that makes me feel really insecure and uncomfortable.

A couple nights ago I was leaving the church, and as usual I was the last one out, just before dark. I stopped in the parking lot and got out of the car to check something and as I was returning to my car a man walked up to me from behind. The combination of the surprise and his hurry spooked me a little.

He held up a $20 bill- "I need a ride just down the road and I will give you $20 to take me there."

  • First thought- what kind of scam is this?
  • Second thought- this guy looks like he needs the money a lot more than I do.
  • A distant third thought- he needs more than a ride.
I told him to get in, that I would take him where he needed to go and to put his money away. He had a hard time understanding that I was willing to help him and not take his money.

As we rode we talked. He mentioned that he had been to our Singing Christmas Tree. He mentioned that he had grown up in church as a minister's son. He mentioned that he had disappointed a lot of people. He mentioned that he wished that he could get away from the drugs and alcohol that were dominating his life, but it seemed an impossibly large task. He mentioned that he wished he could be good enough for God to love him again, but he was afraid that hope was long gone.

OK God- the hard nudge isn't necessary; even I can field this one. And I'm really glad I was paying attention to Ken on Sunday.

We talked about how God loves us, regardless and unconditionally. We talked about how all of us disappoint God and other people all the time- just some more than others. We talked about how he doesn't have to turn his life around overnight, he just has to make the one next decision in a way that will please God; and the one after that; and the one after that. We talked about how you eat an elephant- one bite at a time. We talked about how drugs and alcohol are reactions to one of two things- filling that emptiness we all have that only God can properly fill, or trying to escape a memory or a hurt that only God can properly heal. We talked about a lot of things out of my comfort zone, and out of his for that matter. Finally, we prayed.

Is his life better today than it was then? I don't know. I may never know this side of glory. But, that isn't my assignment. My assignment is to speak God's truth and let Him worry about the outcomes. No matter how uncomfortable I am.

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