I think we all know what I mean when I use that phrase.  It is the areas of our life that we generally choose to act in.  And, it is so easy to just stay there, because as it implies, it is comfortable.  The rub comes when it becomes a rut and we cannot see where we can grow or how we can best utilize our talents.

Today is my 40th birthday.  I’m not sure how I got to be this age, but it really feels good to be here.  I feel like I have actually got some of this life figured out.  I have more joy in my life today than I have ever had in my adult life.   And, when I say Joy, I don’t mean happiness.  In my opinion, our society is much too focused on pursuing happiness at all costs rather than pursuing true joy.  How often do we hear the phrase “you have to do what makes you happy?”  To me, the difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is often fleeting and selfish and joy is meaningful and lasting.

I’m going to be honest, much of my adult years to this point have been marked by me aimlessly trying to figure out how and what to be and how to be happy.   I’ve read more Oprah magazines and self-help books than I care to admit trying to figure out how to live, when the only real answer for that has been with me all along.  I had just walked away.  It has only been in the last 4 years that things have turned around.  I can say with complete certainty that the only reason they have turned around is because God showed up.   He showed up when I did not deserve it and he has continued to show up over and over again through my church, in my marriage, through my children, in my family, through my friends….over and over

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So, when I contemplated what to do for my 40th birthday, I had all the usual suggestions from friends….go on a big trip, have a big party, spend a lot of money…yada, yada, yada.  But, those things just did not seem right.  Once again, God showed up.  A few weeks ago, I went to a different church service than I normally do thinking it started at 5:00 when it actually started at 5:15.  This meant that I had 15 luxurious minutes to peruse the bookstore without any children.  When I say luxurious, I mean it.  I love books.  I actually have set a limit that I cannot buy more than one book at a time, because otherwise I end up buying more than I can read.

On this day, I picked up the book, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman.  This book is convicting.  It is amazing, kind of uncomfortable, but really amazing.  I have read it and now am in the process of reading it again.  I have bought it for friends and it is already changing my life.

Comfort Zone

Here is one of the most convicting passages:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)

For something to be hot, it must be heated. To be cold, it must be cooled. If an object is lukewarm, then it is either being equally heated and cooled, or being neither heated nor cooled. If you are to be hot, then you must be sufficiently heated. Every stimulus you allow in your life will EITHER heat or cool your love for Jesus.

The basic premise of this book is that God did not call us to be fans, those that sit on the sidelines and cheer when things are going well and boo or leave when things are going bad.  He called us to be committed followers.  Committed followers are in it.  They follow and are faithful when they are sick and when they are healthy, when rich and when poor, wherever they are called and they don’t worry about what people will think or what it will cost them.

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Hmmm…..I am definitely a Christian.  I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  I will admit at times, it seems almost impossible for it to be true, but God has shown up so many times in my life that I am 100% convinced.  So, if I am 100% convinced, how come my husband and I never pray together ?  How come I haven’t been baptized?   Why is it hard for me to talk about spiritual things with others?

For some reason, that is out of my Comfort Zone.   But, if you know me or my husband, you know we don’t like to do things halfway.  I don’t like to sit on the sidelines, EVER.  I want to be in the race, in the game.  But we are clearly not in this game yet.  Our names aren’t even on the roster.  We are the ones that got the free tickets and showed up to see what good things we could get from our faith.  But, really, is it all about what we can get?  No, it is also about what we can give.  And so, I am throwing myself in the game of being a Follower and not just a fan of Christ.  I plan for this to be a forever thing, but for the next 40 days, I am going to actively push myself out of my comfort zone in an effort to more fully realize what God has called me to do and be here on this earth.

For some, the little changes I make may not seem like much, but if something as simple as praying out loud before a meal, pushes me outside of my comfort zone, I have to believe there are a lot of other people out there who attend church and want to experience more from their faith but just don’t because it is uncomfortable.    My hope with this blog is that at least one other person will be inspired to look at what they are doing and how they are living and take one more step into their faith.   I don’t expect to have sold all my property and be moved to Haiti in the next 40 days, but on the continuum of true commitment and really living what I believe, I hope to be further along and maybe you will too.

Each day I will actively take one step in that direction and blog about that step and the meaning it had.  Today my step was to publicly acknowledge my goal via my new blog that my wonderful husband set up for me.   I am not a talented writer so it is completely out of my comfort zone to actually share my writing and also to declare my faith publicly.  But, there are two critically important reasons to share it publicly.  1.  I do feel that there are a lot of people in my same position who might benefit and 2.  I need to be held accountable.  Follow through is not my strong point especially when I am trying to do something uncomfortable or break habits that I have had for 40 years.

So, here is to making the most of the next 40 years and to stepping out of the comfort zone.  I’d encourage you to join me.  It’s going to be amazing!

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