Friday, May 23, 2014

being uncomfortable

a lot of things make me uncomfortable.  i mean, a LOT.  and since our instincts generally push us to find balance and comfort, i naturally want to avoid the uncomfortable things.  unfortunately for me, much of my discomfort comes from people.

so on a very regular basis, i am faced with the things that make me uncomfortable.  and i have choices in that.  i can push into the discomfort, or i can run away from it. 

i try to keep it really simple.  my purpose and passion are to love God and to love people. 

so when i am overwhelmed and uncomfortable, i just focus on that.  love God.  love people.  love God.  love people.  and once those truths have settled into my heart, i can think more clearly about how to do those things.

and i press into the discomfort.  i say yes to things that are hard fits.  i push myself to invest.  i do new things that stress me out.

you know what?  the Lord is very faithful and totally honors that.  despite the imperfect and messy way that i fumble through those hard things.  despite the awkward interaction.  despite my sin.  despite the fact that i feel out of place.  he brings blessing and encouragement and continues to grow and shape me. 

here's a recent example:

i got roped in to helping out with mission adventure (it's our version of vbs).  not just helping, but leading a team.  i am in charge of competitions.  we are challenging the kids to bring quarters in.  for every ten quarters ($2.50), a kid in india will have clean drinking water for a year.  (let that one sink in for a minute!)  so the kids will be in teams, and each night of mission adventure, the team with the highest percentage of quarters will get the travelling trophy and some candy.  and if all four teams meet the nightly goal, then our head pastor and children's pastor have to do funny/weird challenges.  so during the actual week of mission adventure, my job is pretty simple...count quarters, award the trophy, and make other adults do weird things.  awesome.  i can handle that.

but then i found out that i also had to create a character who would go into the classrooms on the sunday mornings leading up to mission adventure to tell the kids all about it and get them pumped up.  probably a bit unecessarily, i got extremely stressed out about this.  i felt pressed for time, rushed to work out details, and alone in the whole situation.

so i did something kind of unusual for me.  i shared how i was feeling with someone who had the ability to help.  and more structure was given to the situation, as well as encouragement and grace.  (i should note how thankful i am for the leadership in our church!)

so i created my character: wilhelmina argentina.  (but you can call me willy.)  i'm one weird animal!  i'm actually a morphing combo of animals...i have some monster feet, frog legs, chameleon arms and hair (i plan on changing the color every time), butterfly wings, and a tiger face. 

i got a mixed response from the kids at church.  the k-1 classroom thought i was pretty cool, but the 2nd-3rd grade classroom were a little skeptical.  so i wasn't sure if they even understood what i was doing or what i was trying to tell them.  and an older student told me that if i did this every week till mission adventure, the kids would get super bored.  so i felt a little discouraged.
but on tuesday, the children's pastor called me to share some really fun news.  two girls from the 2nd-3rd grade classroom went home and set up a lemonade stand to help the kids in India.  they raised $100 and are totally psyched to contribute during mission adventure.  so they heard the message, it got in their hearts, and they did something about it.  how cool is that?
this is what i am talking about.  when i press into things that are hard for me, the Lord moves and blesses.  he helped spark something in two little girls in indiana to care for 40 kids in india. that makes my heart explode.   
love God.  love people.  love God.  love people.

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