Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Don't just live there, DO something..."

This post is my day of participation in Mandy Thompson's month of "don't just live there, DO something." http://www.mandythompson.com/ - check her and the other "Do=ers" out there.

I wasn't sure I would participate at first. There are a lot of writer's and a 'younger' crowd in her part of the bloggy world. Would my post fit in? I wasn't sure if some of you, the handful, who visit this site would be scratching your head's wondering what I was doing. I don't know Mandy personally. I read her blog. And, gasp, we've exchanged emails! The wonders of the internet.

What I do know is that she's a lovely young woman (I've seen pictures :) ) who's honest, mature in her faith, has a really big heart and a wicked sense of humor. And I stumbled onto her blog as I searched for resources to help with leading 'blended' worship services. Which brings me around to "don't just live there, DO something."

"DO" get uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable makes you think hard. It makes you look around and see what others are doing - what you are doing. How you have an impact on the world around you.

Are you doing the things you should? Could you do something different to make it work better? Are you using the gifts you were given to fill a need that is open? Or are you content to just be comfortable?

I have been in various "uncomfortable" situations since moving overseas. One of those areas has been in leading Worship at our church (part-time). I have no real qualifications (although I will thank Mom & Dad for the years of voice lessons) - in fact, I don't even play a musical instrument. Over the past 9 years though, I been given preparation for the task without even realizing it. Willingness over the years in different arenas, have come together to fit me to this particular task in this particular place.

I didn't need to take this task on to make me happy. It's in my nature to want to be 2nd in command to a good leader. I don't need to be the leader. But. There was a need. I was willing to try. With prayer and preparation - it works. However, it's not always comfortable for me. It's like a pair of boots that I'm still trying to work in - if I don't wear them often enough, they get a little stiff.

The responsibility of it is the hardest part. Responsibility makes it hard to do uncomfortable things in the first place. We are held responsible for our actions and we are known by our actions. What do our actions say about us? I'll be the first to admit I miss the mark - a lot.

Our family blog has been fun to write and a challenge to me as I try to describe what it's like living here in this beautiful but different place. To express more than just what our latest trip to the lastest Euro city was like.

When we are done with this adventure, I know we will return different than when we arrived. We will have done many uncomfortable things. Spent time in uncomfortable places. Met uncomfortable people. Made uncomfortable decisions. Spoken an uncomfortable language - say "Roetibodenhoelzstrasse" 3 times in German and tell me it's not uncomfortable. Now, try it with a Swiss German accent.

DOing uncomfortable things has allowed us to have friendships we'd never imagined, give (time & money) in areas we hadn't before, allowed us to extend kindness to different people, expose our children to a lifetime of experiences, recognize how small we are but what a big God we have and know that our future is secure. And that security has nothing to do with Wall Street and 401k accounts.

People willing to DO uncomfortable things instigate change. When we are comfortable, we really don't want to change, do we? Bart and I have an "out of the box" child. The rules of the game are always changed - she sees life in circles, stars, bunnies - you name it. We are 'box' people and her 'out of the box' approach can drive us batty. But as I watched her sew yesterday, I realized she makes her world work better by not taking things at face value. I noticed and commented that she was sewing the buttons (eye's) on upside down. You see, the underside of the buttons were really white - and there were no other 'really' white buttons to be had. She didn't care the button's were upside down. She made it work to fill the need.

People willing to "DO" uncomfortable things fill a lot of needs. Uncomfortable things can be simple. For instance, smiling at a grumpy looking stranger on the street.

God did not promise us a life of comfort. In fact, if we are being obedient to His will, we will often be uncomfortable. We will be different. I'm still learning how to live with being different.

Paul told the Philippians "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard on another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus," Philippians 2:3 - 5

So "DO" get uncomfortable for the benefit of someone else. In the end, you may find yourself very comfortable with it.


Linds said...

Excellent post, and plenty to think over too. It is our natural instinct to avoid the uncomfortable, but if we do avoid it, we lose out on so many fronts, as you say. God has a way of stretching and refining us which is not comfortable at all.But it will be worth it. (She says as she is in the middle of the refining process!)

mandy said...

Sending people your way.

Anonymous said...

"DO uncomfortable..." such a good challenge. even for me, also living on the mission field. cause i, too, can get all-too comfortable in my own life. in my own skin.

thanks for this!

@ngie said...

You hit home on quite a few points. Good stuff.

brainteaser said...

Hiya Susan.

Yours is a great post! I should have read it sooner. You made a lot of good points, things to ponder on.

Just this morning, I posted a comment at lovewillbringustogether's part saying habit is comfort, and now i read you challenging us to do things that are uncomfortable. The parallelism is amazing!

I love your post and admire what you do.

And I am taking on the challenge.

annie said...

Great post. Hi there! I'm just getting to Mandy's back posts. I've been AWOL from blogland for a bit.

thanks for your post! I completely identify with being satisfied being 2nd in command ... I'm the same way. Thank God He prepares us! I know I'd be sunk! I'm not a strong leader, but I feel like God will ask it of me sometime in my life (gulp). Thanks for the inspiration.

Rachel said...

You hit the nail on the head here with this one. That's something that the Lord has really been impressing on me here lately. I feel that I'm on the edge of His doing big things with my life. And what He is saying to me is, "Don't get comfortable." I think this state of "discomfort" or unrest always preceeds something amazing!