7 Days Outside of My Comfort Zone: Day 7

Comfort zone 7

Day 7
This is NOT the End

It started last Friday when I felt the need to take 7 days to step outside of my comfort zone.  What I thought would be just a little uncomfortable actually became more than uncomfortable.  Some days I found myself trying to reason with God when I didn’t want to talk about certain things, and on those days I usually typed my words with a tremble in my hands and shed a few tears before clicking Publish.  God’s perspective is much greater than mine, though.  I’m thankful I did this.  Believe it or not, it was incredibly freeing. 

Today will be a different way of stepping outside of the comfort zone.  Maybe I will be required to step out even more, but maybe I won’t be required to step out at all.  The reason I don’t know is because I leave it in your hands.  I’m opening today up for specific questions from anyone reading this.  Of course, if you’re reading months after this has been written and posted, feel free to still ask questions.

Maybe no one will ask questions.  Who knows?  I do hope to interact with many of my readers as a result of these 7 days, though.  I know people might have specific questions about something they’ve read this week or something they’ve heard.  Please, don’t hesitate to ask regardless of how small or big the question is. 

This may be day 7 of my 7 Days Outside of My Comfort Zone, but this is definitely not the end of me stepping outside of what is comfortable for me.  One thing I know is true; if I’m walking out my purpose, I’m going to be asked to get outside of the comfort of my little walls.  Look at those who have done anything great, past or present.  I bet it won’t take long to find that they had to step outside of their comfort zones in order to be great. 

What is one way you can step outside of your comfort zone this weekend?

**If you would like to contact me to ask questions about anything regarding anything I’ve talked about this week, or if you just feel the need to talk, you can always comment to this post.  However, if you would prefer it to not be quite so public, you can use the contact form below to send me an email.**

 

7 Days Outside of My Comfort Zone: Day 6

comfort zone 6

Day 6
Laying it Out There

As I’ve said throughout this 7 day journey, I am a private person.  I haven’t openly spoken about things that have gone on in my life – unless they’ve long passed.  I’m a firm believer that God has a plan for everything in our lives.  He even has a plan for us to succeed and be blessed after we’ve made decisions that were out of his design for us.  I’m also a firm believer that everything in our past are tools used to shape us into the person we are today.  I am thankful for the last 17 years of my life, and I have been so blessed.  I feel it’s necessary to say this before continuing on because I don’t want the words that follow to be skewed in any way.

I had a dream.  It’s the same dream many have and strive for.  The thing with me is not that I think I’m different or better than the next person, but when I have a dream or goal in mind, I never even entertain the idea that it could go any other way.  My dream was to get married, have kids, and be the first in my family to stay that way and create memories together that follow us into our last moments of life.  I wanted to be the elderly couple holding hands and laughing at something that happened decades before.  This was my dream. 

Even before we married, we struggled immensely, but we continued moving forward any way.   We were very good at making it appear things were great when, in actuality, we were merely best friends living as roommates from the beginning.  And that worked off and on for a while.  We even involved ourselves in participating and even in leading small groups for married couples in hopes we could find that kind of bond between us.  We desperately tried to force that bond to happen, but for some reason, it just didn’t.

As I mentioned in a previous post, things kept in the dark are given room to grow, and it’s an open invitation for the Enemy to play.  As the years passed, we added more to that dark area, and the Enemy didn’t pass up the opportunity to throw the ball to him every so often and to me every so often.  Before we even realized it, both he and I were playing a friendly game of catch with our rival, who had a plan himself.

At one point, we came to terms with the knowledge that we both had done some irreparable damage to one another, and we were not showing any signs of letting up.  We decided, for our kids’ sake, we couldn’t continue living how we were, so without telling anyone, we separated.  I can’t speak for him, but I can tell you I found myself in some incredibly dark times, and I just stopped.  I stopped reaching out to people; I stopped writing; I stopped going to church; I stopped . . . living.  I look back at my 2012-2013 teaching year, and I was in a fog.  I was deeply depressed, and I honestly can’t tell you much that I lived during that time.  There were a few times I prayed we could make it work, and I would go back with those hopes, but there was so much anger in both of us, and we couldn’t seem to get ourselves on the same page.

The second half of the year, though, God really started working in me showing me what he wants for my life, and I knew where I was at that moment couldn’t possibly lead me there.  I became friends with a group of people who continued to ask me to church with them, but I always declined.  Finally God used my new friends to call me out on not going to church, and I knew they were right, so I went with them.  It was the beginning of me finding light again in my darkness.  However, not too long after I was served with divorce papers in the parking lot on my way to work.  Even through the divorce process, there were times I prayed for my heart to be open and try to reconcile, but I was pushed away with each attempt.

I stopped letting that relationship consume my every thought and began to focus more on my faith and my relationship with God.  Drastically, everything inside of me changed.  Despite the chaos surrounding me, I was at peace inside for the first time in a long time.  God was reminding me of who I am and the plans he has for me, and I found myself craving to be side-by-side with him again.  The most amazing thing about God is that he is always there just waiting for us to walk beside him.  He started speaking to me again and often, and I remembered how wonderful it is to be in his presence constantly. 

In the last weeks of 2013, I decided to open myself up again to possible restoration in my marriage, but this time I was going in with a new heart and new thoughts and with God right beside me.  Unfortunately, it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen, so I decided I would no longer pray for changed hearts for us, and I would no longer allow myself to be stagnant in my situation.  God was moving in me, and I needed to allow myself to be moved.  As hard as it was, it meant I had to move without the person beside me who had been beside me at some capacity since 1996.

This year has already been so incredibly full of God’s love and blessings, and I am looking forward to living out his plan for me.  I’m in a good place.  No, it’s not where I ever thought I’d be, but it’s my Plan B, apparently, and God can and will bless it just as I know he is and will continue to bless and protect our kids. 

My Plan B is in its beginning stages.  I have faith it will be blessed.  From a post written December 2, 2013 , you can read what I mean by that.  What Happens When Plan A Fails?

7 Days Outside of My Comfort Zone: Day 4

Comfort Zone 4

Day 4
Pride Goes Before Destruction

You might have noticed I didn’t post Day 4 yesterday.   I stepped out of my comfort zone in a different way, so I’ve been debating on whether today’s title should be Day 4 or Day 5.  Instead of writing outside of my comfort zone, I actually stepped outside of it and spoke face-to-face with someone about things not within my comfort walls.  I found myself revealing uncomfortable things but with ease, and I believe it’s because God was right beside me the whole time, and I felt he actually led me to speak specifically with this person.

If you’ve kept up with the past 3 days, you may have learned some new things about me and my life over the past several years.  Please understand that I’m not complaining.  Honestly, I don’t feel I have a right to complain.  I know that my life has been wonderful compared to some people’s and horrible compared to others.  For that reason, we are not to compare any part of ourselves with others.  The life you live is your own, and that’s the only one you should be concerned with as far as judging.  It’s not a competition between whose life is the best or worst.  Instead, focus on how God can use you in whatever situation you find yourself in.  And I’m saying that to myself just as much as I’m saying it to you.

I truly have tried to make the best of my life over the years, but honestly it’s difficult sometimes to continue to make the best or be your best when the situation is consistently knocking you down and putting you in a place of nothingness, a place where you feel like you are and you mean nothing.  The fact is, when you feel knocked down the majority of the time but still present yourself with a smile on your face as if everything is perfect, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.  I think women tend to do this more often than men for some reason.  Women are so beautiful and loving and compassionate and nurturing, but the Enemy loves to pit us against one another in a catty comparison game so those precious strengths aren’t being utilized.  Even when it’s unintentional, we find ourselves comparing everything against other women: appearance, parenting, marriage, work, cooking, etc., so we hide anything that people can view as a fault because we don’t want the women who appear to have it all together thinking that we don’t.  He really is good, the Enemy.  He knows what our strengths are and wants to weaken those as much as possible.  But I digress.

One thing I’ve learned is by bringing things to light, it’s impossible to remain in darkness.  I don’t necessarily feel it’s my place to bring things to light that are out of my control regarding others, but I do think it’s important to own up to my own failures.  Pretending that everything is great means I’m keeping certain things in the dark, and in the dark is where the Enemy likes to play.  Those things kept in the darkness are an open invitation for him to come in and cause chaos.  Unfortunately, I fell into this, and it was when I thought I was strong enough to resist him that I fell flat on my face.  Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.”  Pride can be a variety of things.  In this particular situation, my pride was regarding my walk with Christ.  I was living my plan and reaching people like I never knew I could, and I was allowing God to use me in so many different ways.  I felt like I was walking in-sync with him.  I didn’t feel I was above others, but I was proud in that I thought I was so close to God that I would surely not be taken by one of Satan’s traps.  So when I fell, I fell hard.  And when I fell, the ground beneath me shook. 

The link below is something I wrote during that time.  I thought I was bringing things to light when I wrote this, but in all honesty, I think I was just admitting that I had messed up, but I said nothing more.  Things still weren’t brought to light.  When I wrote this, I thought I had overcome the attack and made my way out of the trap, but all decisions are followed by consequences, and those are still being lived out.  When I published this post a couple of years back, it was certainly not the end of the trap in which I found myself.  I had no idea what was ahead of me.

What I thought would never happened, happened to me.  From July 19, 2012:  Everyone Thinks it Won’t Happen to Them — Until it Does