I am a mess, I always have been. The first thing I do in the morning is spill something on my shirt, and the last thing I do before bed is douse my entire bathroom with water while washing my face. It’s a mystery to me how these things happen, but one thing is clear: I am a mess. Yet somehow God chose me. He asked me if I would be willing to step out of my comfort zone and into whatever His plans would be. It was the scariest, most vulnerable, and yet most rewarding and motivating decision I have ever made.
Early in 2018 I was approaching the end of my college journey. Graduating in December seemed so strange, as no school programs were starting, and nowhere was hiring. Although I loved where I was — part of an amazing church with a close, supportive group of people around me — I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be able to stay in that comfortable spot. A season of my life was coming to an end, and stepping out into new territory seemed like a daunting task. Little did I know that God was about to absolutely WRECK everything. I had no idea what uncertainty felt like until the Lord asked for my “yes” and I was given the chance to answer His call. One morning in my Jesus time I felt a little discontent with where I was in life. I felt I could be doing more. Then God spoke to me and asked,
“You’re in church weekly, you lead and sing, you talk about me with your friends, but are you living your full potential? Are you doing what I have asked of you? Are you living out your purpose? Are you telling the world about me, bringing my sons and daughters home, living with fierce faith, seeking me fervently, bringing my Kingdom on earth, and feeling the wonder, awe, and richness of all I am? Are you truly following me?”
You could say I was a little bit convicted. Obviously my answer was “no,” though my desire and heart were instantly stirred up. So then God said, “Do you want to be doing all of those things”. Well, duh! YES LORD! (I’m a little sassy with God sometimes because, well, He made me. He knows.) But ever so tenderly, the Lord asked a final question, “Are you willing to be uncomfortable, to do anything I ask of you, and to trust me?”
One yes (thoughtful though spontaneous at the same time) changed my life forever. Long story short, after being given an opportunity, praying, fasting, seeking counsel, and finally hearing Pastor Trevor’s sermon on stepping out of the boat (GO LISTEN: https://thecreekchurch.com/messages/crossing-the-border), I applied and was accepted to an 11 month, 11 country mission trip. I was going to graduate 6 months later with a degree in Psychology and a Church Music minor, yet I took on the job title “missionary.” I went from living in Kentucky to becoming homeless for a year...in 15 different countries (I made a few extra stops along the way). I went from having lots of things to living out of one large backpack plus a carry on — and keeping said backpack under 50 pounds. I went from being surrounded by support to spending a year with 42 of the best strangers I could ever meet. There were countless ways that God wrecked my life and got me to embrace the uncomfortable: from language barriers to culture shifts, to dress codes, to diet restrictions, to shots and medications, to living spaces, to trusting in others for finances, to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual trying, testing, and growth...the list could go on forever. Let me tell you, though: it was all worth it.
I couldn’t tell you just one thing I learned, or pinpoint exactly how I changed, especially in such few words. It seems like in every country God was breaking down a part of me and shaping me more into His image. It was beautiful. In Colombia, I learned how to lead worship in Spanish just because, when asked if I could, I said yes. Now, I had never before spoken Spanish even a day in my life, so I basically lied. But within a month I was having conversations with people about Jesus and changing lives simply because I was willing to try. I became a Spanish worship leader 3 nights a week; the first week I barely knew what was happening. By the third week I got to see over 20 past or present drug addicted, homeless men come down to the altar because of words the Holy Spirit spoke through me. With tears in their eyes they sang in Spanish, “There is power in the name of Jesus to break all my chains. I hear the chains falling.” That is something I would have never gotten to witness living in my comfort zone.
In Ecuador, I preached for the first time ever over the passage of James 3: the power of words. We watched a room full of about 30 middle and high school students learn what it meant to have power over their words and to be kind. The activity following allowed the kids to let go of words spoken over them and then pick up a word or scripture that the Lord says about them. EVERY SINGLE STUDENT came down to the front, asked for prayer, and felt the touch of the Holy Spirit. All because I said yes to preaching for the first time — something completely out of my comfort zone.
Now, I am no hiker. I would like to be one of those outdoorsy, Instagram-famous girls who pick up a backpack and leave for the weekend to live amongst nature in the mountains. But until last year, I had hiked a total of 2 trails in all my life. Yet the entire month in Nepal was spent hiking up and down the Himalayan mountainside to literally go reach the unreached — to go and chase down the one. We hiked for hours just to get to a household that had never heard the name or story of Jesus. We asked the people if they wanted to be saved, right then and there. We encouraged community groups and put them in touch with churches they could find within their region. Once there was a teenage girl who wanted to know Jesus but felt her boyfriend would disagree or not love her anymore. I, too, knew the feeling of wondering if Jesus could love me as much as or more than a physical man. In their culture, everything is male driven and led, so she didn’t know what to do. The Lord once again asked for my yes to share my entire testimony with her — considering a lot of my story involves trying to find myself in a man rather than placing all of myself in the arms of my Father and God. Because of our small conversation, she then and there prayed to accept Jesus Christ. Side note: for most of us in America, we see this as a normal thing, or as something everyone has already done. Y’ALL! In Nepal it is ILLEGAL to talk about Jesus, to preach, to share the Gospel. People get hunted down and killed. Yet this woman had the boldness and faith on her own to accept Jesus publicly and then immediately run home to her family to share the good news. All because of a yes.
God did way more than just those things, I could go on and on. He also did wonders for myself and my teammates in addition to the people we encountered. In Kenya, I had one of the hardest bouts of depression I’ve ever experienced. Usually I keep it to myself and go on like nothing is happening. This time, God told me to hand it over and speak to my teammates. We cried and asked questions and prayed and leaned in hard. Because of my yes, I was healed and happier in the midst of a storm than I have ever been. I am telling you, one yes and one step outside of your comfort zone can make the biggest difference in your life.
There are many instances in the Bible where the Lord asks for someone to say yes to His calling, and from that moment their lives forever change. Think of Abraham and the promise of generations to come after him, Noah and the flood where one yes saved his family, or Moses leading his people out of captivity to the promised land. My favorite example is young Jeremiah, because I totally understand his reaction to God’s calling. The scriptures say:
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
How often do you feel uncertain, unprepared, too young, too old, or basically just unqualified for the Lord to use you? I’m sure we have all been there at some point. However, look at how confidently the Lord responds. He might as well have said “Listen, I made you. I think I know what you’re capable of. Why do you doubt me when I made everything? Just do as I say and trust me.” (paraphrasing, of course). The Lord had given Jeremiah a huge calling, and had asked for his yes (more like commanded). However, as soon as Jeremiah let all of his worry and self-doubt go, he stepped into his full purpose and potential and went on to do some amazing and life transforming things. Obviously this was out of his comfort zone or he wouldn’t have raised concerns. One yes, one step — that’s all it may take.
So here is my challenge to you: what is your next yes? What is God asking you to do? How can you get uncomfortable? It could be sitting at someone else’s table at Starbucks and striking up a conversation instead of putting in headphones and zoning out. It could be serving in the church in a way you don’t feel like you know how, but just being willing anyway. Maybe it's just going to church, or joining a small group. It could be taking that job, sending that email or text, reaching out to an old acquaintance, asking for or giving forgiveness. If you’re like me and God likes to wreck you, it could just be giving up everything you have ever known for a year to chase after the Kingdom of God. Whatever it is, one yes may just change your life.
Also, I didn’t tell you all of these fancy stories to brag or to make you feel as though you were incapable because you have never traveled. I simply told you stories of how I said yes exactly where I was at. I have always been and still am a mess, but God still chose to use me and show me just how much He is capable of. Right now I am in Somerset living in my mentor’s basement, working a new job at a coffee shop, but happy and content because God asked me to say yes to being uncomfortable — just in a different way this time. I want to be on the missions field, or leading worship, or doing big things right now, but God asked me to wait and make an impact exactly where I’m at. Because I have seen His faithfulness before, I will gladly give my yes again.
SO GO! Live IN and FOR the uncomfortable. Comfort rarely brings growth and productivity. It is only when we test our limits that we are able to break through them. It is only when we stretch ourselves that we can grow. It is only when we accept the call or ask of God that we will see the fruit and rewards. His goodness and faithfulness will never fail you. It is up to you to step fully into the abundance that God has to offer. Will you go for it?
“Decide what to be, and go be it.” — The Avett Brothers
Verses to encourage you:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1: 7)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9)
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23: 6)
At The Well, we desire to be a community of women who live out our potential and purpose in Christ, lead where God has placed us, and encourage others to do the same.
Learn more about our ministry and events on our main page.