Thursday, July 6, 2017
Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone
Pat at Writer on a Horse and a Dog has invited us to write about stepping out of our comfort zone for Spiritual Journey First Thursday.
When I think about stepping out of my comfort zone, a couple of life experiences come to mind. When I was in high school, I heard about an opportunity to participate in a summer Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). I'm not really the outdoorsy type, but the chance to make some serious money during the summer before I was sixteen and hold a real job was enticing. I moved ahead and submitted my application. And wouldn't you know it? I got the job! I still remember the first day there and thinking about how many days it would be until the weekend. We boarded at Jones Academy in Hartshorne, Oklahoma and went home on the weekends. I learned how to work hard in the outdoor environment, to push myself physically, and became friends with people from differing backgrounds, all while helping to make the campus and environment at Jones Academy better for the American Indian students who lived there during the school year.
And as I neared the end of my senior year in college, God inspired me to serve a mission for our church. I was never one of those people who had always planned to serve a mission. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my mission letter to discover my assignment for the next eighteen months would be in Hong Kong. This was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone and learning the Cantonese language became one of the most difficult learning challenges of my life. But with faith in God, I moved forward step by step, and day by day to share my faith with those I met in Hong Kong.
So now, I'm trying to think of ways that I step out of my comfort zone in my life as a retired person. Three years ago, I attended my first NCTE conference (after I retired). I met Irene Latham who invited me to join the poets who write a progressive poem each year during April. I don't know why I said yes to her request. And every year I vow that I won't do it again. And then I find myself signing up to step out of my comfort zone and write a line with the poets I admire so much. And it's exhilarating, but only when my line is completed. Up until then, it's terrifying!
Another way that I step out of my comfort zone is by continuing to blog. Sometimes, I feel that I no longer have much to say, but it's the ongoing challenge to put words down on paper that make possible the occasional times when I write something that fuels me as a writer and makes me think that the process is still worthwhile.
My current church calling is to be the leader for our ladies group at church. It's challenging for me and I've learned to love the women that I serve, stepping out of my comfort zone to minister. I have learned to love women whose paths and challenges are different from my own. And as I've stepped out of that comfort zone, I've received love back from them and an appreciation for what they teach me.