February 17, 2022 Sam Snyder

Out Of My Comfort Zone

Out Of My Comfort Zone

"I think I'm in the wrong place," I said as I smiled at the African-American woman sitting behind the counter at the new store in our neighborhood that sells hair products and braids primarily used by black women. She looked a bit confused and then I pointed to my bald head and she laughed and said "we have wigs too!" I was the big, white, bald guy in the store for black women's hair because I was out on the Saturday before Valentine's Day with a group from our church who was looking for people to share the love of Jesus with. I told her what I was up to and Abby and I gave her a rose, told her how much God loved her, and asked if there was any way that we could pray for her or her business. She told us of the different needs in her business which opened the door for one of the customers in the store to come over and be prayed for as well. I shared with them the things and scriptures that I had sensed God put on my heart when we were praying as a group before heading out earlier. One of the ladies had been going through that very thing that morning and it was a great encouragement to her that God would have us there just as she happened to be in this otherwise empty store that Saturday afternoon.

You would probably think that I'm an extrovert and that talking to strangers is easy for me, but you'd be wrong. Talking to strangers is out of my comfort zone. I would much prefer to only be around people I know and do things that I'm comfortable doing, but it's Christ's love that compels me to be uncomfortable and even choose to make a fool of myself by cracking silly jokes to break the ice. I kept walking into barbershops and hair salons for the next hour asking for a haircut and then pulling back my hoodie...their faces were amusing and sometimes they laughed, but it broke the ice and started conversations and opportunities to let them know that God loves them, wants them to know Him personally, and has great and precious promises and purposes for their lives. It looked different in each situation, but those from our church who chose to step out of their comfort zone to share the love of Jesus with others got to share roses, love, laughs, and prayer with over 24 people in just a couple of hours.

Later on that night I found myself in another situation where I could have done what was most comfortable but instead chose to get out of my comfort zone and grow. I was tasked with taking one of our kids to a valentine's day/house warming party and it was just me, some parents I didn't know, and a bunch of teen girls. I could have done what other parents did and gone to enjoy some peace and quiet at a coffee shop until it was over, but I chose to stay and talk to the other parents I didn't know. I was tired, we had already had a long day with the annual meeting, the outreach, and I hadn't slept well the night before either...but I knew that the invitation to grow is for all of us and that God was up to something at this party and I just needed to find out what it was and be part of it. I got to encourage several people in conversation and eventually met someone who had just experienced a loss in their life and was searching for God. We got to pray together, exchange info, and were able to reconnect the next day for the SuperBowl party at our house.

I don't share that to convince you that I'm an awesome extroverted evangelist, but to say that God can do great things, divine appointments, when we choose to listen to Him, look for what He's doing and join Him in that work of loving those around us. Like me, it can happen when we're tired and most longing for our comfort zones. Hopefully, my testimony from Saturday illustrates that invitation, to quote Casting Crowns, "to step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unkown where Jesus is."