“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
I have a dear friend who had a saying when I first got into recovery. She always used to tell me with a smile on her face, (when I wanted to crawl out of my skin), “You gotta get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
I would always look at her cross-eyed and say, “Okay.”
So this weekend I got the message sent to me once again, loud and clear. This time it was God.
I committed to going to this conference called “Speak Up” in Grand Rapids that I’ve heard is awesome (and it was.) I feel blessed to live so close to a hub of gifted Christian women speakers and writers. The mission of the event is to equip the next generation of great communicators.
I was on the speaking track, meaning my workshops were focused on speaking. We had breakout sessions to practice our speaking in front of a small group and get feedback. Mind you, this is the part of the conference I would have totally avoided in the past, like “I don’t want to do that.” “Nobody wants to hear my story,” I would think.
This time, I pushed through my fear, stepped up twice in front of a small group of women, and got great feedback. I heard multiple women, both speakers and participants talk about stories of sharing their testimony and got the message that it’s time to get out and speak more. I can write, do videos and hide behind my desk. But there is something powerful in showing up, being seen and sharing your story. So although I felt fear, I just showed up and pushed through it busting out of that comfort zone of mine.
What I want to share with you, is how God demonstrated this need for me to step out of my comfort zone over the course of this past week. Maybe it will prompt you to think about where you need to step out in faith and get a little uncomfortable.
I don’t know if you know this, but God can be hilarious. He can use things to teach you something that you can’t even believe. I was staying at a Comfort Inn and guess what? I was completely UNcomfortable. Didn’t sleep great because of a loud air conditioner and car alarms going off. But way to demonstrate that it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The other thing was leading up to the conference. I was staying up at the lake and God used a baby bird. In the garden was a mama bird with her baby birds (pictured). My cats wanted to eat them but I kept them from her. Every day I watched the mama fly away, come back with food and sit on her little birdies to keep them warm and snuggly. Then one day my mother-in-law asked me, “How are the birdies?” And I said “Good, I think.” Then I walked out to show her where the nest was and there was one of the babies sitting on a branch just staring at us like, “Where did my nest go, and where’s my mama?” Then I walked over to the nest. Half of it was in the tree and the other on the ground. And I could totally relate to that little guy. Like wait, I like my warm nest. I gotta fly now?
He even sent me the message during the conference. A friend of mine who I met in the speaking track breakout got up to practice her speech. Would you believe it? She had written a devotional about an eagle she saw with her daughter. God showed her a totally different perspective (which goes to show he speaks to all of us in different ways,) but it was still about the bird. Here it is if you’d like to check it out. Her name is Diane Stelter and it’s called, “Fly Like an Eagle.”
The next time was on my way home. There is a church sign I always love to read in Three Rivers, Michigan. It said this, “Accept God’s love and share it with others.” It made me chuckle because we had just talked the whole time at the conference about how much we feel God’s love and want to share it with the world. This was my little reminder. What’s interesting though is when you don’t think you know God’s love for so long, like you think he’s punishing you for what feels like a lifetime, when you finally receive it – you want to hold it for as long as you can. I got into recovery 9 years ago and surrendered my life to Christ 7 years ago and I am still learning it. But at a certain point, you have to share it. It took me oh so long to find God’s love that I didn’t want to lose it. But the thing we all have to remember about God’s love is that it knows NO bounds. His love is never-ending. I’m the one who puts human limits on it because my brain can’t comprehend in any way how big his love is for me and you.
I’m also the one who puts limits on myself. When someone says, “You serve a big God who has big plans for your like,” part of me wants to hide. But now I’m realizing, the more I know who I am in Him, the more He wants to use me – flaws and all. He doesn’t want me in the nest. He wants me practicing how to fly.
As if I didn’t get the message enough, there was one last time he reminded me. I was back home, sitting on my porch during my devotion Monday. Our porch doesn’t have a door and we have screens that are broken so sometimes the flying creatures get in. This time it was a tiny finch, and a beautiful monarch butterfly. Of course my cat, Simba, wanted to get at both them and I promptly put him inside. But then I tried to help both of them. I was able to cup the butterfly in my hands and get it to fly away. But the bird wasn’t having it. Even when I left for a while, it was still sitting inside the porch, comfortable with the fear of trying to get out one more time. I was so cheering for it! So I just let it be and came back a few hours later to see it had finally flown the porch. I want to have the guts to fly, even if my wings are still learning to flap. With God, I know that’s possible. It’ll be uncomfortable but I can deal with that.
God, I pray that you’ll help me get over my fear of flying and trust that you’ve got this. You’ve got the strength where I don’t and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable because I can put my trust in you. I pray you’ll remind me when my fear creeps in, that I am yours, I am chosen, set apart, beloved, and called for your purpose. In Jesus name, Amen.