Monday, October 31, 2011

The Journey Beyond My Comfort Zone

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Photo by Margot Cioccio

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, 
whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing 
of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work 
so that you may be mature and complete, 
not lacking anything.

My stomach feels queezy, I feel over whelmed and afraid. I'm sure I will be ok but I've realized that I have begun a journey beyond my comfort zone. The first step of that journey was to talk to the manager of the farmers market about a space. Which I did. The next step was to decide to be there this past Thursday thru Saturday. For the record I made my booth fee and a tiny little bit beyond. Pretty much a wash. However I made some good contacts. There is a shop owner who want to either buy some of my product to re-sell or have it in his shop on commission. I believe I am to not give up but to keep being there and trust the Lord even though my sales were not remarkable. Its a step of faith. In addition to that my "stupid" phone died and I needed to up grade to a new "smart" phone. So now I have a really cool I-phone which allows me to be able to swipe credit cards from my customers. I know you techy folks are saying whoo hoo for you Margot. For me it is a little on the stressful side. It reminds me of the first couple weeks with my new computer - which I love now. I was terribly stressed out by it at first and I feel much this same with this new phone. I'm sure I will love it in time. Right now I am dealing with the learning curve. Uggh. In addition to those changes the Lord told me earlier this year that he would open up opportunities for me to travel. This week I am going to a conference and representing my church. It is a big confrence that one had to be invited to be part of - it will be all about church revitilization. I'm sure it will mean lots and lots of great info to process and figure out how to make useful. I have a bunch of homework I need to do before I leave on Friday at 5 am. I'm multi tasking and watching some of that now. 

Can I tell you that in my comfort zone I am very brave and may appear that I have it pretty together. The journey beyond it is terribly frightening and I am making myself write this now - while I am feeling freaked out so you know that I am just like you. I remind myself that courage is not the absence of fear but rather pressing through to do the things that God has called you to do. I will remind myself to trust the Lord. I will remind myself of the "whys" for going through coaching training, and for taking these other steps of faith. I will remind myself of the journaling exercise I gave my coaching allies this past week.

In it there is this dog on a leash and he is all mouthy to the big scarry cat. He pretty much says if I was off this leash I would chew you up and spit you out. Oh ...but then the leash snaps and he can suddenly do the things he has been barking about. He doesn't, he is terrified and he turns around and ties himself back to the leash and starts barking bravely again. Ok... so that is kicking my butt, because I don't want to be like that dog back on the leash. I can say I want to do ministry, mosaics and coaching and my leash has snapped and I am terrified just like that dog. I am however choosing to press through my fear into the unknown land beyond my comfort zone.  I know faith becomes real when you actually have to use it and trust God to lead you through the uncertain and the unknown.  I know without faith we can't please God. I want to please Him. I want to become the person He is calling me to be. I want to become someone who inspires others, who is invited to speak and minister. I want to be able to lead my coaching client through to reach their big dreams. I know you can't lead others where you have not gone yourself. I know that these things I am facing are God's challenges for me. They may not seem like much to you. The things that have me freaked out are probably no big deal to you. You have your own things beyond your comfort zone and I hope that God will use post to challenge you to begin that journey beyond your comfort zone into the new adventure that God has for you. I know as I keep going these things that seem so frightening and overwhelming to me will become my new comfort zone and I will in time have to press on beyond those boundaries.

Even writing this is helping me - because I had to identify the fear and face it. Now I just need to breathe and be thankful that God has allowed me to feel and experience this so I can write about it. I have told the Lord in the past that I want my walk to be like the one described in the book of acts. They were seeing the wonder of God at every turn. It was a big adventure, and they got to see God heal, save and set free people. I can bark about wanting such a life until the leash snaps and I have to trust God or tie myself back up and keep barking. I know in my heart the only real choice is to trust God because He will give me the adventure of faith that indeed stirs my heart.

I have come to the end of writing this and the feelings of overwhelm and panic have subsided. I know I will be able to sleep. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be transparant before you, I hope I have left some footsteps of faith that you may follow as you encounter your own fears at the edge of your comfort zone.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for helping me to identify and face the overwhelm and fear I was feeling. Thank you for helping me to remember that your adventures are full of excitement and challenges. I choose to live a life of faith with you step by step day by day. Thank you for the adventure. Thank you for helping me to trust you inspite of the fear I was feeling. Thank you for being on the other side of it to hold me in your arms. Lord I choose to trust you.

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