Comfort Zone

picnic

And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”- Matthew 14:28-29 (ESV)

What does your comfort zone look like?

Some design their zones with a red carpet, blazing lime lights, and velvet ropes fastened on platinum pillars. Some construct theirs with brick walls, a steel roof, and a narrow doorway. Others complete their zones with a rose petal carpet, diaphanous curtains, and a smoky pink haze.

Mine is a sphere that’s coated in two-way mirrored glass. People can look in the sphere and see themselves but not what’s inside.  The interior of the sphere, however, is soft carpet where I sit on a huge grape colored cushion. And beside the cushion is a remote where I can decide if I want to weaken the reflective coating to reveal what’s inside.

We like familiarity. Things we know feel safe and cozy and comfortable.  But the Lord triggers our growth by moving us away from the known.

A few years ago, my sphere was divinely shattered when I received an e-mail. I reread it, blinked, and read it again.  I had just been invited to a company luncheon with a handful of other co-workers. It was a free meal with a group of friendly people.

And I was scared of going.

As the dictionary definition of an introvert, the idea of making small talk with colleagues, some of whom I see maybe once a month, made me queasy. What if I embarrass myself? What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t like me?

But since there were no loopholes I could escape through, I forced myself to accept the invitation. And it turned out to be a golden decision. While at the luncheon, I clicked with a co-worker, Jenole. In the days following, we had lively conversations that were encouraging and at times, very challenging. She’d periodically push me to try new things that garnered great surprising results, successes that wouldn’t have happened had I played it comfortable.

God used that simple luncheon to show me how my comfort zone, while feeling wonderful to me, was stifling my faith. How can we see how big our Father truly is if we only want Him to stay inside of our boundary lines?

Taking that first step outside of your life lane is scary. The ground quivers like jelly beneath you.  For me, it was conversation with new people. Maybe for you, it’s leaving your job to start a new career. Or accepting your friend’s offer to set you up on a blind date. Or pursuing your degree in a field you’ve always been interested in. But if you remember that God is ordering every one of your footsteps, including those that are directing you away from the familiar, the jelly will turn to solid rock.

June Challenge: Try New Things!

Pat Hike

Over Memorial Weekend, my husband and I did something we had never done before: we went camping in a tent (the above action shot is to prove I am not making this up).  We went with a group of friends (my former church small group) and for the most part, it was fun.  Sitting around a campfire, roasting smores, fellowshipping – most of it was all that camping should be.  But the actual tent part?  It was muddy, there were bugs, and neither of us got much sleep.

Trying new things this month means not just doing something you haven’t done before, but stepping outside of your comfort zone.  By its very nature, it’s going to be uncomfortable at times – sometimes literally!  I mean, I am STILL scratching at bug bites that I can’t scratch in polite company!

But when you open yourself to new experiences, you will discover new things about yourself, others, and the world that you just never would have had the opportunity to see before!

As I mentioned yesterday, my new favorite obsession is the show First Dates.  For all of those people, going on a nationally televised show to be set up on a blind date was a HUGE risk.  I don’t think I would have done it!  Think of the potential risks – that the date would be awful, that they would be embarrassed, and that the whole thing would be watched and judged by millions across America!

But for some of them, that first date turned into a second date, and then a third.  Is it the most likely way to meet your soulmate?  Perhaps not.  But they put themselves out there, took a chance, and for those people, they met someone.  Even some of the ones for who it didn’t work out still talked about the value that they saw in doing it.

For myself, starting online dating was a big new thing that I tried.  Granted, I knew it could work because my roommate had met her boyfriend (now husband) the year before.  It was uncomfortable – you have to make a profile and talk about yourself, answer cheezy questions, and face the reality that real people would be scanning through your profile and making a judgment.  But I took the risk.  It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I met my husband.

I am not saying that you have to start online dating this month!  But so often we are caught in our own little ruts, never branching outside, never meeting anyone new.  How are you going to meet anyone that way?  And what’s more, what kind of interest do you hold as a person if you are never doing anything new?

As this month’s challenge verses will show, God expects us to do new things.  So use this month’s encouragement to step outside your comfort zone and try something new!

Boundaries Vs. Intimacy Finish!

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My new favorite obsession is the show First Dates.  If you haven’t watched this yet and you are a single, dating person, you are totally missing out.  This show, portraying a series of blind dates, is a tutorial in human behavior and why dates work—and don’t work.

In the latest episode, a beautiful Nashville country singer shared in the pre-date interview that she waited for sex until her first marriage.  Now divorced, she stated that she wanted to wait again.  She is set up on a blind date with a slightly awkward, nerdy guy who tells her that he has never been kissed.  Never.  Not once.  The show cut to a commercial and I thought, well, that’s it.  She’s not going to find that attractive.  It’s one thing to wait for sex, it’s another to be an adult man who has never kissed anyone.

But when the show returned from commercial, the singer’s reaction was much different than I expected.  “That’s so endearing,” she said.  She later agreed to a second date and before the credits, it was revealed that they are dating.

In the series this month, we talked about boundaries – generally, boundaries on physical intimacy.  Such boundaries – even just the concept of them – are completely countercultural to today’s hookup society.  They make us seem like prudes, out of touch, and backwards.  Worse – like adult virgins, which is exactly what we are.

So we expect rejection.  I don’t want to be seen as a weirdo.  We put up walls, pretend falsehoods, refuse to show our true selves.  I would talk about relationships and sex with friends like I was just the same as them.  I can think of only two guys that I even brought up the topic of not having sex before marriage – one of them I married.

But in doing so, we shame and devalue the boundary in our own eyes.  Equally important, we lose the opportunity to be a witness that we might otherwise have had.  There are many ways to be a light to the world – one of them is simply to be brave enough to show our true selves to others.  

I can’t promise that it won’t come without a cost.  There may be lost dates, strange looks, and awkward conversations.

But that’s a small price to pay.  When you find the one – the right one – he or she will not judge you or mock you for the boundary.  Instead, he or she will value you and respect you all the more, hopefully because he or she shares the same boundary.  It will be one more signpost on the path to true love.

Never Been Kissed (Not Drew Barrymore’s Movie)

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You have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince charming.

I am romantic at heart! It’s easy to be swept away to follow the passions and desires of my heart to have that fairy tale ending.  But I have a confession to make: I’ve never kissed (or been kissed by a guy). So how could I possibly find my prince charming?

Don’t get me wrong, physical touch is one of my love languages. Being affectionate is important to show affirmation to people around you or even the person that you are interested in pursuing something further, but it is also important not to send the wrong message.

To be honest, I do not intend to kiss any frogs. My prayer is that the person whom I hope to share my first kiss will be with my future husband. While many may not share the same sentiment, boundaries and intimacy are a personal choice reflective of an individual’s values.

Am I implying that those whom had given their first kiss (and more) are people who do not hold commendable values? Of course not! Instead, I hope to share with you my top 3 reasons why I made the decision to wait.

I know how it would affect me

In my prior article, I mentioned the importance of knowing who you are and your self-worth; and because I know that I am a passionate person, I do not wish to awaken love until the time is right (Song of Solomon 8:4). I can hear you telling me that it’s just ‘a kiss’ and nothing further, why am I making a big deal out of it? May I humbly submit to you, that is because for some people a kiss could very easily lead to something more.

I want to honor Jesus (my Saviour and my Lord)

It is a personal conviction in line with my faith journey. It is not a matter of religiosity but a personal decision as a follower of Christ devoid of the complications of being an emotional wreck after a break up which helps me grow into spiritual maturity.

I want to honor my future spouse

Have you ever made or prepared a gift that means so much to you and kept it until the appointed time or occasion to give to the intended person? That is something that I feel led to do. I prayerfully hope to honor my future spouse with something that represents the most important part of who I am.

Nevertheless, to some of you girls out there who are braver than I, my convictions are not intended to make you feel bad or any lesser (just in case you think that those are ‘such high standards’). Believe me, the struggle is real. I too share the same struggles as anyone else in this area.

Ultimately, however, the bride of Christ (i.e. the Church, which we as Christians belong to) is to be presented pure and holy before Him (2 Corinthians 11:2). Let us then comprehend the big picture and hold ourselves to that standard instead.  It is worth the wait.

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timmie-liew  Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

Un

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I contracted the un disease when I was about 8 years old.

Accompanied by her mother, my best friend Keisha and I went to see a movie on a cold January afternoon. The movie was, in my very urbane and elementary school aged opinion, totally stupid and I remember not really wanting to see it. But it was Keisha’s birthday. So what the birthday girl wants, the best friend does to make her happy.

Afterwards, while leaving the movie, someone approached Keisha’s mother, gushing over how gorgeous Keisha was.

I could have easily been her daughter, too. But the praise didn’t go to me. It went to her.

The encounter was brief but I remember watching them interact while I thought to myself, “Why didn’t he say I was pretty, too?” The slight made me crawl within myself and feel less.

That was the day that I met un and carried it home in my lap. Un buried itself in my skin and spread like a virus.

Unpretty.

Unimportant.

Unworthy.

Every trait I had, every compliment I heard was immediately contaminated. But one (of many things) that I love about Jesus is He is unafraid of the diseased. He heals us with the truth.

What others see as nonexistent, He knows and celebrates it as wonderful. What man thinks is meaningless, He knows and declares it as powerful. And who the world sees as worthless, He knows and deems priceless.

You are unbeautiful. You are unimportant. You are unworthy. God handpicks those of us infected with un and takes it away.

“My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important.”

-1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (CEV)

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

You are Worth Being Single

Death_to_stock_photography_Vibrant (3 of 10

Everyone I know on earth: “So.  How’s it going?  Are you dating anyone?”

Still single me: Sigh….”No, I’m not dating anyone at the moment.  Yes, I’m still single.  No, there are not prospects in the foreseeable future or the requisite 15 mile radius.  And, yes, I’m fine.”

Them: -_-

Me: “No, really.  I’m happy and content on most days with being single.  Why?  Do you know someone?”

Them: “Oh, goodness no.  You don’t want to date any of my friends!  They’re so (fill in the blank with some incredibly strange or terrible character flaw)!”

Me thinking inwardly to myself: Why do you have friends like that?

Does this conversation sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m constantly defending my singleness on a daily basis.

And often when we look at this time in our lives, especially when you’re over 30 like me, people tend to lean more towards the negative side of the spectrum.  Towards the absence of something.  As if the lack of a spouse is a curse that needs to be reversed before the clock strikes 24 years of age.  Or worse, that God is withholding the blessing of marriage from us because of some unconfessed sin or the assumption our puny faith needs some pumping up.

Unfortunately, we take that stance as well.  That we’re missing something.  Incomplete.  Not yet worthy of the love and affection of another human.  Particularly a human who is male with rippling muscles, always smells like Christmas and ambition, opens doors, lays his jacket down over puddles for us to walk over, and picks up the tab on first dates without that awkward moment after the check arrives.

I’m not asking too much, am I?

Either way, while everyone else is viewing our situation as the glass being half empty, there’s always an alternative.  And from what I’ve experienced, seen, and heard, there are much worse things than being single.

Yes, there are worse things than the solo Netflix and Chill.

You could be dating that guy you met the other day who was hiding behind a smile and false chivalry.  Only to find out 3 months later that he  was actually a jerk who has no intention of ‘waiting’ or holding you in any higher esteem than Dana, Jessica, Tasha, Lauren, or any other breathing female.

You could have wasted 6 months of your life in a ‘text-lationship’ with that guy who sort of likes you but never really made a move to ask you out on a date.  Meanwhile, you’re holding strategy sessions with your friends to decipher his texts of “hi” or “what are u doing” with a winky face to determine what they really mean.  Because everyone knows that emoji was a sign of his undying love for you that he’s just too scared to reveal directly.

You could be with that nice guy who has a check mark next to most things on your list for years.  While inwardly feeling that sinking, gnawing reality of settling because you’re tired of waiting for God’s best.

But, at this moment in your life, you are worth being single.  You are worth resisting the temptation to fall into situation-ships as a result of your fleeting feelings of boredom and loneliness.  And you are worth being hidden by a God who knows your value.  And trust that He intimately knows the man who will see that value without being told or convinced.

So don’t lose hope because there are no prospects in the requisite 15 mile radius. You’re worth the waiting you have to endure to enjoy God’s perfect love and will for your life.  It may be painful in the interim, but the process of growing closer to Him and getting closer to what He has for you is unrivaled in possibility.

And not just the possibility of marriage and being found by someone to share your life with.  But the possibility that He is saving you from the extreme heartache and time wasted trying to do life on your own.

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.” Psalm 32:7

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8

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roz  Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.