Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life Begins When You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I had to do something today that strikes fear in my heart every single time I have do it.  My forehead sweats (eewwwww), my mouth gets dry, my hands shake, I feel a little clammy and feel like I might just pass out.  I stutter.  I stammer.  I twitch.  I itch.  I feel like running away, hiding, going on a very long vacation to a place where no one will ever find me...and CERTAINLY to a place where no one would ever think of asking me to do IT.  I'd spend my days hanging out on the beach, the waves crashing on the white sand, the nannies keeping the boys busy while I sip on a nice, cold glass of iced tea, toes in the water, jump in for a swim and... oh... wow... that was nice.  OK... so, if I have to come back to reality, I'm going to tell you that not only did I itch, twitch and all that stuff, but I had to eat before hand (not an easy task for many reasons, not the least of which being that I'm a bit of a food snob and if I don't know what is in something, I'm not going to eat it... I have a dairy allergy and an egg allergy and eating a bite of the wrong thing is just not worth the hours-long migraine that will happen if I have the dairy and it isn't worth the hives and upset tummy if I get the eggs...)  Anyhow... any guesses on what I had to do today that has my feathers so ruffled?  Driving in Chicago rush hour traffic?  No - I'm a pro at that.  Specialist appointments for all three boys at the same time?  Please... I do that all the time.  Any REAL guesses?  Did you guess Public Speaking?
   The mention of the words alone - 10 hours after I finished speaking - is still choking me up.  How did this happen?  I'm somewhat intelligent, I'm kind of funny-ish, I'm articulate and I TOTALLY have God on my team... and I'm terrified of speaking in public.  I recited Bible verses when I drive to these talks.  I tell myself that I'm doing a good thing for advocacy for children with special needs and educating people about service dogs... and then I panic.  And self sabotage.  I don't mean to do it... but (Every time, without fail...) I get that dry mouth and I drink.  Anything I can get my hands on... I drink it fast.  Today's intake was 2 glasses of iced tea (my constant companion), another 2 glasses of water and a big gulp of Jonah's Pepsi - which I thought was my iced tea but surprised me in a big way when I got bubbles.  So, I should learn the lesson that when I'm nervous to begin with, drinking copious amounts of fluids is just not a good idea.  Because, invariably, the inevitable occurs right before I'm supposed to speak. UGH. 
   Anyhow, today I had Jonah (one of my 10 year old twins) and Lyla (his seizure alert/response dog) with me.  We didn't know the room, the layout of the building and Jonah saw to it that we had *just* enough time to get to where we were going, so we couldn't scope out the lay of the land.  In general, I try to do this so that when we "show off"  Lyla's skill at "Go Get Help, Get Mom",  I know where I am going to hide and Lyla knows where the doors lead... it just helps things go more smoothly.  So we didn't have the opportunity to check the place out and the time came for us to speak.  I did my usual talk and then it was time for Lyla to show off.  She feeds off of energy and she knew the room was full of people who were calling her "Pretty" and "Beautiful", she knows they're talking about her and she likes it.  She sits a little taller, puffs out her chest a little more, in what Jonah calls her "Noble Stance".  So we get out treats and get ready to show off her skill.  It goes off without a hitch, she couldn't have done a more perfect job, completely focused on finding me because her boy told her that he needed me.  The strong bond and love between them is breath - taking and mind-boggling.  She put aside her pride and her intense desire to be completely and utterly adored and set out to perform the task at hand.  She came to me, leash in her mouth... ready for me to take it from her and lead me back to her boy... he needs me, she tells me with a grunt and an urgency in her movements.  We rewarded Lyla for being such a good girl and took questions from the audience and then, we were done. 20 minutes that seemed to go on forever.  Looking back, and looking ahead, I don't know what I could have done differently or what  I  can do differently next time, but the one thing I do know is that God is standing with me.  I know that I'm supposed to be doing this.  I don't know why.  I don't know why God would use someone who truly despises speaking in front of people to speak in front of people... but I do know that it is not mine to question and that these are opportunities to bless and be blessed.  Jonah and Lyla were amazing, as always and I know that I can talk about them for a very long time, it comes naturally.  But adding the other dimension, today that was a crowd of about 60 people, is enough to throw me completely off kilter.  My silent prayers were once again answered, I stepped completely out of my comfort zone in order to do what needed to be done.
    When I am stressed or nervous, I have one book I reach for.  It isn't the Bible.  When I'm fearful, I can't interpret the Bible, it might as well be written in Swahili.  But I reach for a book called Letters From God For Women.  It gives me the exact Bible verses I need at a time that is stressful and uncertain.  These verses are then a good starting point for me to do further study when my mind is more open and ready to take in The Word.  This morning, I randomly opened the book, knowing that I would receive exactly what I needed, and, indeed, I did.

    My Own,

  The concerns of daily life often trouble your heart. You think that you are alone in your worries and must handle everything by yourself.  I long for you to know that I walk beside you through every dark valley and with every halting step you take as you struggle to keep going.  I long for you to know that when you stumble or feel weary, I am there.

  I will never abandon you, dear one!  I am with you, waiting for you to  let Me help you through every
troubling moment of every circumstance in your life.  Lean on Me, My daughter, and know that My promise to be with you will last through all eternity.

  With deepest love,
The One Who Will Never Forsake You

  This letter is wonderful in and of itself and was certainly what I needed this morning.  My favorite part of this book is the Bible verses that are chosen to go along with each letter.  The following are the verses that go with the above letter and are just wonderful reminders that God is, indeed, with me even when I'm anxious and not listening for His voice.  Deuteronomy32:4, Psalm 9:10,  Isaiah 42:16, Isaiah 54:10, Hosea 2:19-20.

  Once again, I find that life begins when we step outside of our comfort zone.  I can't grow as a person if I continue to hold myself back and am fearful of doing what it is that I am supposed to be doing.   I always have a rambling journal entry or blog post on the day that I have to make a presentation... I hope that it is not too confusing, maybe providing a little insight into the insanity.  I pray that each of you is able to take a step outside of your comfort zone.  By it's very definition, it is uncomfortable, it hurts a little, I feel slightly roughed- up and a little bruised, but I know that I did the right thing for the right reasons and I pray that maybe next time, getting out of my comfort zone might be a little easier.  I'm excited to think that God knows what His plans are for me... I have to keep following and obeying, keep on being willing to extend my comfort zone a little further...step an extra few paces outside of the box.  God has been faithful to me and my intentions are to keep being faithful to Him.  My momentary discomfort is a small thing in exchange for living the life He wants me to be living.

1 comment:

  1. God often used those who were "slow of speech" to do His work. Good job to be so willing.