Friday, July 8, 2011

Comfort Zone

“…But you have kept the best until now!” John 2:10b

Being in a hospital is definitely not my comfort zone but I seem to find myself there quite often. A Muslim friend is afraid to have a breast lump examined or a biopsy done, another has very private procedures done, nose surgery performed, stitches removed, circumcision done on her baby son, in ER, or needing chemo treatments and longing to have a friend sit nearby. My friends are feeling vulnerable and scared. They want their hands held and to hear reassuring words.

It took me until I was 36 years old to get my driver’s license. I was afraid to drive. I have difficulty reading a map. It’s not my comfort zone to transport Muslim friends here or there. On occasion friends take me on rabbit trails to addresses they think they know but don’t. I get stressed trying to figure everything out.

I like a clean house. Seeing cockroaches climbing walls freaks me out. My body doesn’t particularly take to lumpy springy couches or hard floors to sit on. Other homes are like spotlessly clean show homes with ornate furniture, expensive handmade silk carpets and chandeliers – not my comfort zone, either. When the heat is set so high in an apartment in the winter I want to scream for someone to please open the windows. A Saudi couple’s apartment once was so unbearably hot in the winter months that I had to ask for prayer each time I went that I would endure it. Or perhaps the incense burning is billowing smoke and I feel overcome by the strong scent. I’m at the age where I don’t want to eat heavy greasy food or sweets dripping in honey.

Attending some of my friends parties can make me feel uncomfortable. I can’t always wholeheartedly enter into their dancing for hours or find their discussions of jewelry and fashions interesting after the first few minutes. The novelty has worn off. When they start talking about their movies I get that lost feeling. Sometimes I’m the only foreigner among them. The same goes for gathering together at grieving times at the death of a loved one. Grieving is expressed differently in my culture and faith. I’m not always in my comfort zone.

When I hear about their experiences in and firm beliefs about certain folk Islamic practices or visits to shrines I’m out of my comfort zone. I can’t understand their devotion to prescribed memorized prayers and fasting. I’m unable to comprehend their fear of Allah, hell, and judgments. Spiritual darkness is not my comfort zone. I prefer to be in the heavenly realms worshipping and singing with my Christian brothers and sisters. And to be in the thick of a spiritual battle is definitely not my comfort zone!

It seems half my time is spent in zones not suitable for my comfort. But it’s in these zones that wonderful opportunities arise to share about Jesus. It’s behind the Christian comfort zone that I get to see "water turned into wine". That’s really where I want to be.

Dear heavenly Father, I just want to be wherever You want to go. I know I’ll be in for a surprise.