October 7, 2010

Outside of my comfort zone.



Moving to a new country moves you outside of your box. It is a new place, a new language, a new culture, people group, food, government, primary religions, etc. etc. etc. There are so many new experiences that just when I grasp the idea of something new and it becomes familiar, something even newer comes along and tries to teach me a lesson on humility and relying on God. I emphasize the word "tries" because a lot of times I am resistent to obey. I have seen time and time again, the faithfulness of God though when something else tests me, I doubt and worry that it isn't in his hands. I know, I'm dumb. It's like looking in a mirror and knowing every detail of your face but then walking away a moment later to forget what you look like at all. I know that he is faithful, I know that he is good, but head knowledge is completely different from heart knowledge. I tend to become easily jealous and easily discontent with my situation... common thoughts such as "why am I living here?", "God has a very strange path for me..", "why is he doing this to me?", "my friends are in the states having fun without me while I'm here living with NO friends and no life." Can you hear the sin in my thoughts? You should be able to. I'm ripe with it. I love how the Lord uses small things to pull me from these selfish thoughts, today I read a story about a man whose wife just had a child and then 14 days later, died of cancer. Our lives are not so tragic as this and yet, why do I continue to complain? My dad used to quote someone famous, I believe it was Charles Spurgeon, when he said "discontent and not in hell?" really.. it's sad. I complain about my life and yet the Lord has saved me from the grips of hell and has given me eternal life with him. He has been so good to me, to me and to you. I feel like I, as an American, am addicted to the world of comforts. We are spoiled beyond belief and when I stepped into a culture, ah, I believed everything would function better if they did it like America. (While some and a lot of that is true... it's not biblical nor right.) Who are we? What is our goal in life? Is it not to glorify God, our maker, and enjoy him forever? To preach the gospel to the ends of the earth? While I sat for 13 years in an American church without understanding the need for the Gospel right outside of my box. Right outside. I'm not talking about "oh! I have to go have way across the world to preach the Gospel.." I'm talking about sharing the good news with our neighbor, with our colleagues, with our friends, anyone that is willing to listen. You don't have to become a "missionary kid" to reach people for the Lord. This is one thing that you can do anywhere, anytime with ANYONE. Let's reach out to those that need it most. Let's help one another to look around and see the people hurting, crying out for something more. I'm willing Lord. Send me. Send the person reading this blog. I want to show others your love. Help me to be more like you. Let's challenge one another to reach out beyond ourselves, beyond our comfort zones. Don't let fear stop you. Amazing things happen when you step out.

4 comments:

Joanna said...

Hannah I love you.
Thanks for writing this.

Lore said...

Convicting. And oh my word is head knowledge different than heart knowledge. But you know what? I am learning that sometimes we are forced to simply rely on what we know in our head...even when we don't feel it in our hearts. I am learning, painfully, that sometimes God asks us to trust him even when our hearts don't feel it--in essence, trusting the Lord not because we feel the overwhelming peace about the situation (or whatever) but because we know and believe that God IS trustworthy. As Oswald Chambers puts it, "banking on the REALITY of God's presence"...even when you don't FEEL his presence. That probably doesn't make sense, and I am rambling, again, on what should be a short comment. Love you!

Lee and Jeannette said...

Hannah, its always so amazing to see and hear what God is teaching you through the challenges of living here in Italy. I know you have made incredible sacrifices and it's SO hard to hear about all the fun and comfort and entertainment and activities that all your friends are doing back in the states and it's hard to find even ONE Christian friend here. But God knows and He cares and even though with some friends, it's out of sight, out of mind, you ARE loved and your friends and family ARE praying for you and you WILL see beauty from ashes because:

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy over your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you've done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
Ive been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

(Crystal Lewis)

Love you SO much, Dad

Lee and Jeannette said...

My sweet Hannah.... tears are streaming down my face after reading your post... whose child are you really? Well, when you sin, I see me....but when you are godly, I am not sure where you have come from. Thank you for writing this.. and sharing your heart. You are a huge example to me...and yes, we will be victors in Christ who we can do all things through. I love you so much and am so proud of you... always. love mom