Thursday, August 2, 2018

Comfort or Confinement?

One of the beautiful views captured during a 2+ hour motorcycle trip Saturday on a nearby island. The adventure pushed me out of my "comfort zone"!

“I know one reason God brought me to Uganda was to remove me from my comforts and securities and learn to rely more on Him.
“But, after 8 years, it seems I have constructed new comforts and securities upon which I rely. Why?
“Because it seems in all truthfulness, I don’t trust God as much as I say I do. I believe I have to control and manipulate who and what is around me, to get the desired result – or at least the one I want. But, so much (or all or most of it) is out of my control.
“In a sense, I have confined myself and God to what I think we can manage together. I have been afraid to dream big because what if it is beyond what I can handle or manage?”

These were thoughts I journaled back in February. (This was well before I knew God would ask me to leave Uganda in September and take a sabbatical for an undetermined time for rest, reflection, and refocusing.)

At the start of 2018, God convicted me of putting up new “comfort zones” here in Uganda. It’s funny in an ironic way - I know God brought me here 8+ years for that very reason – to physically remove me from what I had leaned on and trusted in more than Him. And, yet here I was repeating the pattern...

We’re all familiar with the term “comfort zone.” It’s a space, physical or otherwise, where we feel comfortable, and outside of it is where comfort is less felt or perceived to be assured.

I used to think “comfort” was exactly how it’s defined: “State of ease or contentment.” But, in recent weeks, God has corrected my thinking. A “comfort zone” in reality can be a “confinement zone” – a place or space keeping you from what God is calling you into. Rather than being a protection, it prohibits us from moving ahead with God.

Every time in the Bible God called a man or a woman to Himself and into His ways and work, He called them out of something or somewhere else. The examples are too many to list here, but here is a sample: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Rahab, Ruth, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the 12 disciples, Paul...

To follow God’s leading, each man and woman had to step away and leave behind family, friends, homes, occupations, wealth, security, popularity, and the list goes on.

“These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
“If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

The journey of faith is a journey out of comforts and confinements into greater dependence on and trust in our God. We leave lesser “securities” for a much greater and unshakable security in our Heavenly Father.

Is God asking you to step out of a “confinement zone"?

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