When was the last time you were forced out of your comfort zone and into a place of perseverance?
God allowed me the privilege of watching my youngest son, walk through this recently as he went to church camp for the very first time this summer!
He has been begging to go for the past two years as we he watched his older brother experience all that camp offered. We had always told him the summer before 4th grade would be his time to begin his journey with attending church camp!
As the date grew closer, his excitement built but so did something else that I honestly wasn't expecting. He began to get nervous, unsure and a bit uncomfortable about being gone for a week. In my mind, this shouldn't be a big deal. He had been away from us many times before but as he explained, this was the first time he was with people other than family and, oh by the way, he didn't have a friend in his cabin with him. I saw this as a way for him to grow but he wasn't so sure about that!
The day to go to camp arrived, we loaded the car and off we went! On the way, excitement was in the air from both boys; although Walker also shared concerns as well! We continued to share that God would take care of him and that this would be an amazing experience! We arrived at the gate and the boys couldn't wait to get to their cabins. We came to Nathaniel's cabin first so we all got out and go him settled. Walker was itching to get going to his cabin, so off we went!
As we entered the cabin, his excitement turned to uncertainty, in the blink of an eye. There were already 10 energetic 9 year old boys in the cabin and it was crazytown. I mean, I was even a bit uncomfortable with all that was going on, so I understood his doubt and nerves. We got his bed made and helped him meet his counselors along with a few of the other boys. He told us he was nervous and we spoke words of encouragement over him and shared our belief in him! We took pictures, hugged and kissed him and we told him we would see him Saturday!
As we got up the hill and about to enter the main building of the camp grounds, Walker came sprinting towards us, eyes full of tears as he told us he couldn't do this....he couldn't stay! As his Mom, my heart broke! I hated to see him so upset and frankly, scared, of walking through this week on his own. But at the same time, I knew he needed to do this! Staying in his comfort zone, with Mom and Dad, wasn't where he was going grow! It wasn't where God would going to work the most in him! This was a road he needed to walk down. As much as it hurt my heart, I knew God was giving us the direction and strength to help calm him down and give him courage to turn around and go back to his cabin. After holding him for a little while, we helped him gain the strength, I walked him back to his counselor.
Now, I would LOVE to tell you that it ended there and he was perfectly happy, content and that his uncertainty was completely erased but it wasn't. He struggled the first 3 days of camp. He wanted to come home. He didn't want to walk through this week. He didn't want to be uncomfortable. But again, God wasn't putting an urgency in my heart to go "rescue" him. He wasn't spending all day every day crying and not participating. He was having fun with the activities, his cabin mates, his counselors and more. Yes, there were moments of sadness but he had many counselors loving on him, encouraging him and also keeping me updated as needed!
By Thursday, a shift inside of Walker happened. He decided to change his mindset! He chose to embrace this experience and have fun! And that is what he did! He walked through the uncomfortable to grow, learn and then have an absolute BLAST!!
Of course, when Saturday arrived, I couldn't wait to see his eyes and wrap my arms around him. He definitely took a big sigh of relief when he saw us and even through his uncertainty on whether or not he wants to do camp again (we are still allowing him to think and pray about this), he persevered!
This picture above is Walker reading the award his counselors gave him! He received the "Perseverance" award! He was proud! We were proud! And I know, God was proud! He learned he can do hard things, even when he doesn't want to! He found a new strength that God has equipped him with! And to me, that lesson was worth it all!
I began this blog by asking you when the last time was you were pushed out of your comfort zone and into a place of perseverance. I think this is such a power question to ponder! I challenge you to do just that!
If we are being honest, as adults, I think we often have childlike tendencies to hide from the uncomfortable situations or experiences because we like our "comfort zone"! I know I have been very guilty of this! And when we are no longer children, our parents aren't able to help push us out of those places of comfort. The decision is ours, alone!
But is it? I am starting to see it differently! In my life, God, my heavenly Father, is always pushing me to grow and get uncomfortable. Where my free will comes in is whether or not I choose to pay attention to His push or if I choose to act as if I don't feel his nudge or his call to experience perseverance by walking outside of my comfort zone!
Honestly, I never want to stop growing! And with that statement being 100% true, I also need be willing to go to the uncomfortable places, so I can experience God's goodness through the growth and perseverance waiting on the other side of my "comfort zone"!
What about you?