This post will respond to a prompt by The Daily Post; I’ve often considered blogging in answer to a prompt, but I’ve always ended up not having time or not being sure what to write. I don’t know how often I’ll do these posts, but they often get me thinking about different aspects of my life.
When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?
I’m not entirely sure what the last risk I took was, but currently I find several things challenging, where I’m taking myself out of the comfort zones that I’ve constructed around my life.
Initially, after my brother died, I realsied that life was too short for me to keep living the way I was, in circumstances that made me unhappy and I changed them. My whole life changed drastically within the space of 4 months, and I had so much faith in God that I didn’t stop to worry. I just let everything happen and fall in place. I knew God would be there for me and that I’d be okay so long as I put my faith in him.
Although my faith in God hasn’t wavered; I still trust in him and, logically, I know that with him and through him everything will work out but I’ve been struggling putting this into practice. I haven’t wanted to step out of the new comfort zones I created; and if something occurs that I’m not used to, that isn’t part of the life I’ve gotten comfortable with, then I begin to stress. Sometimes, this worry isn’t huge and it doesn’t concern me, but other times it just grows bigger and bigger. I will get headaches and feel sick, or I just get really emotional and cry. I hate it when that happens. It’s like I’m showing how vulnerable I am, and I feel weak.
I’ve been brought up in an Anglican church, and St. Mike’s (where I go in Aberystwyth) is also Anglican. Despite going to the Methodist Church briefly at the start of my second year, the Anglican church is the background to my Christian faith. I like it. Some people don’t understand why we have liturgy and they dislike the structure that the services have, but I find it useful. I like structure. I know what things are happening and when. Although St. Mike’s sometimes changes things, there is still liturgy and this reminds me of my home church, of a comfort zone.
Over the summer, however, I was pushed out of my comfort zone on a few occasions. One in particular was when St. Mike’s did a student mission in Hubberston (near Milford Haven, in SW Wales). Although the majority of the churches involved were Anglican, there was one which was a community church. There were evening talks every day, held in a large tent, but each night a different church would lead it. Some I felt fine with. Several had songs I knew, and the environment was one I felt comfortable in. However, on the evening that the community church led it, I ended up breaking down and crying. I’d managed to get stressed over the songs, the style of worship. I’m not one of those people that claps to worship songs, or raises their hands in the air. I pretty much stand still when worshipping God. It’s just how I am, and I’m okay with that. I don’t mind when people clap or wave their hands, even if I do’t understand it myself – surely their arms ache after a while? On this evening though, the worship was so much more charismatic and it overwhelmed me. I felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t an environment I enjoyed. I know that it shouldn’t have mattered, that worshipping is between me and God. But when the majority of people are waving their arms or clapping, it just stressed me out.
Despite this occasion, I still went to the other evening talks – that was a risk. Although there were somethings I felt uncomfortable about, that I wasn’t used to, I was putting my trust in God. I still frequently get stressed – whether about university work, or minor things like making decisions – but I’m learning to trust in God, and have faith that everything I am going through will just lead to something greater. God is my tower of strength and refuge; and all things are possible with God. I just need to remember that.
I have no idea how relevant this is to the actual prompt. Mission Week definitely made me push the boundaries and step outside my comfort zone, so I’ll stick with this post 🙂