Comfort Zones

21930423 - asian lanterns in lantern festival

The other day, the girls and I were reading a Lottie Moon biography together. We’ve been in this particular book for a while now, taking it slow through the story of her life and really absorbing it all, from her childhood in Virginia to the Civil War then to China where she served so faithfully as a missionary. We were reading about a time she’d gone to one of the villages where she’d been given a place to stay for the night, and I read the details about her bed, which was basically a big pile of dirt with no covers or anything. A real “roughing it” situation for a woman in the 1800s most definitely, but the best part of that particular story was how Lottie woke up from those less than stellar accommodations the next morning to find a huge crowd of people surrounding that bedroom. Why were they there? To hear more words about Jesus from the “heavenly book” Lottie had with her. She shared all day long until her voice was too hoarse to continue, not even beginning to quench the hunger for God that was present in that completely unreached corner of China.

“Wow,” I said to Ana, who had been leaning on my shoulder and listening. “Doesn’t that make you want to be a missionary to China? Hearing about how much those people wanted to know about Jesus?”

Ana lifted her head up, looked at me, and shrugged. “I don’t know. That bed didn’t sound very comfortable.”

I’ve got to tell you, my heart broke just a little at this. I know she’s eleven and that she gave a typical kid response. No, I don’t want to go and tell them about Jesus because I’m going to have to sleep on the dirt. That’s a kid’s response, and I get that. But I was sad to hear it because I didn’t think we were teaching her to value comfort over eternity. It’s not our consumeristic, materialistic culture that’s going to bear the blame for making my kids creatures of comfort – that falls on me and how I lead by example. So, as she shared this with me in complete honesty, I had to ask myself some tough questions. I’m still asking myself these tough questions…

Do I value comfort over the work of the Gospel? Would I forfeit being used by God if it meant being put out? Could I be teaching my children to cling to the wrong things simply through my lacking faith?

I think the hard answer is yes. I like to tell myself that we give up a lot to serve God. We started our family in Japan, obedient to His call to sell everything we had and go, and we’ve lived in three different states since then, picking up and going when He tells us to. But is the attitude of my heart in doing these things one of joy and celebration because I get to follow Christ, or am I always hesitant and mournful about it at first? If He was calling us to harder things, to really be out of our comfort zone in extreme ways… well, what would my response be?

I’m asking myself these questions, and I’m affirming to myself that I want my answers to be different. I want to live in such a way that my children can see that Jesus is worth everything — from moving across the country, to sleeping on dirt floors, to going anywhere He sends us, even to dying for His glory if that’s what He calls us to. I know He’s worth that. I know fulfilling His call to make disciples of all nations is worth that.

Now to get out of our comfort zones and really live it…

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