I watched my son become more comfortable as he walked through the water towards the small waterfall. Finally, I told him to stop. Recently I took my youngest son to Starved Rock State Park for a day of hiking. The waterfalls are beautiful and the only danger my son was in was getting soaked. Since we didn’t have a change of clothes with us, I told him to stop. Based on how he reacted when he first took off his shoes to dip his toe in the ice cold water, I’d never have guessed that 15 minutes later he would be up to his thighs. I on the other hand, sat comfortably on a log basking in the sunshine thinking through how I could bring up the topic of sex. After all, this was the entire reason for this trip to the woods. On the drive there, I brought up the subject a number of times and my son nearly jumped out of the moving car. My wife had already sent me a couple text messages asking how the talks were going and this only added to my anxiety. I knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone and so I offered up a quiet prayer.
As school lets out I am sure there will be times when you feel completely out of your comfort zone, but that is not necessarily bad. When we find ourselves in difficult situations, we are often forced to rely on God in deeper and more meaningful ways. God gives us a promise in Psalm 50:15 when he says, “call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” The beauty of being pulled out of our comfort zone, is we will be blessed with another story of God’s faithfulness that can then be shared with others. As parents, we want to protect our children from difficulties. However, it is these hard-times that will shape our children’s faith more profoundly than anything else. Like many, I did not have a great childhood. At a young age, there were many difficulties and pain. But it is those scars that God has used to make me the husband and father I am today.
So, I turned to my son and started telling him stories of when I was a kid. I told him that I never had a dad who took me for a day of hiking in the woods. I then told him how my dad struggled to tell me and my brothers about sex after we bombarded our mom with questions during lunch. We laughed together and that opened the door to a great conversation. I shared honestly that we all make mistakes and that God loves us so much that he not only forgives us, but uses those mistakes to help others in the future. I was so glad that I finally stepped out of my comfort zone. When my wife met us at the door and asked how it went, I simply replied, “mission accomplished”.
During the month of June, my church's children’s ministry we will be focusing on the environment of “Out of The Comfort Zone”. This environment means that as children are challenged to step out of their comfort zone from an early age, they experience a dependence on the Holy Spirit, who will equip and strengthen them beyond their natural abilities and desires. So, instead of complaining or running from tough situations, let’s all cry out to God and then be quick to share how he answers our prayers.