Monday, May 23, 2016

OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE

Life keeps ticking by, and while I am thrilled to say that most areas of our life have a lot of positive movement and growth, there are hard things that also happen.  I'm not at liberty to talk about some of the hard things, because it isn't always (or usually) appropriate to share things that happen with other people.  I try really hard to keep this blog transparently about our story, but the places where our story brushes up against other people often have to be kept to ourselves.

Which is perfectly okay, but I must say, I usually learn the most in the hard places.  Recently, I feel as if I keep getting hit over the head with the same lesson:  true humility does not come naturally.  I want life on my terms, and I want to be comfortable.  While it is easy for me to say that I want to serve and love others, at the end of the day, I find that I value my own comfort and ideas over other people.

To combat this latent and sometimes outright attitude, I've been reading Philippians 2 over and over again most mornings, hoping and praying that the words would sink through my spirit.

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It's so easy to look at a situation and feel "right" and "misunderstood" and "offended."  And even if any of those words ring true, it does not change what God is asking of me.  He asks me to lower myself and imitate Christ's humility which included going to death on the cross, even though he had all the power of heaven and earth and perfection on his side.  But in my flesh, I want someone to come to me and for myself not to  have to do anything differently.  At the beginning of the year, one of the phrases that I wanted to follow in 2016 was "Live Lower."  Reading Philippians 2 and being reminded of what real love and humility looks like is the only hope I have of being able to actually live lower and essentially love better.

Another situation where this is playing out in our lives is in trying to really understand race in the context of our own city.  Yesterday, we took our family to a predominately African American church near our restaurant.  We have relationships there because of CFA and because our church has partnered with them, and we knew it would be a good opportunity to start to engage more people of color in the life of our family.

Yet, as we got ready for church yesterday morning - I've got to be honest here - we were nervous.  We knew we would have some of the only white faces there, and we felt uncomfortable thinking about how different things might feel from what we are used to.

And right then, it hit me: I'm perfectly happy for my own environment to diversify, but it is much harder to go into someone else's environment entirely.  I've almost never been a minority in my own city or country, but I need that experience.  We explained to the girls that William and Violet are often in the race minority in our lives and that we want to create opportunities for them to be in the majority.  We have so much to learn, and instead of just bringing people into our world, we realized that we need to broaden our world so we can better understand the African American culture in Little Rock.

Attending church there was a great experience, and we were graciously welcomed.  We are hoping to be able to attend there every so often and build some relationships and learn more.  But, it is going outside of our comfort zone, and I hope and pray that God give us the grace to do it well.  Sometimes things like this sound good in theory, but the actual reality of them is much harder.

I don't have a nifty little bow to wrap up this blog post, but I do know that I am a continual work in progress and that I often get it wrong.  I want more of Christ and less of me, and I have a long way to go.

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