Traveling across the United States by myself has definitely proven to be quite interesting. When you’re stretched out of your comfort zone you start to discover a whole heap about yourself. When I’ve been exploring places I’ve never been, (often on my own) and people don’t know me from Adam, I’ve began to seriously think about my identity and for what (or rather, Who) I want to be known. And here’s what I’ve discovered…
I don’t want to be limited in the extravagant life God has called me to because my faith is too small. I don’t want to be a woman who missed out on a glorious, breathtaking view because the trail leading up to the mountain was more strenuous than I preferred. So I’ve had to ask God: Where am I settling? What roads have I been traveling down where my faith has been set to cruise control? What are the places in my life where my comfort has become my crutch?
My California travel buddy, Rosemarie, flew down last week from San Jose to Palm Springs in order to meet me at her parent’s house in the desert. We had these incredible plans to stay two nights, and then take off on our Pacific Coast Highway adventure 🙂 This was a comfortable plan, my friends. But the Lord had a bit of sanctification tucked up His sleeve for yours truly. Rosemarie’s dad ended up being hospitalized, (& is presently on the mend, praise the Lord!) so we ended up taking some extra time there so she could help take care of him. After being in Palm Springs for over a week, we decided it would work best for me to go ahead to L.A. alone, and she would connect with me several days later at her sister’s house. What followed were these two VERY exciting days of me being stretched out of my comfort zone. (People, L.A. traffic is CRAY.)
On Monday, I had this gem of an opportunity to go exploring in Santa Barbara by myself. For a brief moment, I debated on whether or not I should go due to the whackadoo weather SoCal has recently been experiencing. (Yeah, speaking of which, the day prior, I took a little day trip to see all those fabulous Southern Cal beaches like Newport, Laguna, Huntington, etc, and by the time I got there, people were leaving in HOARDS.)
So that just figures. lol ANYWAY (You’ll get used to my bunny trails.) (hopefully.) So I’m debating, “Should I go to Santa Barbara by myself? What if it’s raining, and I can’t even be on the beach? What if mean men steal my purse?! What if I get lost???” And that’s about the time when I became somewhat annoyed with myself and said out loud “So what if I DO get lost? Ugh! I’m GOING!”
What entailed was one of the most fabulous days I’ve had in quite some time. It was astounding to figure out how many times I typically make decisions based out of fear or uncertainty. I think this really plays a part when you’re super duper single and you don’t have the company of a partner in crime to look stupid with you if you happen to make a wrong turn. (and by “you”… I mean me.) So in order to stay comfy, I have often taken the safe, smooth route. Yeah. I definitely don’t like that about myself. So I asked the Lord to help me grow a bit out of that on this little solo venture, and He sure followed through on my little prayer request.
Up front, I had this strange longing to visit the botanical gardens, but felt weird going by myself. It was intense though because I suddenly had this overwhelming desire to break out of my tidy, soft, comfortable mold. I wanted to step out and live more brave and free than I ever have before. And pal, that is exactly what I did.
I stepped up to that ticket counter with my floppy beach hat, my sunglasses, and my typical goofy grin and requested “One ticket, please, ma’am”. The woman behind the counter, Mary was her name, took a second look at me and just stopped for a moment. I crack up at the way the Lord reveals His heart to us because this precious woman then said to me, “Sweetheart, I just have to tell you how wonderful I think it is when people come here by themselves. I think it’s such a brave thing. Not because it’s hard, but because it’s just rare to see people who are willing to see and experience the gardens alone.” I went on to tell her that there had been a slight debate in my mind on whether or not I should make the trek solo, but the thought of adventure had prevailed. She then said “Oh, I’m just so proud of you. You go enjoy this beautiful place!” And that was the cherry on top. I had a blast, y’all. Isn’t the Lord just so good?
His presence was just so sweet to me. I was reminded that special day that God never asks you to do something, to take a step forward in your faith, without knowing that the result of your obedience will draw you deeper into His presence. That is a pretty hefty promise. He doesn’t ask us to do hard things because He is some kind of intense, mean drill sergeant. He bids us “Come Higher” because He knows what we’d be missing if we stayed in our cushy little boxes.
Everyone’s “comfortable” looks different. Maybe it’s not a big deal for you to go trekking through the state of California on your own, exploring exciting places you’ve never been. Maybe your comfortable looks like you staying in a bad relationship because you’re afraid to be alone. Perhaps it’s that TV show you know is slowly distancing you from the Lord. Maybe your comfortable looks like you clinging to your high paying job when God is asking you to go backpacking around the world on a missions trip for eleven months. (My buddy Jami is doing this in a few weeks, and she’s my hero! But more about her awesomeness later.) Talk about brave. That is some great big faith, right there.
So what is “comfortable” for you?
Where is it that you’re a little short on courage? Where and upon what are your eyes resting? Are they settled upon what you could possibly lose if you hop onto that boat? Or on the glorious depths of God you could discover if you allow Jesus to help you press on, push through, and be braver than you’ve ever been?
Let me share a little secret with you I’ve only recently discovered. Today is the best chance you’ve ever had to try. So give it a go. And take it from little ‘ole me–I don’t think you’ll regret it.