I just thought of something else related to a previous blog I wrote. I've heard so many Christian speakers talk about how important it is for us to "get out of our comfort zones". Even though I can't think of any specific passages of Scripture that say that off the top of my head, I do believe it's a biblical principle. The trouble is, whenever this topic is brought up, the context is generally how attached somebody is to their own hometown, job, school, friends, etc.; and how going on a missions trip or something like that would make a big difference in their lives. This is so true for many people, and while it's true that the missions trips I've gone on have changed my life in many ways, I couldn't really identify with being out of my "comfort zone". The truth is, people have different comfort zones that they have to deal with. My wife, for example, has always had a hard time with change; but I have a harder time with things staying the same.
The first time I really felt like I was out of my comfort zone was when I moved to a suburb, got an office job, & started living a "normal" life. Siberia wasn't nearly as much of a change as this-- and the bigger change was my attitude: I had to learn to be okay with not being in the "ministry". I had to learn that my attitude about life & my relationships with others are more important to God than what I "do".
The "ministry" is my comfort zone. God can't use you until He has broken you, because He wants you to understand that nothing good comes from you; so He has you do things that you can't do yourself so you know it had to be Him. I'll try to say it another way: I can preach and go around the world and serve in camps, etc. all by myself, but I can't bear any fruit on my own-- that is only from God! Also, personally I have a hard time seeing my current job as being a benefit to mankind, but I had to learn that having a job to support my wife & future family and to have a nice home so we can show hospitality to others is important enough! God wants me to learn more about the average person's life so He can use me to serve others; & maybe He'll put my wife & me in vocational ministry someday, or maybe He won't. I'm still learning and growing, but I see progress, because I had to learn that "ministry" is my comfort zone, and once I knew that I had to be okay with being out of that comfort zone. I know this makes me different from the majority of the people I've met, but maybe someone who reads this can identify.