Posted by: Emily Shemwell | June 25, 2009

Dare to be Uncomfortable

As part of us getting to know each other, the women’s team shared our testimonies with each other over the first few weeks here at HOPE. We heard about each others faith journey, struggles, and what brought each of us to Louisville this summer. I hadn’t shared my testimony recently, so sharing it with 6 people I just met was uncomfortable for me. But, I went for it anyway. I was real, open and honest. And, I found 6 complete strangers to be there with open arms; they were loving, encouraging, and accepting of me – all of me – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So, on Friday I shared a short version of my testimony with the entire HOPE team (All 12 HOPE team members and our director meet together every other Friday for lunch and worship. This past Friday the men’s team was responsible for cooking lunch while the women’s team was in charge of worship). I was somewhat hesitant when asked by my house mates to share my testimony. I don’t know my fellow male teammates very well. Did I really want to make myself vulnerable to these folks too? After seeking God’s will through prayer and meditation, I jumped in. I shared my story with even more folks that I barely know.

I was uncomfortable sharing my heart with complete strangers. But, as a follower of Christ, that’s what I’m supposed to do; I’m supposed to constantly be uncomfortable. There’s not much about my summer that is comfortable. I moved away from the comforts of surburbia to live in an unfamiliar city which brings with it a different way of life. I gave up the luxuries of eating out and shopping at the mall to a tight budget where eating out is only possible once a week (if that) and shopping for the latest trends, well, that’s not even possible. I chose to come live in a home with 6 women, whom I’d never met, in order to grow in Christian community and bear one another’s burdens. I immersed myself in a challenging environment of a homeless shelter and low-income neighborhood so I can better understand the folks I’m trying to serve.

I don’t share this to get your praise or to put myself on a pedestal. I tell you all of that to tell you this: As Christians, as true followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are called to be uncomfortable. We are called to tear down the fences of our hearts and our homes (I’m borrowing those words from a song – they are not my own as much as I wish I could take credit for them). We are called to go out of our comfort zones and take risks. John Perkins writes in Beyond Charity (a book I’m currently reading) that, ” If living for God is not a challenge, not a struggle, not a risk, if it does not require giving of one’s self, then it becomes stagnant and lifeless.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to become stagnant and lifeless. I don’t want to die before I truly live.

Will you dare to be uncomfortable?

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