Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Moving Out of My Comfort Zone

For the past 2 months and the next 10 months, our (my husband and I) home is an apartment in Costa Rica. From time to time we talk about what will happen after our year here.

We have many unknown questions:
Where will we live?
What will we do?
What will our life look like after a yearlong mission trip in Costa Rica?

While discussing this, my husband mentioned how he didn't want to spend the rest of our lives in his hometown and birthplace. On one hand, I can relate. Most of the people in my hometown don't venture far away and live their lives in the county of their birth. He quoted the figure of 50% as the number of people in his hometown who spend their whole lives in their hometown (give or take a few ventures away).

According to the Pew Research Center "...most Americans have moved to a new community at least once in their lives, although a notable number — nearly four-in-ten — have never left the place in which they were born...In the Midwest, nearly half of adult residents say they have spent their entire lives in their hometown." (Cohn, and Morin)

Yet, when I heard that my future may not include staying in my college town, the place of my first two homes as a wife, I was saddened. I had expected to move back to my college town and his hometown after our mission trip and continue my friendships and dreams in that setting. I realized that my college town had become my comfort zone. It was virtually all that I had known as a new wife. I knew where to shop. I knew who to hang out with. I had friends, church, and family nearby. In short, I was comfortable there.

The thought of not returning to the only setting I had known as a married person saddened me. The thought of following a job or an opportunity of God to another city filled me with dread. It was like I expected God to reward my obedience in following Him to another country by Him transplanting me exactly back where I was.

The thing is, I don't even know how my college town would fit me after a year on the mission field. I don't know how we will be changed by our experiences here or how the city would change in a year. Maybe to go back and rebuild a life there would bring pain, heartache, and frustration.

When everything is boiled down, I need to be willing to leave my comfort zone. I need to be open to the option that maybe God won't put us back in the same town with the same friends and the same activities as before. My dreams, my hopes have to die in order for me to see the plans of God. When I fiercely cling to my dreams of the future, I am not open to God's guidance. It's possible that I will sacrifice my dreams on the altar to God, only to have Him give me the same dream. It's possible that I will sacrifice my dreams on the altar to God, only to have Him give me a new dream. But I will not know God's plans until I release my hold on my plans.

God could put us back in the same town after our year in Costa Rica or He may have different plans. If I cling to my plans for my future, would I have really learned anything about faith and trust during my time on the mission field?

Lord, wherever you want us after this year in Costa Rica, let us be open and willing to travel and live where You put us. Give us wisdom in navigating our post-mission field-experience and the desire to be missionaries wherever You place us.

Cohn, D'Vera, and Rich Morin. "Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where’s Home? ." PewResearch Social & Demographic Trends. PewResearchCenter, 17 Dec 2008. Web. 12 Nov 2013. <http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2008/12/17/who-moves-who-stays-put-wheres-home/>.

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