When Sharing Your Faith is Outside Your Comfort Zone
Is sharing your faith outside your comfort zone?
It was for me too. I didn’t think I could ever do it. Yet science tells us that purposefully putting ourselves in slightly uncomfortable new situations helps us grow. So, when you intentionally stretch yourself just a little outside your comfort zone to share your faith, your comfort zone expands. When you do it again, it expands even more. Every time you push up against your comfort zone to share the hope of Jesus, little by little, you will grow bolder, more courageous. And soon, you’ll be operating in the joy zone where all the adventure is.
Speaking of adventure…for years I knew I should be sharing my faith, yet it was just a faraway thought. Then, I entered a situation that was radically outside my comfort zone. The tense situation taught me that I had been imposing comfort-zone restrictions on when and where and how I would share my faith. Here’s what happened:
My husband Renod and I were invited to a meal with an Imam (like an Islamic pastor) and his family in a tense area in the Middle East. When we got the invitation, Renod was thrilled. I was petrified. Who does something like that? Eating a meal with the Imam’s family in a red zone in the Middle East was way off the charts of my comfort zone.
Assumptions and Fears
Here’s what I was thinking: “I’m just a farm kid from the Midwest. I have no business being here. I don’t know anything about Islam. I can’t speak Arabic. What will I say to the Imam’s wife? Why did I say ‘Yes’ to this? What if they try to kill me!” (Yes, I imagined the absolute worst possible scenario.)
As we drove through the small villages on the way to their home, I imagined snipers on every rooftop. Surely terrorists were all around. I was a mess. When we pulled into their dirt driveway, chickens were pecking around outside. From the outside, the house seemed normal enough. I didn’t look like a staging area for terrorists. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, and followed Renod inside.
The Shocking Discovery
When we stepped through the door, I was shocked to discover that the Imam’s wife spoke perfect English. She’d earned her MBA from an American university. She was beautiful, funny, gracious, and hospitable. All my assumptions and unfounded fears immediately evaporated, and she made me feel right at home.
As we drank tea and talked about recipes, parenting, and our mothers-in-law, I realized that she was a lot like me. When she dug out pictures to show me her daughter’s recent wedding, I realized I’d made a new friend. As we were leaving, she asked if we could continue to stay in touch! The whole experience was a big accomplishment: farm-kid visits Imam’s wife in the Middle East. It was one giant step forward toward sharing my faith outside my comfort zone.
Stretching to Share Your Faith
Having coffee with the Imam’s wife in the Middle East was a radical stretch to my comfort zone. I don’t advocate taking that big of a step your first time out. However, it did forever change me. While I never mentioned being a follower of Jesus that first time, the whole experience gave me more courage to step out in faith and do it again. In time, I focused less on my perceived inadequacies in the safety of my comfort zone and more joyfully declaring God’s glory. Trust me. If I can stretch to share my faith outside my comfort zone, you can too.
Think It Through
- What comfort-zone restrictions have you put on yourself?
- Are you willing to step into slightly uncomfortable situations so that you might grow bolder and more courageous about sharing your faith across cultures? Why or why not?
- What is one small step you can take to stretch your comfort zone this week?
Learn more. Hear real-life, good-news stories of Believers who are stretching outside their comfort zones to share their faith. Look for and listen to the podcast called “The Blue Cord by iHOPE Ministries” on our website here, in Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen.
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