Sunday, November 29, 2009

Discomfort Zone

A little less than a year ago my wife Andrea and I attended a holiday dinner party at the home of good friends of ours - the Smiths. In the classic tradition of this excellent hostess, each of the eight dinner guests was presented with a card containing a thought provoking question. Our task was to reflect upon the question and then answer it in front of the group. Now I know that some of you out there can't stand these types of dinner party 'games' - but I got to tell you - I love 'em! I absolutely love listening and learning about people and getting a deeper understanding of what makes them tick, what they love, what they hate. To me, there's no better way to spend an evening with friends.

I quietly read my card to myself at the dinner table (What do you want out of 2009?). "Ah, that's a softball question". I thought "It'll be easy to come up with an answer for that one". I put the card back down on the table without giving it much thought and continued with the dinner conversation. Over the next couple of hours we ate, talked and laughed as we listened to each of the guests answer their questions and share their ideas.

Finally it was my turn to read and answer my question. I was the last one to go and I realized that I got so caught up in listening to everyone else that I hadn't spent any time thinking of an answer to my question:

What do want out of 2009?

At this point the clock was ticking and I was on the spot. I'd squandered my prep time and left myself with no time to come up with witty, cool or funny answer. So I had to answer the first thing that came to my mind - the truth:

"During 2009 I want to be more comfortable being uncomfortable." I said.

What the heck does that mean? Well, please allow me to explain...

What I'd come to realized is that for many years of my life, the primary need of my life had become the pursuit of comfort, security, safety and order (in other words certainty) for myself and for my family. I craved certainty and was addicted to it much like an alcoholic craves a drink or a gambler graves a game. Certainty that I could provide for my family, certainty we wouldn't be harmed, certainty that I could protect myself and those I love, certainty that everything was going to be just fine.........

Now let me totally clear, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with pursuing and having the feelings of comfort, security, safety and order - but if this becomes your primary focus in life and your way of getting it is by trying to control the world around you, avoiding taking risks and holding back from God's plan - you've got a serious problem. And your problem is that you're not walking by FAITH, rather you're walking by FEAR. And if you're walking by FEAR and not by FAITH then you (like me) will never live the life that God has in store for you.

And that was my problem, the details of which I'd be happy to share with you at another time in another blog post. Suffice it to say that God has an amazing way of reshuffling our emotional decks until we finally get His message. Fortunately for me, God used my love of children and the gift of international (African) adoption to break the chains of certainty in my life and provide me with greater comfort with uncertainty, ultimately shrinking my Discomfort Zone. Because as anyone of you who've been through the trials and tribulations of a third world adoption knows, you better check your dominating need for certainty at the door and hang on to God Himself because the ride is intense and sometimes He's the only one who has a clue as to what's going on.
I write this today, as a recovering certainty addict, in hopes that you'll give some consideration to these words. Not for my benefit! But because I truly believe that God's vision for your life rests in the certainty of FAITH in Him and comfort with the uncertainty of this world.

A very wise man recently taught me that that the quality of a person's life is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty he/she can comfortably deal with. Isn't this true in your life? As I think about the most memorable and amazing moments (and feelings) of my life, they were almost always immediately proceeded by a significant amount of uncertainty: the birth of my first child, the adoption of my first daughter, dating my now wife, going away to college, giving my life to Christ.......

What do you want out of 2009?

I said to the dinner guests that night, during 2009 I'm looking for more opportunities to be uncomfortable (i.e. uncertain) and praying for the wisdom to feel comfortable (by FAITH) in the process.......

So on that note.... tomorrow morning a small team of caring souls and I begin a 10 day journey to Africa with an organization by the name of Childrens HopeChest (; a journey to demonstrate God's unconditional love to the children of Ethiopia; a journey to do something to impact the lives of orphaned and impoverished children whose lives have been ravaged by AIDS, malaria, poverty and other disease. A journey to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ Himself - and honestly - a journey that is filled with a significant amount of uncertainty for me, my teammates and our families.

Overall our group objective is to establish a meaningful long term relationship with several orphanage and care-point facilities, such that we can provide for the basic physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs of these beautiful orphaned/impoverished children.

The road towards meeting this objective is ripe with uncertainty. We are uncertain about what to expect on this trip, we are uncertain exactly how we'll react to the sight of starving children (do you?), we're uncertain how we're going to handle the sight of children dying with AIDS with no mother or father to comfort them (would you?), we're uncertain how our bodies will hold up under the physical stress and emotional stress of this trip, we're uncertain how we're ultimately going to fund our long-term mission....... BUT, thank God, we have certainty through FAITH that God will show us the way.

So in closing I have a special request for you - please pray:

Pray for our team:

- For abundant wisdom in handling all challenges and circumstances
- For our emotional/physical/spiritual strength
- For safe travels to and from Ethiopia

Pray for our families:

- For the safety of our families back home

Pray for the orphaned and impoverished children we'll be visiting:

- That they would experience God's unconditional love and find hope in our mission

Pray for yourself:

- Please prayerfully consider becoming apart of our team (learn more at

Thank you and God Bless!


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Children's HopeChest

About Me

A simple man on a mission to promote the beauty of adoption and care for the needs of our orphans

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