Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Challenged to Blast My Comfort Zone

Today I presented the Isaiah Challenge for the United Way 2-1-1 staff and found myself being challenged.  I realized my life is very soft and comfortable.  I spend my time around people who are, for the most part, like me.  Middle class church going Americans who have 2.5 children, a mortgage, and a life-insurance policy.  We live in neighborhoods that require residents to keep up lawn appearance and we drive cars that are no older than a 2005.  We stress about how long it took to stand in line at Starbucks because now we might be late for out next “important” meeting with another middle class American.  Today, I entered another world.  As I pulled up to the building to park, I notice a homeless man a few feet from my car. . .which made me nervous. . .so I drive around and look for a better spot.  As I hurry into the building another homeless man is standing at the front entry way (again I feel nervous); this man stands for a good 45 seconds and waits to hold the door open for me!  Hmmm. . . .some middle class men would have gone in the door and never given me a thought.

I meet up with the 2-1-1 coordinator and request “help” getting my things out of the car.  I could have made it alone but again, I was afraid to go back out alone.  A security officer assists me.  Now I am ready to present the Isaiah Challenge. . .me. . .who is out of my comfort zone and about to “teach” the staff how to reach out to those in need.  I am about to talk to them about sharing bread with the hungry, clothing the naked, and bringing in the homeless.  Me in my red high heels and jewelry is going to give a lecture to a group of people who live a life that comes in contact with people that most of us would call the “unlovely” and  the “unclean”.  I look into the faces of the staff and realize that they see poverty, rape, abuse, and starvation on a day to day basis.  I realize how far I am from fulfilling Isaiah’s Challenge.  If I am living in my comfortable little world I will never make the impact these people can make.  After the seminar I am given a tour of the entire resource center.  I see a childcare room used by homeless families, I see a free medical clinic, I see help for the mentally impaired.  Now we go into a room full of homeless people.  Just a place they can “hang-out”.  Computers are available for job research.  A laundry room and showers are made available.  Donated clothing is available along with help in how to “dress” for a job interview.  I see all of this, but all I can think about is if I am safe.  I am wishing my husband was beside me.  I feel vulnerable and alone.  Ironic.  That must be the way all of these people feel every day of their life.  I realized today that this Challenge is just as much to challenge my comfort zones; to be able to get another vantage point and put myself into the shoes of someone who’s life is completely different than my own.  I hope that everyone who is participating allows yourself to be as Challenged as I have been.  Step out of your own comfort zone.  It may be frightening. . .do it scared! 
That which you do to the least of these, you do unto Me”. . .
Next time Lord, help me to not move my car to another space when I see You standing too close for comfort.