God Hates Comfort Zones

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I like being comfortable. It’s a trait common to all human beings and probably to all living creatures. Even “cutters” and other masochists behave the way they do because hurting themselves gives them some sort of strange comfort.

Believe it or not, when I went from being a Second Cook to being a camper at Lake Ann, that wasn’t a comfortable thing for me. The majority of my mind was screaming at me, “Stop being an idiot! You have lots of good friends already in the kitchen, and you have lots of fun there. Why would you ever give that up to be a camper? You probably won’t even like your counselor or team.”

When Chefy first approached me offering an opportunity to be a camper, I reacted reflexively and said, “Yes.” After all, I had gone to camp every summer of my life since 5th grade. Why wouldn’t I want to be a camper? My mind didn’t realize ’til later that I didn’t wholeheartedly desire an experience as a camper.

The difference is the one we’ve been discussing. Always going to Lake Ann as a camper has been the most comfortable option for me. It was either go to Lake Ann with my friends or stay home by myself and be bored. This time the whole thing was flipped. If I wasn’t a camper, I’d get to hang out with all the friends I already had, but as a camper I’d have to start out basically alone. That’s never a comfortable place to be.

I can get lost in a crowd. I’m not always the loudest person. Making new friends isn’t a great talent of mine. A week of camp where I know nobody is a scary proposition for me. I almost backed out several times, but as I thought about it, I knew that would learn much more from a week of camp. I knew it was where God wanted me.

And so I had my week of camp. God stretched me and worked in my life throughout the week. It was nowhere near as horrible as my worst imaginings, but then it didn’t live up to my most whimsical dreams, either. Still, God worked.

Friday of my week as a camper, I’m finally getting comfortable. I know everybody on my team, and I understand them all to a degree. I’m on solid ground, even relaxed, and then Chefy walked up to my team as we were preparing to go eat dinner.

Instantly I knew that something strange was going on. Chefy was only rarely outside the dining hall during the day, and he never sought out interaction with campers. I wasn’t scared, yet, but I was alert to the possibility that I might be soon.

He pulled me aside and asked the question, “Would you be willing to counsel next week?”

Now, I like to keep a confident mask in place at all times. It’s one of the ways I’m able to deal with this world– by pretending I know what I’m doing. So I blustered, “Well, I mean I’d prefer to work in the kitchen, but I guess I’d be willing to counsel…” As if my desire to not counsel was a mere preference.

He told me that my name would go on the list as a secondary option. I thought I had dodged the bullet. An hour later, somebody told me I’d be counseling Jump Start– 6th graders.

The truth is, the idea of counseling scared me. Now, not only would I not be among my friends for the week, but I’d also be primarily interacting with 6th grade boys. That’s an alien species, folks.

Long story short, God got me through the week, and I had one of the most spiritually fulfilling weeks of my life. I’ll probably write at least one blog post about the experience. Now I’m home, though, and I’m preparing to go off to college. Not only will I be bringing none of my friends with me, they’ll also all be about a thousand miles away. God hates comfort zones.

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