Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That First Scary Step

How to do hard things that take you outside your comfort zone...

Jenna -

"Everyone likes to feel strong and smart. That means as soon as we start to feel stretched or pushed past our limits, we hit the brakes, slam into reverse, and scoot back to our comfort zones. Who wants to risk feeling weak and stupid?" Pg. 70

By not wanting to do hard things (I know all about that...) we're really saying that:

"We don't want to do things that don't come easily or naturally. We don't want to break through our fears. And by our actions, we're also saying that God isn't good and powerful enough to help us do what we can't comfortably do on our own. And that's a lie the Enemy loves!" Pg. 71

When it comes to doing hard things, two circumstances stand out in my memory.

It occured 2 years ago when I had my Spring Piano Recital. I had my 2 pieces down to perfection, memorized and beautiful...we got to the church and I wasn't even shaking! Wow! I made it through the whole recital (I was 2nd to last) and my name was called...I walked up to the piano (almost tripped) and started playing. All of a sudden I couldn't remember the next chord. It got so bad that I had to turn around and ask my teacher for my music. Boy, it was SO tough and I JUST WANTED the floor to SWALLOW me up! Guess what? It didn't...I was up there with my mind spinning, face as red as a beet and I thought I was going to die. But I did it, and somehow I was still alive! And what a RELIEF to accomplish that even though I made mistakes.

The second hardest thing for me to do, occurred last year. I was in a play. I don't remember how I agreed to it because for those of you that know me, I dislike, to the greatest extent, performing in front of people... I would much rather be in the audience. I toiled in agony for a whole year, trying to memorize, trying to was all in vain. I will be honest and mention that my attitude was not God-honoring which made my accomplishment little when I finally said goodbye to the stage. That was such a trying time in my life...just ask my poor mother who had to hear my complaints for that entire year - I'm so sorry mom:)

I learned from those two experiences, to put my best into every project that I am in and to do everything AS UNTO THE LORD! It will make the ending SO much more joyful and exciting!!

Bethany -

"Fear is the fence that keeps us stuck in our comfort zones. To be fair, we usuallly feel fear for a reason: often something is outside that should make us afraid. The problem is when we just sit there. We wait. And we wait. Why? Well we're waiting to stop feeling afraid before we attempt anything. And - just to be fair - we're often afraid to try something new because of painful past experiences. We tried stepping out before, and it blew up in our faces. We poured everything we had into something we cared about and our efforts fell short. We don't want to embarrass ourselves again.

The truth is, though, is that it's going to be a long wait. If we're waiting until the fear and feelings of inadequacy go away, we'll never venture outside our comfort zones. Until we take a step in spite of our fears, none of us will ever truly be able to do hard things." (pg.74-75)

Fear is a dreadful weight. It ties you down and gives you little freedom. A year ago I was a shy, homeschooled, sheltered, 15 year old sophomore given a task. With 14 days in advance, I was told to prepare a speech to give in front of judges. It had to be a memorized speech, so it wasn't like I could just go up there and start talking. On top of all that, it was the first speech I'd ever given in my life (outside of speeches given at home) so I wasn't exactly sure how it was all going to play out. I was scared. But I ignored the fear and got up there and gave my 8 minutes speech. Ever since then, I have loved getting up in front of judges and speaking. What an amazing discovery that I wouldn't have found if I hadn't faced my fear.

While you may be faced with fear that may be more than getting up in front of judges and speaking, you still have to face it. Get outta that comfort zone and DO HARD THINGS!

What are two HARD things that you faced and accomplished in your life?? PLEASE SHARE!!!


Anonymous said...

Morning Jenna, Jacob and I hope you have a Very Merry Christmas :)

Chloƫ said...

This chapter gives a whole new look on doing things outside our comfort zone! Instead of worrying about whether we'll mess up, we can focus as doing it unto the Lord, as a time to GROW! My youth pastor has said that we need to expand our comfort zone, not just step out from it.

I too get extremely nervous when it comes to piano recitals! And it seems like I always have the "fate" of being last (which, by no means, helps at all)! :D But in the end, I have survived them all, lol!

Something really hard for me was going out and witnessing with a group of people from my church. It was my first time to do it public and I was nervous! Although I may have stumbled over my words and forgot a few points, I can definitely see how it was a time I grew. Each time after that was easier, and I draw comfort knowing that God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Anonymous said...

Bethany, I've been very curious about this book for a long time. I see the benefits of this mentality in parenting and see areas I need to improve time goes by.

However, personally, I am DRIVEN by doing "hard things". I was raised to be self driven and to drive others in the process. Over time, I've seen how this can be hurtful to not only others but also my walk with the Lord . Does the book say anything about that? I mean, do we draw a line somewhere between being driven and waiting on the Lord. Is doing the "hard thing" ever simply pride? Does that make sense?
c. nottingham

Bethany said...

C Nottingham,
This is something that I have a hard time with as well. I'm a naturally driven person who just loves to do hard things. As we get into the book, there is one of my favorite chapters, "Small Hard Things". In this chapter I found that small hard things are important as well such as cleaning your room, helping mom make breakfast, etc, etc, etc. These were the areas I really needed (and still am working on!) and this helped me see that not all hard things were big and outstanding.

God's blessings to you and your family!


Kathrann said...

I'm SO excited!
I just got "Do Hard Things" for Christmas! I can't wait to join in on your book discussion!
I'm on chapter 3, so, I've got a LOT of catching up to do. :)

Here are two hard things I've accomplished:

1) Singing in public
2) Instigating a conversation


Anonymous said...

I think the hardest thing for driven people to do is NOT BE SO DRIVEN. Too many of us are performance oriented rather than focusing on relationships. I am thankful God is not that way. I am learning to be a dad the way my heavenly father is. Us conservative zealous types have the hardest time with this. God is not looking for our trophies, he desires our love. Bethany's Dad.