Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stepping Out of Your Shire

There comes a point in life (possibly more than one) when you stop and think, What in the world was I thinking? I've come to this point.
 I have a perfectly comfortable, normal life. But I felt as if God was calling me to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission. If you don't know what that is, YWAM spreads the Word of God throughout the world and equips people to do the same. So the school is three months at the base, two months mission trip. And for me, this will mean stepping so far out of my comfort zone, doing things I'm not used to doing (praying outloud, speaking in front of people), meeting new people and going new places.... What was I thinking?! I guess I'm at that point where faith and fear collide. We'll see where God takes it!
 Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a devotional on stepping out of your comfort zone based on the Lord of the Rings. I found it pretty relevant to what I'm going through now, so I thought you might be interested:
                        Stepping Out of Your Shire

The little company of Frodo and friends is gathered in Rivendell, discussing what should be done with the Ring (if you don't follow the Lord of the Rings, the ring is something that must be destroyed so peace can return to the land. Got it? :P). Someone suggests giving it to Tom Bombabil, the sweet although odd, caretaker of the Old forest; who seems untouched and unworried by evil. Seems like a perfect solution! But Gandalf soon brings that idea to a halt, saying that Tom's power is limited only to his land:
 'And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days.'- Gandalf, The Fellowship of The Ring page 298
 Somewhere in life, we draw our bounds, we set our lines. We chalk out the area of our comfort zone. We say, "This is the line I will not cross.  Even one step out means danger, uncertainty, and maybe even adventure. I'm not doing it! I'll stay right here!" As Christians should we even have comfort zones?! Caution, in some cases, yes. Boundaries that keep you from sinning, absolutely. But a comfort zone that boxes us in from the rest of the world? We're missing that freedom of Christ. Do you think Jesus had a comfort zone? I'm not thinking so. He touched lepers,  He talked to Samaritans, He ate dinner with tax collectors! He had no comfort zone. He wasn't afraid to step out, touch others, challenge the normal. And we shouldn't be either.

We're kind of like hobbits. Perfectly content in our own little world, in our shire, while the rest of the world moves along without us. Adventure is frowned upon and we keep busy floating in our own little world. We never step outside the Shire, never come in contact with people outside. And that's how they live their lives. But one day, a hobbit is called on a adventure that takes him far beyond the shire. And in the end Frodo Baggins from the Shire, changed the world. Changes the course of history.
 God is calling us little hobbits out of our shire. Out of our comfortable lives to go on our own adventure. To serve Him and maybe touch a few lives along the way. Whether that adventure includes lighting the beacons of Minas Tirith or lighting the fire of faith, rousing the Ents of Fangorn or rousing Christian soldiers to pray, or storming the gates of Mordor itself, I don't know. But we'll never know unless we take a chance and step out of our own shire.
 Frodo made a decision that day that he was the one to take the ring to Mordor. He stepped out of his shire and his life was never the same.

But Frodo wasn't unchanged by his journey. He was so changed that in the end, he couldn't find happiness in his own little shire anymore. So at the end of his journey, he made one last journey, to the Undying Land.
 We won't remain unchanged if we step out of our shire either. God will change us. We won't be content by our shire any longer. For we were made for more. So much more. And our true home will be in Heaven, the ultimate Undying Land.

        But the first step, is stepping out of our shire. 

"We are too quick to accept the life we know and not quick enough to embrace the life we can only imagine."
    -The First King of Shannara pg. 107

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