Monday, September 29, 2014

Come Out of Your Comfort Zone for Christ

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Something I have thought about lately is comfort.  We sure do like to be comfortable.  We live a pretty plush life here in the western world as they would say.  We know comforts many would kill for.

Our society constantly reminds us to live how we want.  Don't do things you don't want to do.  Be happy!   Go out there and get the life you want, no matter what.  Don't let anyone get in your way!  A lot of folks even seem to have a martyr complex and often say things like we should "Finally serve ourselves."   "Think of yourself.".   They act as though it is a first time and all they have done is take care of everyone else.  Yet, their fruit has shown otherwise.

I also hear reminders that we should sever ties that "don't serve you" any more.  Marriage is treated that way today.  Tossed aside as casually as a disposable pop can.  Not even because of real and deep problems, but for reasons like, "Well...he just didn't understand me".  Many aren't even bothering to marry.  It doesn't serve them to make a long term commitment with someone who may or may not 'work out' or they might cease to bring them happiness.

There is much promotion of self.  Most of us have comfortable homes, apartments, or places to stay with access to clean water.  Most are temperature controlled to suit our comforts.  Most of us rarely have empty tummies.  Granted, there certainly are exceptions to these rules.

My point is we are a very self serving, happiness-seeking, and comfortable people.  Is that what scripture calls us to do?  Most definitely not!  Scripture repeatedly encourages us to serve others, treat others as you wish to be treated, die to self, don't worry about your own comfort, etc.  We are admonished to get out there and serve over and over!

Many of us object.  Shyness is a big excuse we use not to serve.  Perhaps witnessing takes us out of our comfort zones.  This woman who is speaking/writing to you right now has a big struggle with shyness.  I DO NOT like to draw attention to myself in any way.  I don't like to speak up when there are more than a couple people present.  I feel awkward with strangers.  I despise telephones unless it is someone I know very, very well.  They make me a nervous wreck.  The ring makes my heart pound in fear.  Public speaking= complete torture.  Doing youtube videos is extremely hard for me.  Especially at first, in time it gets a little easier on some level.  It is still not within my comfort at all.

Writing/blogging especially about "religious things" that folks don't approve of.... then going on social networking and sharing so everyone can see it.... is more difficult than anyone will ever know.  Knowing I am frequently exposing my heart to people who think badly is so hard sometimes.  That is just one example of how shyness can make something difficult.  (I don't share my struggle to get any pats on the back.  I share it to make a point.)

I read a long time ago that shyness is selfishness.  I rejected that for a while.  The thought didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy.  It made me feel GUILTY.  Then eventually I realized it was truth.  Yes, there is a level of shyness that is being quiet and introspective.  Nothing wrong with holding your tongue in a crowd when it is appropriate.  You don't always have to put your thoughts in.  However, if you are shy to the detriment of others.  If folks feel like you ignored them, if you missed witness opportunities, if you put your comfort above someone else's....then yes, shyness is selfishness.  

It may sound harsh.  I know it still does to me.  I TRY to make myself deal with it and open up.  I still mess this up more than I wished.  I hesitate in situations to speak or act, then an hour later I am totally kicking myself for letting my shyness cause the hesitation.  The ways I might have been able to help others or witness opportunities I missed...all because I was too shy.  Ultimately it is a point of pride to I suppose.  Why are we shy?  I think often it amounts to we are afraid others will get the wrong idea about us.  We are afraid of looking foolish.  We are concerned we might not know what to say.  They will think badly about us.  Many variations.  It brings the point back to one of an issue with pride too.

I am seeing many folks who refuse to pray publicly.  They don't like to speak up in a group of other believers to lead prayer.  I understand.  It makes me feel embarrassed too, for fear I will mis-speak.  In a group of women, I will do it.  I am not comfortable, but I do it if asked.

As a woman, I don't feel good about leading a prayer when it is a mixed group of men and women because I feel like that is not how it ought to be.  I feel like it is the Christan man's place to lead such things.  Nowadays, many won't.  They give in to their personal comfort and stay quiet.  That leaves the women in a very awkward spot!  A void to fill.  (This isn't a correction to the men, remember, this entire blog is written to women.)  I am just pointing out the awkward position we might end up in as women.  Mercy, if believers can't pray together without such sad is that!  The older I get, the more I notice less and less folks willing to simply lead prayer!  Why?  Comfort zones.

I feel like I am starting to rabbit trail here.  Back to my main point.  Maybe your issue is not shyness.  Maybe something else hinders you from serving others as you should??  Examine yourself.  Are you putting your issue and yourself above others?  If so, then it might be a problem you need to address.  It isn't good to stay in our comfort zones when it is to the detriment of others.  Is surely isn't good when it is a detriment to our witness as believers in Jesus Christ.

So what do we do?  Well shyness is something I am still working on.  I may never get over it completely.  You have to decide something isn't okay and work to fix it.  One step, one word, and one day at a time.  A favorite expression of mine lately, (and I tell myself a lot)...."suck it up buttercup".  This isn't about you, it's about others.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watch out for container damage on broth boxes!

First watch the is very short.

Okay, home canned broth is awesome and better for you and LOADS cheaper.  However, I admit I try to keep a few store bought ones around too.   I often run out of home canned or I just don't have time to run the pressure canner.  I know I can freeze it, and I do freeze a limited amount.

Anyway, you get the point, I took the easy way out and I bought a couple today.  The last few times I have bought broth I pick the new cardboard coated vacuum sealed containers.  They seem a better value a lot of the times for store bought.  I just got some new containers home from shopping and I happened to discover an issue. (Thank you to God for opening my eyes to it!)

The corner has been grazed by something.  It is hard to tell if it happened during my handling on the way home or if it happened in the store.  I suspect it was already like that.  Anyway, I could return it and get my money back and Aldi even will replace the product.  Their double guarantee.   I don't blame them as a store at all.  It could have been ANY store as many places sell broth in these containers.   I am also not 100% sure it came like that.  I neglected to check it because I hadn't encountered that before.

I wanted to share it so you all can see and know to make certain yourself.  It is a big concern really.  From my canning experience this is the sort of thing you want to be careful about.  With the seal broken anything can happen making you and your family sick.  Botulism is typically anaerobic needing the seal to be present for an oxygen-less environment in order to grow.  Still yet, with that broken seal, (and if it was broken for a long time) any monster critter could be lurking in that broth.  Some things are not killed by boiling and it isn't worth the chance of using it.  I will toss this container.  I am out a little shy of a $1.50.  No big deal.  I am blessed to have seen it.

It DOES concern me for these containers.  If a bumped corner can be broken easily as it appears, are they truly as safe as I had previously assumed?  How easy would it have been for me to have missed this?  Extremely easy.  I could have stashed this in my pantry and not used this container for a long while.  Then one day I might have grabbed it and used the product never noticing the tiny corner damage.

I think I will go back to cans when I do buy store bought broth.  Better yet, I really need to dust my canner back off and do the homemade.  Broth is pretty easy to do so I should make the time.  It is worth it.