My mom used to say the same thing – in or out!!! And sometimes they would lock the screen door to keep us outside for a while. It’s funny to think about now, because as a kid I wanted to be outside playing, but at the same time, I wanted to be inside with the adults. So, I would go back and forth….until the screen door got locked! Yes, we were locked out sometimes for a while……and no, it didn’t hurt us!
Until recently, I had a beautiful Siamese cat for 14 years. Now, for those of you who don’t know this, cats are very finicky, but Siamese cats are definitely a peculiar breed – moody, demanding, and not very affectionate unless it’s on their terms. She had a thing about doors. I could not have a closed door in my house. Not because she wanted in or out, but because she wanted it open. And if I closed one, she would cry or bang on it until I opened it, which she knew I would do because she drove me crazy! And one day I heard myself saying to her “get in or out”!!! Of course, she wasn’t as obedient as I was a child, and she would just stare at me until I walked away, leaving the door open for her to travel through at her leisure.
As I was stepping into a place closer with the Lord a few years ago, I felt the call on my life from Him asking me “are you gonna get in or out?” I answered that with Yes, Lord, I’m in. I wasn’t sure what that meant or would look like, but I knew that I wanted to be in the middle of whatever He was doing and I wanted to be obedient in my life as a Christian.
So soon after that declaration to Him, I was given the opportunity to volunteer with a women’s ministry that helped women transition back into society after being incarcerated. This was a very new area to me and I was sure that God was leading me to help with fund raising and administrative duties, because, afterall, those were my gifts. Well, how many of you know that sometimes what we think we are supposed to do and what God has called us to do are not the same thing? I remember the feeling of disappointment, and I admit, a little fear when the director told me she needed me to stop in and check on the women living in the transitional home, help them with whatever they needed, give them rides, etc……
Ummmmm, that’s not what I thought I was going to do. I hadn’t planned to interact with anyone, I just wanted to do what I was comfortable doing. And this was not it. Can you believe God would take me out of my comfort zone???
The first day I stopped by the house to check on the ladies that lived there, I remember how nervous I was. I’ll be honest…..I had never been around women who had been in jail and I didn’t know what to expect. I went to the front door and knocked. One of the ladies answered and I told her who I was. Oh, yes, she said, they were told I would be coming by. She invited me in and I put one foot in the door, and I kept the other one outside. As I looked inside and said hi, I was so relieved that when I asked if they needed anything, the ladies said no, we’re good.
Whew! I left there feeling relieved and somewhat convicted at the same time. What was I afraid of? Not necessarily the women, but of the unknown. Aren’t we afraid of what we don’t know or understand sometimes?
I prayed about this experience, and finally committed to the Lord, ok, I’m in. If this is what you’ve called me to do, then I will be obedient and do it. I’ll never forget the day the Lord spoke to my heart so lovingly as He said “I’m not concerned about your comfort, I’m concerned with your obedience.”
So, in obedience, I went back to the house the next week, and knocked on the door. When one of the ladies answered and I asked if they needed anything, a precious girl inside said “we’re having a really hard day, will you pray with us?” At that moment, I had a choice to make. I could step on in and pray with these women, or I could say “I’ll be praying” and I could walk away…….get in or get out…….. I said yes, and stepped inside.
That was the beginning of some of the most rewarding and blessed times of my life. As I stepped out of comfort zone and into a place of obedience with God, a place I had never been before, He changed me and began making me more like Him. As I spent time with the women there and they shared their stories with me, not only did I have a new love and compassion for people going through some really terrible things, but I began to heal from some traumatic things I had experienced in my own life. I think the women there prayed over me as much as I did them, and let me tell you, they had the faith of a child. I saw God move in their lives in miraculous ways and that increased my faith.
I encourage you, as you are faced with opportunities in life, and you have to make a decision whether to get in or get out, don’t immediately do what you’ve done before, or what’s easy and comfortable. Step out of your comfort zone and into His obedience......trust God. He has already made the way for you.