Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

d now group

My group of 7th grade girls, co-hosts, and co-leader at #FreedomWeekend2014.

This weekend, I was a college leader for a D-Now at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, Texas. This weekend was also the most awkward weekend I’ve ever had since coming to the US. Remember what I wrote in my Dear Ol’ Quirky America blog post about loud and energetic Americans? I think God decided to test my patience with them.

There were 14 other OBU students with me. They were loud, they were crazy, they were super energetic. And most of them already had their cliques in the group. I spent most of the time awkwardly sitting by myself and watching them dance (think waving hands and arms wildly, jerking one’s body around, flopping on the floor, etc.). I had never felt more out of place.

Now, if you haven’t seen how Americans dance, you should. The first time I saw how people here danced, it was at homecoming dance. My Japanese friend and I were staring in disbelief. We like to have fun, and we sometimes dance crazily as well, but we definitely exhibit more self-control and don’t things too far.

After the first day, I started questioning myself more. What was I thinking when I signed up for this? Why am I here? When I heard that only a few of us was chosen out of a pool of applicants, I knew that God wanted me to be in Brownsboro over the weekend. Still, that didn’t help matters. I confess that sometimes I had to bite back the irritation that arose out of the sense of frustration and misery. All I wanted to do was leave the scene of uninhibited behavior and no self-control, and return to my comfort zone.

By Sunday morning, I was wishing I could be back in Malaysia where I actually fit or at least back at OBU with my calmer friends. Church service came around and we were singing “Your Grace Is Enough” by Chris Tomlin. As I sang the chorus, it was all I could do to keep the tears at bay. I have had a bad week at one of my jobs, I was exhausted both mentally and emotionally, I missed my friends, and I had enough of crazy Americans.

The sermon was about the Good Shepherd, and why Jesus is the Good Shepherd. It was just the thing I needed to hear. It taught me that even when I’m struggling the most, I have a Good Shepherd who is also the real example of love.

blizzards at dq

On Saturday night, our co-hosts took us out for Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

This didn’t mean that things became perfect right after that. I still felt like an outsider, horribly uncomfortable and painfully awkward, right until we left. When I got back, I never felt happier to be back in OBU and Shawnee, and to be with my calm and collected American roommates (I gave Sarah an extra, big hug that probably spoke volumes of my relief to be back).

But, I left with a sense of reassurance that when I step out of my comfort zone and take the plunge, God remains MY Good Shepherd. He will never leave me nor forsake me. Stepping out of my comfort zone this weekend was definitely worth it because I got to learn this lesson. I know that I might not ever be able to adjust to the culture here, but at least I have my Good Shepherd with me, and that alone is a comfort.

oyster po boy

First ever oyster po-boy at Wade’s Place for Sunday lunch.

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Posted on October 6, 2014, in Inspirations, Thoughts, and Ramblings, Life of an International Student and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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