Stepping out of the safe zone

The last 12 months have been all about stepping outside of my comfort zone… writing and marketing a book, recording an audiobook, speaking in public, being interviewed for radio shows, appearing on national TV (live!). There are so many things I’ve done in the last year that five years ago I never would have thought I could possibly do.

For many people, these are small things. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of people doing stuff on a much, much larger scale all the time. But for a once-shy person like me who got nervous just to go to church or some other event with people I knew well, these are milestone things.

I read Crazy Love last year and committed to the Lord that I would step out and do whatever He called me to do–no matter what. I won’t tell you that any of this has been easy for me, because it hasn’t been. Truthfully, I’ve experienced tremendous fear and nerves time and again.

There are times when I’ve wanted to run away and hide and there are so many times when I’ve thought, “There is no way I can do X.” However, as I’ve stepped out in faith and asked God to hold me up when I felt incredibly unqualified, He has been so faithful.

And I echo what I read in yesterday’s Jesus Calling devotional:

“If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing [God] work through you.”

That’s definitely been the case for me. As I’ve gotten out of the safe zone, I’ve experienced God’s power and provision in my life like never before. It’s an awesome thing to be walking in His strength and might, because you know that your own strength and might would never be enough.

And this week, I’m once again stepping out of the “safe” zone. Tomorrow morning, my husband and I are boarding a plane bound for the Dominican Republic.

We’ll be traveling to visit two Child Survival Programs (one of which is the one we’ve “adopted” through your support of my book!) and we’ll also be visiting in the homes of some of the mothers who are a part of the program. In addition, we’ll be going to see some of the other projects Compassion has in the DR and attending a Leadership Development Program graduation.

We’re excited to have this opportunity, but I wouldn’t be completely honest if I pretended that I wasn’t somewhat apprehensive. You see, aside from the Love Like You Mean It Cruise, I’ve never traveled outside the U.S.

I’ve lived a safe and sheltered life. I’ve always had a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and much more than most of the people in the DR could probably even fathom.

I know that the poverty and need I’m going to see this week will be far beyond what I’ve ever witness before. And I’m almost certain it is going to profoundly affect me in ways I can’t imagine right now.

But I know that it’s going to rock my world in a good way. And so I board the plane tomorrow, not knowing what lies ahead of us, but knowing that stepping out of the safe zone is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

By the way, since you all were an integral part in why we’re taking this trip, I’ll be “bringing you along with me” by blogging a little about our experiences each day and sharing pictures of some of the things we see and people we meet.

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  1. says

    There is nothing that will rattle your cage like visiting a 3rd world country! I can’t wait to see where God takes you on this journey. Have fun and be blessed.

    • Darlene says

      I’ve never had the opportunity to visit a 3rd world country..but my daughter has…and she has told of many things there…I so appreciated what you said so spoke to me..I needed it more than I cared to admit..stuggling to do God’s will and putting all else aside is hard..when the opposition comes along..thanks for all the deals you send your way…May God bless in a special way!!

    • Darlene says

      I’ve never had the opportunity to visit a 3rd world country..but my daughter has…and she has told of many things there…I so appreciated what you said so spoke to me..I needed it more than I cared to admit..stuggling to do God’s will and putting all else aside is hard..when the opposition comes along..thanks for all the deals you send your way…May God bless in a special way!!

  2. Steffanie says

    You will be blessed by stepping out in faith. I went to the DR last June on a missions trip. After traveling to India and Africa I consider the DR to be a ‘2nd world’ country. The Dominicans were warm and friendly. Have a great trip!

  3. Jennifer says

    Reading the part about traveling abroad, would have been the words I used to describe how I felt. I spent 6 weeks in Mexico studying. At times it was the scariest thing i have ever done. But it was the most amazing thing. If you feel overwhelmed, look at how much progress you have already made and know that God is with you. (that is what helped me).

  4. Cris says

    Coming from another country where poverty was all around you (despite growing up without financial problems) I can tell you this will sure make you even more thankful to have what you have than ever before. I am so glad for this opportunity that you are having! And it will so awesome to see how the proceeds of your book are being used. Have a wonderful trip!

  5. Stephanie says

    First, don’t you just love the Jesus Calling devos?? Did you know there’s now a Jesus Calling Bible? It is absolutely fabulous! Second, remember when you were pregnant with your first child and people kept saying your life was going to change? You thought you kinda had an idea but you really didn’t….(as you discovered after the baby arrived!)? It’s the same with a mission trip. I’m telling you: it will change your life immensely and you will always carry with you. I went on my first mission trip almost 8 years ago and I still recall how much it changed me. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and going!! You will definitely want to blog and keep a journal while you are there. Get ready to grow in your walk!! Many blessings for all that you do! Enjoy!

  6. says

    Thank you so much for this post. Your comment that if we are willing to step forward with faith God will help us to be more than we had hoped has reconfirmed to me something I had been feeling strongly about in my personal life. Thank you again for sharing. I love your blog and appreciate how you keep the focus not only on money but on the things in life that truly matter. Have a wonderful time on your trip! What an adventure, so glad you get to go!

  7. Danielle B says

    We’ll be praying for you and your husband’s safety while there and safe return home. The safest place to stand is where God has told you to stand. You’ve been such a source of encouragement for me, especially in terms of giving even when you have little to give. Looking forward to hearing about the trip later!

  8. Amy says

    Thank you for traveling to the DR and taking us with you. Thank you for your generosity and mission to support God’s work there. Thank you for your boldness in sharing about and inviting along your blog readers along in caring for the world’s poor. God is at work through you! I am so encouraged! I will be praying for you and Jesse as you see with your eyes how God is moving in the DR!!

  9. Jennifer says

    I’ll be praying for you!! And thanks for “taking us with you”. I think it is profoundly important to realize the excess we live in and share with those less fortunate, and nothing strengthens that resolve like a trip like this! Enjoy, I bet you will :)

  10. Becky says

    I understand how you feel. After college I did not want an office job quite yet- I was wanting to go see the world and help out where I could. Luckily, my roommate was looking into the Peace Corps and asked me to join her for the informational meeting. I went and knew that is what I was suppose to do. I was stationed in the Caribbean from 2007 to 2009. Although it is the Caribbean, it is not the luxiourious place that people think of all the time. On the dirt road that I lived on people did not have electricity or water. They would carry buckets hundreds of yards or more and would carry laundry to a stream to clean it.

    The Peace Corps was one of the scariest things I ever did- I had traveled out of the country before but never to a place like that. I learned so much, grew up quickly and think about my experiences every day. I even found my soul-mate there.

    One thing to observe while you are down there is the way of life. It is much simplier and less hectic. That is what I miss. Everyone knows everyone and you are more likely to find people hanging out on the side of the road talking then in their homes. That is what I miss most about my experience!

  11. says

    Your words are so inspiring, especially to a very shy person like myself! God bless you for being faithful to HIM and allowing Him to work through you!

    Will be praying for you and your husband during your trip.

  12. Karolyn Castro says

    I currently live in the Dominican Republic (in the capital), if you ever need something while here just let me know…I don’t know if you will be visiting the capital or not…but if in need don’t hesitate to contact me. Drop me an email and I will send you my phone and BB pin in case you need it.

  13. Megan says

    Have a wonderful time, Crystal! I’ve spent a great deal of time in developing countries and one thing that has helped me to integrate and have more authentic experiences is to avoid pity, judgement and comparison at all costs. My motto is: people are people. This helps me deal with any culture shock or surprise at different standards of living. Another helpful approach is to actively seek to learn (skills, attitudes, activities) from the people you meet – rather than thinking about your abundance, recognize theirs.

  14. says

    Crystal – I read this post yesterday and as a fellow Christian, was proud to see you embrace the unknown. It is SO amazing to see God’s hand at work when we get ourselves out of the way!

    Our pastor’s wife forwarded me a link to a sermon by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on this very topic. Perhaps you could download and listen during one of your morning runs. I’ve listened to it myself and found it not only very related to this post, but incredibly encouraging as well.

    May you be blessed and humbled during your trip to the DR. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  15. Amy says

    I went to the DR (& out of the US!) for the first time almost 5 years ago & that experience has continued to rock my world ever since! I’ll be praying for you & your family!!

  16. Crystal says

    I am inspired by your courage! I know you will be blessed and be a blessing! I recently read a book by Kimberly Smith called “Passport through Darkness”. It has changed my heart! I am currently saving money in hopes that one day I will have the funds and the courage to step out of my comfort zone of home to experience what God has in store for me and that I will be able to show others His love! Safe Travels!

  17. Kim says

    My life changed after I spent time in Haiti 13 years ago. I realized how little I needed to be truly happy; little by most American’s standards.
    God bless you and your good works, Crystal!

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