God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through. (Francis Chan)
When I returned to Ohio this summer, I decided to practice the lessons I learned in DTS while at home. I asked God to give me obedience challenges—to stretch me beyond my comfort zone… to do things I normally wouldn’t… to reach out to strangers… to live with a “Yes” in my heart before I even heard what He was asking me to do.
God took me at my word and definitely stretched me! Below are 10 highlights from my summer at home. Although each act of obedience may not seem huge, they were a big deal for me. They helped me face fears and discover the excitement of taking risks and fully trusting Jesus.
Day 1: Help a homeless person. We’ve all seen someone who looks like him—a homeless man holding a sign that reads, “We all need a little help sometimes.” When I saw him, I felt that little nudge inside and knew I couldn’t pass him by. I knew God was trying to get my attention. So I stopped and talked to the man. He told me about his kids who needed help and I felt that same little nudge again. So I reached into my pocket and pulled out some money. And although I may never see this man again, I pray that this small act of kindness and obedience would have powerful ripples in his life.
Day 2: Pray with an unbeliever. One afternoon, I felt that nudge again. My grandma’s next door neighbor had come over. He was helping me organize items for my missions garage sale fundraiser. We got deep in conversation and I learned that his son was quite sick. That’s when I felt the nudge—God wanted me to pray with my grandma’s neighbor. I was pretty sure he wasn’t a believer and I was nervous at first. But I gathered up my strength and asked him if I could pray with him. This elderly man not only accepted my offer of prayer, but he poured out his heart to me too. He told me that they feared his son could die soon. Together, we bowed our heads and prayed. A few weeks later, I learned that his son had completely recovered!
Day 3: Give a ride to strangers. After enjoying lunch with a friend one Sunday afternoon, we walked outside and saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench. “You both look really nice today,” I told them. Within moments we were caught up in conversation, and then they asked me for a ride home. Every instinct told me that this was a crazy idea. I’d just met them and had no idea what they were really like. But I felt that nudge again and knew Jesus wanted me to give them a ride home. So, together, my friend and I drove them home. We had amazing conversations in the car. The man kept talking about how important it was for Christians to not have double standards, but to show our love for Jesus through our actions to others. Although this was my obedience challenge, I truly learned so much from my conversations with this couple.
Day 4: Invite someone to church. I felt God asking me to invite others to church. So I did. Everyone I asked said no. But I kept asking others anyway. In the end, I discovered a little bit of what Jesus must have felt like to be rejected. I hope that even though each person said no, a seed was planted in their hearts to want to know Jesus.
Day 5: Buy someone groceries. God challenged me to be generous like He is generous. So, my friend and I decided to go buy groceries for strangers. We went to Meijer’s grocery store and had an awesome conversation with one of the greeters who told us “we made her day” by talking with her. After our conversation ended, my friend and I wandered through the store praying quietly. Each of us asked God who we should help. I saw a lady pushing her grocery cart down the aisle and instantly knew she was the one I was to help. My friend found a lady struggling to complete her shopping while balancing her baby on her hip. Both of them were shocked when we paid for their groceries!
Day 6: Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen. I volunteered for a local church ministry to feed the homeless. Although I know the food blessed them, I felt I got way more out of my time with them than they did from me. After we ate, we had a worship time together. I got the chills when I saw how hungry they were for God and how passionate they were to dedicate their lives to Him.
Day 7: Join the worship team. I love worship! But the thought of standing in front of other people and leading them into God’s presence scared me to death. However, I felt God nudging me to step past my fears and join the Valleyview church worship team as a backup vocalist. And guess what? I loved every minute of it!
Day 8: Random acts of service. Several times, I visited one of my past clients from when I was a caregiver. She’s like family to me! I brought her dinner and washed and styled her hair. I also took my grandma grocery shopping several times and found other ways to serve her. And I went on a youth camping trip to serve the youth group and help out the leaders. Most of all, I discovered that serving others is a blast!
Day 9: Be creative. Hmm…artwork for missions anyone? I enjoyed painting and it felt good to create this painting to raise funds for missions. But I can’t say that I want to spend the rest of my life painting!Day 10: Do something radical. I’m on the verge of a whole new risky adventure. Last week, I packed up my bags and moved to Madison, Wisconsin to join YWAM as a full time missionary. I’m not sure what obedience challenges the future holds. But I am learning that doing something radical often looks like doing lots of little acts of obedience. Although these tiny acts of obedience don’t always seem like they’re creating huge change, they definitely pile up!
I’m definitely still in the early stages of learning how to obey God’s still small voice. I’m definitely still growing. But I’m excited to see how God leads me.
How about you? What’s your 10 day obedience challenge? I’d love to hear about your journey!