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Monday, April 13, 2009

Challenge: Keeping in Step With the Spirit

In spite of being married 23 years, I’m not a good cook.

Recently I overheard my husband explain that living with me has been a life-long exercise in “faith-based eating.” Oh, that husband of mine, he’s so funny.

But he’s also so right. Once it was my turn to cook for a group of friends. I played it safe, preparing soup which mainly required opening lots of cans. Imagine my horror when one friend ladled up a deadly-sharp can lid!

My church recently announced a chili cook-off to benefit ALS. In spite of being culinarily challenged, I felt compelled to enter, a move not unlike a tone-deaf person auditioning for American Idol.

For weeks I tried recipe after recipe until I finally concocted a very special original one—which won the competition!

As Kelly Clarkson sang, “Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.” Or at least 23 years.

I’ve been so elated about the win that I’ve not wanted to take off my first-prize apron embroidered, “Grand Champion Chili Chef 2009.” So I’ve been wearing it to school functions, church services, meetings, gynecology appointments, etc.

Oh, I kid. But I just can’t get over the fact that I succeeded in something I never dreamed possible.

My husband and I recently began hosting a small Alpha group, where people come to wrestle with the big questions of life pertaining to faith.

Even though we wanted to participate in Alpha, for the first few weeks, we felt uncomfortable and a little incompetent.

As time passed, though, we forged friendships and shared moments of spiritual growth that we never would have if we hadn't said yes to the opportunity.

Last year, my husband began meeting weekly with a student at a local elementary as part of the Kids’ Hope Program. At first George felt awkward and insecure, but the student’s enthusiastic anticipation of their weekly meeting has affirmed George’s sense of purpose in Kids’ Hope.

So maybe old dogs can learn new tricks. Because we were willing to feel uncomfortable for a little while, we’re leading a group. George now has a precious new friend. And the world has a brand new chili recipe that totally rocks!

If we’re willing to find the places where God is at work and step into the game, we can shake off routine and make a difference. A little bit of discomfort can do a body and spirit good.

Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Is God calling you to take a step somewhere out of your comfort zone today? What will you miss if you don’t? What might you gain if you do?

Please visit Linda Crow at her personal blog:

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Blogger Denise said...

Awesome post, thank you for sharing.

April 13, 2009 at 2:05 AM  
Blogger Beth in NC said...

Linda, that is so funny about your cooking. Congratulations on the award!

What a great reminder to step out of our comfort zones. The impossible is possible with God!

Bless you!

April 13, 2009 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Linda, You are a delight as always.... Neat apron and great message this morning. HUGS!

April 13, 2009 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Great word, Linda... I love how you both followed your hearts, not allowing your lack of confidence to keep you back. What a gift you are giving to others in the midst. If it was all about what we could do on our own we would surely miss out on alot of life, wouldn't we?

Thanks again for sharing your heart so beautifully!

April 13, 2009 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Lisajo said...

Thank you for this heart-warming post! Congratulations on the chilli cookoff and bless you both for stepping out of your comfort zones. This post is truly an inspiration!

April 13, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

You da man! Congratulations!

Thanks for the encouragement. I almost NEVER want to
"step out" unless I am positively sure that every detail will work out perfectly. (A not-so-pretty first-born trait.) But you are sooooooooooo right about stepping out of the comfort zone - good things are waiting!

And now, a question . . . Can I have the chili recipe?

April 13, 2009 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Rona's Home Page said...

I shared your win with my husband. We got a great chuckle out of reading all the places you wore your apron.
You go girl!
Yes, trying new things...going on a different path can be very rewarding.

April 13, 2009 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Jean Campbell said...

Just read yesterdays notes.
Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I too am not sure about stepping out of the comfort zone.
You have encouraged me.

April 14, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Excellent devotional, Linda. I love how you've moved out of your comfort zone, relying on faith. I am inspired!

April 14, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger BizzieLizzie said...

Yep, I'm with some of the others here - stepping out of my comfort zone - being introverted as all get out - is one of the HARDEST tasks I know. Thanks for sharing your story! I work on my "task" of stepping out and pray for Guidance and His Hands to lead me all the way! Couldnt' do it without Him!! Your story is GREAT!!

April 14, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

I am so uncomfortable in this zone, I am starting to twitch. :>) Still waiting to see what He is wanting me to do. Thanks for this post!

April 14, 2009 at 2:35 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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