Getting out of the comfort zone
I might know a thing or two about being out of my comfort zone.
I mean, moving to a new country, living among neighbors who speak a different language, eating a lot of new foods, and not having any form of getting myself around sans help might just qualify me as someone out of her comfort zone.
Let’s put it this way. After getting married, Shun-Luoi would often remark, “Wouldn’t it be so great to move our family overseas to live for a time?” to which I would usually freak out, both internally and frequently outwardly. Nope, I had never had that thought. That didn’t sound “great” to me on any level, really. And while I promise I did not move to Thailand kicking and screaming and that I really do believe coming here was God’s best thing for our family, I am out of my comfort zone.
Being out of that zone can be really hard. On the other hand, it can be really rich. I am trying things I never thought I would try. I am doing things I never thought I could. Sometimes, I “fail.” Sometimes I don’t. It’s all part of it. However, even though I don’t have to try to get out of my comfort zone these days, I still try to be intentional to try new things and attempt new challenges each week.
Here’s an example. Two Swedish families live near us (Note: there are many westerners based in Chiang Mai while they do work with different NGO’s … living near Swedish folks isn’t all that weird of a phenomenon here.) and one of the families has 4 kids, 2 of whom are boys the ages of Abigail and Elijah. After meeting the family, the dad invited us down to play anytime. Awesome! But there’s one small “hitch” – the boys speak mainly Swedish and Thai. But hey, my kids need playmates and would it really matter to the kids that they speak different languages?
I won’t lie. A playdate with the Swedish kids went on my “challenges to undertake” list. Not because the kids didn’t speak the same language, but also because their nanny speaks Thai, which means I would be able to communicate with her very little. However, because my comfort really wasn’t the most important thing, I knew we needed to take that play date challenge sooner than later after meeting these particular neighbors.
We went for it about 1.5 weeks ago. I asked someone if I needed to call and make arrangements with the nanny for us to come over. Nope, no need for that, I was told – just show up and see if they’re home (everything is much less scheduled here; I’m sure in time I will enjoy that aspect of Thai culture ;)). So, off we went – Elijah and Abigail excited to play with some friends and let’s be honest, to play with some fresh toys, and me excited about the opportunity for my kids, but also a bit apprehensive at how it would all go.
I wish you could have seen it. These four little blonde kids checked each other out, the 2 little Swedes brought their toys to my kids to share with them, and eventually, the 3 boys played while Abigail did some cooking at the play kitchen. The boys’ nanny and I would engage different kids, I helped the older Swedish boy with counting in English, and Elijah chattered away like his new friends could understand him perfectly. The nanny and I communicated mostly through smiles. And do you know what? Everyone survived. And beyond survival, everything went well! I often just wanted to sit back and laugh at the entire scenario; it really was comical at times.
I am grateful we went. I’m grateful God is giving me the grace to put myself/us out there to try new things even though I have to intentionally plan for such times. Our entire family is being stretched and challenged in ways we never would be if we just holed up in our “comfort zone,” whatever that is right now. It’s scary at times, but I’m finding the apprehension of trying the new things is scarier than actually doing them 98% of the time. And so my confidence is growing … and so am I.
What about you? What are some new challenges you’ve tried as of late? How did they go?