Looking back to my college days I remember how much I hated being in small groups. I to this day have a love/hate relationship with them. I value small groups because transformation happens in the circles of the church. In the circle you are known and you know others. For some the circle can be a little intimidating and for others it can be invigorating. We are made to be in community, we thrive when we are in community and when we are not in community we stop growing. So back to my the college days, as much as I hated small groups, I had to take a class on working with groups (you know social work major). I remember sitting in class on the days we did a mock group and I would try with everything in me to not speak the entire class. We rotated who was leading the group and what type of group we were doing that day. I would avoid eye contact with the person leading (often looking down) and if they were doing more than just a psychoeducation group (where informations provided mostly) then my heart was racing and I was just trying to push through to the end of class without being noticed. Fast forward many years, and I am choosing to be a part of something called Rooted at my church, because that was how you got connected to community and it was required to be able to serve in most areas. So I sat in my Rooted group typically slightly behind the tall girl next to me, at the opposite end of the table from the leader and I spoke only when necessary or if it was a simple question I could answer that was fact based. The racing heart had mostly gone away over the years but I still was nervous and did not want to speak. Then something crazy happened, I knew that when it ended I was supposed to become one of those leaders that I avoided. So I decided to try this out, and God was so faithful to ease me into this process. I co-led two times with people that were exactly who I needed to co-lead with at that time. Then in my internship, I ended up leading several groups (at least 2 a week) for about 9 months. God, knowing that this area of transformation was going to take some time, gave me small steps. Fast forward to now, I am still leading Rooted (by myself this time) and I decided to try out this thing called IMPACT. IMPACT is a program for developing Spirit powered leaders. Jumping back into the fire, putting myself back into a small group as a participant has been interesting. I dreaded the group time the first few weeks but I knew that God was preparing me to grow. Then all of a sudden last night as I was walking out of work to go to IMPACT the craziest thing happened, I was actually excited to go and see my group and participate. I stopped myself mid-thought and went when did this happen? Something clicked over the last 2 weeks and now, while I still get a bit nervous in groups I don’t dread them.
God transformed that area of my life, and while for some transformation happens very quickly, others of us it needs to take a little longer. While we might not see how God is moving in our lives, He is moving and guiding us towards Him. He is continuously giving us opportunity to grow. We choose how to respond to the opportunities. I know that I had to make a choice, multiple times to step outside of my comfort zone in order to grow and develop into who God has called me to be. How are you stepping outside of your comfort zone? Are you staying put because its easy? Are you satisfied with where you are or is there more you dream about?