The other day I was in my backyard, which is still “under construction.” We recently built a new home and a portion of the yard has several underground streams, creating a muddy mess that won’t be solved until spring and drier weather come our way.
Sitting in the muck and mire were two pieces of heavy equipment, one of which my wife’s uncle John (and our builder) needed for another job. But getting the Bobcat out of our yard was proving to be a challenge. He was going to have to tow it out with a bulldozer, but needed someone to drive the Bobcat during the tow.
“Can I help?” I asked.
“You ever driven a Bobcat?”
“Nope,” I replied. “But if you can teach me I’ll try.”
I didn’t think much of it when I offered. How much trouble could it be to sit in a Bobcat while it is being towed out of the mud and up, onto the road? I’d never driven any equipment like this, but what could go wrong?
In a minute or two, John taught me the basics and I was ready to go. But then, he said one thing that triggered more thinking. “I just don’t want you to get hurt,” he said.
“How in the world would I get hurt?”
I should not have asked.
“I’m going to be pulling you with a lot of power; when this thing (pointing at the Bobcat I was sitting in) grabs onto the road, if you don’t pull back on it quickly, you’re going to run right into me.”
Suddenly I was out of my comfort zone. I’m not a big fan of pain, so this new piece of information was somewhat disconcerting.
At this point however, I didn’t see a way to back out. Men aren’t supposed to run and hide in these situations. So I sat, waiting. Several scenarios rushed through my head, not one of them good. After brief consideration of all outcomes, I figured my best bet was anything short of a trip to the emergency room.
The good news is, none of this took place. Once he began tugging I got a feel for the Bobcat, and by the time we were out of the mud and going up the incline toward the road, I was almost comfortable. When we hit the blacktop, I pulled back as taught and there were no crashes, no bumps and, most of all, no bruised ego on my part.
My 7-year-old son was watching and told my wife, “Daddy can drive a tractor!” In five minutes, I had gone from fear of failure (and a fear of pain, I suppose) to becoming a hero in my son’s eyes.
Sometimes, we are forced out of our comfort zones. Some of us thrive on this; others of us (like me) tend to cringe.
We can talk all day about how God moves us out of our comfort zones in order to build our faith, and I get that. Still, growth is not easy. Can’t God just give me the faith without the tests? Apparently, not.
In pregnancy help work, we are forced out of our comfort zones often. To best reach those who need us most, we must constantly be innovative. The “way we’ve always done it”—whether in our services, marketing, or our approach to those we see—forces an overhaul in our thinking at least every few years.
In our work, if we ever settle into a comfort zone, we will not rest there long.
We will always need to try something new, something different. These attempts will sometimes be wildly successful, but at times we will fall short and be forced to try again.
On the Bobcat, my first try turned out well. I might even drive the thing again one day. Looking back on this relatively insignificant moment in my life, I ask, “Why did I step out and give something new a try, having no idea whether I might help, or perhaps make a difficult situation worse?”
Though I didn’t realize it at the moment, my offer to jump on that machinery was simply because my desire to help outweighed any concerns. Not only was a problem solved, but to my son looking on, I became more than a dad who writes on his computer. For a moment, I was a hero.
It’s the same for us as we reach out to those in unintended pregnancies and those facing challenging life situations.
We offer our hand because we know someone must be there to assist, to help, to offer hope. And we will do whatever it takes, even if our initiatives take us far out of our comfort zones.
We need to take a look around our organizations. Where do we need to take on a new challenge that’s more than our comfort zone can handle?
If we take that step of faith, we might fall short. But we might also succeed and see lives changed.
And who knows? To someone we do not realize is watching our step of faith (a client, perhaps?), we might become a hero.