(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)
Most of us like to be comfortable. We adjust the volume, temperature, lighting, seat in the car, flip the mattress, loosen our belt, fluff our pillow, and wear more layers in the winter, and on and on. Our comfort is important to us. Interestingly, most growth typically occurs during times of discomfort and uncertainty. It is usually uncomfortable to try new things; to risk failing. Without the attempt (and risk) of some new activity, we will miss the opportunity to grow. I want to be a participant in life and not just a spectator. As a parent I want this same attitude for my kids. I want them to occasionally be uncomfortable so that they can experience growth. Our 16 year old son Zach just returned from a mission trip to El Salvador. Michele Stephens, Worship and Creative Arts Leader at Faith Promise Church, was leading the trip. Michele asked (probably strongly encouraged) Zach to give his testimony at a service one evening. Zach is a drummer and loves (and is comfortable) to play in front of large crowds. However, like most people, speaking in front of a crowd and sharing his testimony, is uncomfortable for Zach. Zach, like kids will often do when in an uncomfortable (but great opportunity to grow) situation, appealed to Mom (or Dad) to eliminate the discomfort. I was so proud of my wife Emily. Rather than contacting Michele and requesting that Zach not have to share in public, she equipped and encouraged him. Emily coached Zach to simply share about his relationship with the Lord, how he came to accept Jesus and how God has gifted him musically. Was Zach probably still uncomfortable? Sure. Did he grow from the experience? You bet.
Parents, are we willing to be uncomfortable and for our kids to be uncomfortable, to experience growth?
Note: Emily and I have intentionally Widened the Circle of Influence on Zach to include Michele. If you would like to know more about Widening the Circle and other Family Values click here.