Grateful to God for 2 Uncomfortable Calls

Grateful for the uncomfortable journey outside my comfort zoneGod put people in my life who guided me to this place.

Many people have influenced my journey, but two are top of mind as I contemplate this season of life. One was my dear friend and pastor, the other a perfect stranger. Both inspired pivotal turns toward my present position.

My dear friend called me out of the kitchen.

I baked casseroles and cookies for the church’s Helping Hands committee when she joined my church as Associate Pastor. Comfortable in this commitment to serve while raising young children, I couldn’t foresee the impact of her arrival.

I’d never heard such passionate prayer. Her praise and pleas reflected real relationship. Having recited written prayers since my youth, I yearned for that kind of connection. She expressed deep love for God and exposed a humble, repentant heart.

Simultaneously, she led my first Bible study during which I discovered biblical Truth by following the thread of God’s love story woven throughout scripture. I responded with love for the one who loves me and my relationship with God began.

Then she called me into discomfort.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."She recognized the God-given gift of leadership in me though I’d only ever co-led the cheer squad. With trepidation, she and I co-led my first group. Praying out loud with listening participants petrified me. My palms sweat. My heart pounded. I lost sleep with worry.

With experience and confidence, I flourished during the following 15 years leading Bible study groups. I felt God’s pleasure as I joyfully operated in His will for my life. I called it His sweet spot.

Then I met a stranger.

She and I shared one week on a tour bus in Israel. Perhaps she noticed my copious scribbling, jotting down every nugget the tour guide provided. My love for learning was on full displayed.

She sprinkled some discomfort on my sweet spot.

One evening she suggested seminary… strongly recommended I apply… encouraged me and provided inspiration with her own seminary journey. I’d never considered it. Me? Seminary? At this ripe old age?

Sure, I’d joked with my students that I’d have fun learning Greek in order to uncover nuanced scriptural meaning. But the thought of taking a test terrified me. My stomach churned at the idea of writing a paper for a professor to read and evaluate.

The terrifying thought also excited me.

Welcome new students to Gordon-Conwell Theological SeminaryThe seminary seed took root and a year later I walked into my first lecture. The sweaty palms and pounding heart returned temporarily, but calmed as I gobbled up every morsel of knowledge.

A total stranger instilled courage to look past the discomfort.

God positioned these people in my life with precise timing. I am grateful to God for guiding me to greater service. I am grateful to these two women for their bold call. I am grateful that I adventured with God into both uncomfortable undertakings. I am grateful for where He has placed me now.

In part, I attribute my present position as writer, speaker, and lay pastor to these calls to stretch outside my comfort zone. I can still bake cookies and casseroles, and doing so pleased God in that season of my life. But when I review what God has done in my life since that time, His strength and courage empower me to risk again.

  • Abraham packed up his family and followed God into the unknown and became father of Israel. Genesis 12
  • The despised enemy Moabite Ruth, followed her mother-in-law back to Israel and became the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth 1
  • God’s angel found Gideon hiding from enemy Midianites but called him “a man of valor.” Then Gideon lead the Israelites to great victory. Judges 6-7

This is why God calls us to remember His work in our lives. He knows that remembering His faithfulness in the past helps us trust Him for the future.

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
Psalm 77:11-13

Your turn:

  • Name one or two people who gave you critical guidance
  • Notice the circumstances and timing of your meeting and conversation
  • Wonder if God placed them in your path with perfect timing
  • Thank God for His faithfulness
  • Thank your people for their encouragement and inspiration

#seedsofscripture #everydaygratitude #everydaythanks #thanksgiving2023 #godguided #pivotalmoments #psalm77 #isaiah30


  1. Hope on November 23, 2023 at 9:10 AM

    God has placed me in service with the homeless and has given me the opportunity to listen and sometimes comfort them. At the very least I have been able to to let them know they are not forgotten.

    • CathyChung on November 24, 2023 at 11:16 AM

      Wonderful! You know my heart is with those experiencing homelessness too. I know they feel loved when you listen.

  2. J.D. Wininger on November 24, 2023 at 8:38 AM

    My adopted dad has to top that list my friend. A quiet man from western Massachusetts, he knew just what a street-savvy, wayward young man needed. The other, my 6’5″ little brother, Paul. He was legally blind and epileptic. Yet, he lived life more fully than any three men. Not only was he a barefoot water skiing champion, he was a man of great faith and left a legacy of faith and love that is continuing to this day to bring people to Christ, in both his family and his wife’s.

    • CathyChung on November 24, 2023 at 11:25 AM

      Thanks for sharing about your little brother J.D. Remarkable. I, too, am thankful for your adopted dad who plucked you from the streets with kindness, love and guidance. You could have been TROUBLE! Actually, I’m sure you were. Hee, hee.

  3. Marilyn Nutter on November 24, 2023 at 9:54 AM

    I reluctantly moved to a new town but God had positioned a mentor for me who has been a lifelong friend. Her passion to study and know God’s Word was contagious and God used her in my uncomfortable situation to change the direction of my life.

    • CathyChung on November 24, 2023 at 11:16 AM

      How wonderful! Sounds similar to my journey, always a Christian but the passion for God’s Word brought life to my faith. I’m sure you are now inspiring others.

  4. Yvonne Morgan on December 1, 2023 at 1:47 PM

    God’s stretching me has made me the person I am today and have been a blessing. Thanks Cathy for this great message

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