Out of the Comfort Zone… and a "thank you" to YOU!

I’m not exactly a social butterfly. The thought of stepping outside of my comfort zone makes me… well, uncomfortable. But this week I’ll be joining my friend Kristen (she doesn’t know me, but I read her blog every week, which makes her a very comfortable friend) and leaving my comfort zone behind as I travel across state lines to attend a homeschool convention that’s taking place near me. (Kristen is not actually attending this convention [I wish she were!] but overcame fears of her own to attend another convention that was held earlier this year.  Just to clarify.)  In Kristen’s words:

“That would be a real life convention. With people. In real life.”

And I’m going by myself.

“Comfort zone? Completely obliterated.”

My thoughts, exactly.

One of my very best friends, whom I also met on the internet and have never actually met in person (but I have had actual conversations with her – phone conversations, even. Several of them), called me this morning to let me know that she’s going to be attending a convention that is being held close to me, and wanted to know if I could come.

If she’d asked me a year ago, I’d have said no. In fact, when she mentioned it a few months ago I wasn’t too keen on the idea. But a recent series of blog posts from another friend (someone else whom I’ve never actually met) have been encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone more often – which I’ve been doing. In baby steps.

For instance, I’ve been making eye contact with people at the grocery store. I’ve been saying “hi” to people at the library. I even asked a woman I don’t know very well if she’d be interested in meeting up at the park sometime.

Can you tell that I’m much more comfortable in blog land than with real people?

But I’m leaving behind the safety of my computer screen this week to attend a conference with hundreds of people I’ve never met before (unless, of course, you count my friend whom I’ve had phone conversations with.) Not only that, but I’ll be driving there. By myself. In traffic. Oh – and did I mention that I’ll be staying with several other families? Whom I’ve never met before?

I’m terrified.

But I’m excited, too. I’m excited to be stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m excited to be trying something new. I’m excited that I’m going to meet new people and hopefully make some new friends.

And may I take a moment to say that the reason I’m even willing to do this has a lot to do with you? Yes, you. Those of you who read this blog, and especially those who comment. Non-bloggers don’t understand it when I tell them this, but blogging has given me more confidence. In blogging, I’ve found a parallel world where I’m given the freedom to be myself and express myself in whatever way I feel led, and I’ve gathered this little following of readers who have become my friends. I feel supported and encouraged by you, and it’s amazing to have a place where I can be myself and if people don’t like it, they can leave without me ever even knowing it (most of the time!) I’ve learned that I can be myself and make friends. I’ve also learned that not everyone is going to like me (I do get the occasional nasty comment), and I’ve learned how to deal with it (click “delete” and focus on those who support me!) And as I’ve learned how to handle rejection in blog-land, I’ve become more willing to risk it in the real world. The confidence I’ve gained here is slowly starting to leak out there.

So I want to say “thank you” to those of you who have encouraged and supported me through comments and emails, and for those who might be lurking in the background, this would be a really wonderful time for you to come out of hiding because I’d really like to meet you!

And now that I’ve reminded myself of the awesome supporters I have at home… err… across the internet… I feel ready to have an amazing time at the conference. With all those people. In real life. Whom I’ve never met before.

Um… pray for me, ‘yall.

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13 Responses to Out of the Comfort Zone… and a "thank you" to YOU!

  1. Kay says:

    You crack me up! I totally get what you’re saying. Sometimes I’m more comfortable with my ‘imaginary’ internet friends than I am with my IRL friends…and sometimes even feel closer to them too. After all, ‘we’ sometimes share more than we do with our face to face friends. : )

    I’ve met two bloggers in person. And it was a delight to meet both of them. I was very much out of my comfort zone, but had a wonderful time. Bloggers are a kind group. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. : )

  2. Rachel says:

    This is wonderful, Rina! Stretching is good!!! Hard, but good. I’ll put you on a sticky note in the bathroom. That’s priority real estate when it comes to prayer!

  3. Mrs. Parunak says:

    Good for you, Rina! I can totally relate to what you shared here. I am very much an introvert, too. And I love Blogland for all the same reasons you mentioned. I’m very impressed that you’re heading off to this conference by yourself like that. Have a wonderful time! I’ll pray everything goes smoothly.

  4. Elena says:

    Good luck at the conference, I’m sure you’ll meet nice and like-minded people there 😉

  5. Erika says:

    Oh Rina, be blessed by this whole event! Oh my, as I was reading this post today I thought about how I could have written the exact same thing. Well, except for the part where you’re actually climbing out of the box for a few days!! This is such an encouragement today, and a touch convicting, because I think I would have just said no to something like this.

    Have a wonderful time, I will certainly be thinking of you and praying for you.

  6. Quinn says:

    When I first started reading blogs, I always assumed that they were written by very sociable people, but the more I read, the more I realized just how wrong I was. I was surprised that I came across your type of testimony A LOT!

    Being the exact type of person that you have just described yourself as being, I started my own blog a few months ago hoping to take a step in the right direction and out of that comfort zone you describe.

    I’m terribly nervous about taking that next step that I’m so proud of you for making. My scheduled departure out from under the rock that I live is in July – I’m headed to Vision Forum’s Reformation 500 celebration in Boston. Thinking about it gives me butterflies already. 😉

    Hope you have a great time!

    • Rina says:

      I had the most wonderful time, you all! I’m sure I’ll be writing SEVERAL posts about it (working on one now, in fact!) Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your prayers. (And Jo, you should totally start a blog! If you do, please send the link because I’d love to have it.)

  7. Good for you! I hope you have a wonderful time!

  8. Jo says:

    I have been encouraged by reading many of the same things, INCLUDING YOUR BLOG! It almost makes me want to start a blog of my own! 😉 In the same vein, I’ll share that when I tagged along to the nursing home with my preacher-husband this morning, I made a special effort to speak to each resident, and I even looked them in the eyes when I did it! So have FUN, and keep up the good work!

  9. That is wonderful! I will definitely be praying for you and look forward to hearing how it goes..

  10. motherhen68 says:

    Rina, you will have a wonderful time at the convention!

    I hate coming out and meeting w/people. I hate small talk. I hate putting myself out there for people to judge me. And judge they do. I try to not let it bother me, but it does, but then, really, does it matter in the big picture? No LOL.

    Blogging & message boards are so easy to be yourself and be friends with people. I sometimes wonder if it’s because we can be friends on the terms we want. We can answer an email when we get time, but when a friend calls, we might be elbow deep in bread dough or baby poo!

    Take care driving and have a good time. 🙂

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