Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

God always has a plan and a purpose for our obedience.

Teach a classroom full of hormone-driven eighth graders? No problem.

Stand in front of my church to make announcements? Sign me up.

Share my testimony in front of a group of educators? Let’s go.

Rap in front of the entire middle school in a pep rally? No sweat.

Drive around town asking for sponsorships so I can host an AWAKE Experience at my church? Hold up, now.

This past summer, I had the pleasure of attending an AWAKE Experience in Glen Eyrie, CO. It changed my life. It renewed my calling as an educator, revived a part of me that I thought had long since been gone, reminded me why I started teaching in the first place, and restored what Satan had taken away from me after years of trying my best to survive in a public school. By the end of my time there, I knew I had to bring this experience back to my small hometown in Kentucky.

So, I began talking with my local Christian Educators network as soon as I got back home, and they agreed to help me plan the event. I knew the process would stretch muscles I’d never even flexed before, but I also knew the discomfort would be worth it. I knew this AWAKE Experience could restore the other educators I cared for so deeply in the same way that I was restored in Glen Eyrie.

Educators find purpose and community with other local educators at the Kentucky AWAKE Experience.

Now, an in-person event obviously requires funding, right? Apparently, that didn’t occur to me as my overly-excited self decided to jump head-first into hosting an AWAKE Experience at my church. I was only thinking about how much this event would benefit my fellow educators, not what it would require behind the scenes in order to make it happen. 

Again, I am totally comfortable with doing many things. In fact, after spending many years teaching eighth graders, I thought I was immune to discomfort. But ask people for donations so I could host my event? No thanks. This was something I was definitely not comfortable doing, so I put the fundraising on the back burner. 

Enter my fearless Kentucky leader, Roger Dillon, who is always there to challenge me in the gentlest of ways… 

“Morgan, how are your sponsorships coming along?” 

I didn’t want to admit it, but I truthfully told him, “Well, Roger…about that. I don’t have a dime!” 

Through the course of our conversation, I realized that I was letting my fear get in the way. But, thankfully, Roger’s encouragement motivated me to “just give it a try.”

So, the next day I set out to ask for sponsorships. I drove all over our small tri-county area, visiting local businesses and people with a vested interest in either education or Jesus. Satan fought me every mile of the trip. I was low on gas and time. And, I did not want to beg people for money. Regardless, I wound up visiting multiple places. Everyone was friendly and took my flier, but overall, I wasn’t having the most successful morning. 

It was almost lunchtime as I was leaving what I thought was my last stop of the day when, suddenly, I felt God’s prompting to visit the Pepsi® plant across the street. 

I thought, God…are you really calling me to ask Pepsi for money for a Christian Educators event? Is this really where you want me to go? It’s lunchtime. I’m hungry. Pepsi won’t want to give us money. They don’t even know anything about Christian Educators!

Reluctantly, I obeyed. I drove across the street and forced myself to get out of my car. I was so uncomfortable. Eminem’s famous line “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy” is the best way to describe how I was feeling. Nevertheless, I persisted. 

Educators find purpose and community with other local educators at the Kentucky AWAKE Experience.

When I walked into the office, I was greeted by a young woman with a kind smile. I handed her my flier, and then mentally prepared to walk right back out as quickly as I had walked in.

But before I could even turn around, the kind young woman said, “I know this logo.” 

“What logo?” I asked, totally perplexed.

She pointed to my business card which sported the old Christian Educators logo and said, “I’m a member of this organization. I get their daily devotionals every morning. It inspires me so much!”

“You’re a member of Christian Educators? But you work at Pepsi,” I replied in complete confusion.

“Yes, I work at Pepsi, but I am in school at Asbury University working on my teaching degree. I’ll be student teaching in the fall, and I’m a student member of Christian Educators.”

In awe of the way God had rewarded my obedience, I literally danced a jig in the office of that Pepsi plant. I was amazed that He had placed a member of Christian Educators in that building on that day just for me. 

After inviting her to attend my AWAKE Experience and then chatting for a few more minutes, I left the Pepsi plant feeling blessed.

But, God wasn’t done yet. 

As I made my way through the parking lot back to my car, I ran into a former student with whom I had grown close and counseled through some difficult times while she was in my class. We were able to reconnect and catch up right in that Pepsi parking lot after I had spent years wondering how she was doing. I invited her to attend my AWAKE Experience as well. Again, I was in awe that God had placed someone else along my path that morning.

Ultimately, Pepsi did not make a donation and neither one of the young women God placed in my path that day attended my AWAKE Experience. However, I believe that God used all of this to teach me that He has a purpose for my obedience, especially when I step out of my comfort zone. 

Educators find purpose and community with other local educators at the Kentucky AWAKE Experience.

When it was all said and done, I was able to secure adequate funding for the event, and it was a success. On the day of the event, I spoke with so many teachers who said the AWAKE Experience transformed the way they viewed their careers. One even said, “It’s hard to sacrifice a Saturday for ‘one more thing.’ But this is not ‘one more thing!’ This reminded me of ‘the One Thing’—the most important thing! It was well worth it.”

Public speaking may still be my sweet spot, but I sure am glad I obeyed when God called me out of my comfort zone that day. If I hadn’t, I would not have experienced the blessing resulting from those two divinely ordained encounters. 

My prayer is that my story inspires you to follow God's promptings, even if it requires you to step out of your comfort zone...even if you find yourself in an unexpected place like the lobby of a Pepsi plant. Trust Him. He always has a plan and a purpose for your obedience.  

Would you like to discover the ways God is already using you as His ambassador in your school? Would you like encouragement to work more powerfully with Jesus in your teaching ministry? If so, consider joining us at an AWAKE (Ambassadors Working As Kingdom Educators) Experience. During this one-day transformational experience, Christian educators will:
  • Spend time alone with God
  • Connect with other Christian educators
  • Study and apply Scriptural truths to their lives
  • Receive training about legal freedoms in public schools
  • Discover transforming truths about the role of educators in schools
Click here for more information about the Christian Educators AWAKE Experience.

Morgan Preston is a former middle school language arts and social studies teacher. She is currently Christian Educators’ Marketing and Communications Coordinator and serves her middle school students and teachers through First Priority.


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