I Can’t Possibly Do This!

I was in full-blown panic mode. My husband and I volunteered at our church’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration and were assigned to serve on the parking team.


On the parking team.

Including cars I’ve hit in my own driveway and the mailbox I took out, I’ve had a total of nine wrecks.

I can’t parallel park and I’m terrible at directions.

When I told my mother and daughters the news, Katie laughed until she cried. Mother said, “Julie. No. It’s too dangerous.” Jamie only said one word. “MOMMMMMMMMMMMM!”

When Rick and I arrived for duty, we were given official Walkie-Talkies, neon-green vests and lanyards, and flashlights.

I’m not doing this. I can’t. I don’t know how.

During our training session, my heart pounded so hard that I couldn’t speak.

After we prayed, I raised my hand.”Um. This is way out of my comfort zone. Please fire me. I’ll do anything else but–”

“We aren’t firing anybody.” The man in charge smiled. “I’ll find just the right spot for you.”

Trapped, I hopped on his golf cart, and we zipped to a driveway blocked by cones.

“All you have to do is keep cars from turning in here.” He gave me his umbrella and a couple of bottled waters. Then my father-in-law brought me a chair.

About an hour later, an elderly gentleman asked for help. He had a bad leg and couldn’t keep walking.

I felt God’s fearless love explode inside me.

I knew exactly what to do.

I gave the man my chair, a bottle of cold water, and radioed for a golf cart. 

Then something even better happened.

During the fireworks, Katie texted me this picture below and these words:

“Our first Fourth of July together.” 

Blinking back happy tears, it hit me.

ONLY when you step out of your comfort zone do you get front row seats.

And God’s standing right there with you.

That’s where the magic happens. 

(Katie’s holding her stepdaughter. For more of their story, click here. )

(blog idea came during this sermon, “Fearless, by Miles Welch. 

Can you relate?

Some of you’ve recently stepped out of your comfort zone. How’s it going?

Are you thinking about doing something a little scary?





  1. Love, love, love!!!!!! “ONLY when you step out of your comfort zone do you get front row seats.” Wow, just WOW!!! I would be scared to death as well. Me??? Parking cars??? I would have been your best side kick. LOL!!! We would have been inseparable.

    • I just love your comment, Felicia!!!!!! Yep, we’d have been best buddies at the fireworks!

      I couldn’t believe it was actually happening……nightmare! But it was amazing, once I had front row seats.

      xoxo thank you!

  2. Julie Gilleand says:

    I love how your instincts kicked in when something (someone) required your heart and compassion! I’ll bet that made the job something more real and from your heart, than just a set of directions to follow, huh? I’m like you (surprise, surprise) in that I am terrible at giving directions to people! I think that has to do with left brain/right brain people! Creative people (like writers, for example) are right-brain people and tend not to think as logically and rationally as left-brain people do. At least that’s my story! What came to mind as I read this was the time I worked for an airline. Mostly my job was to sell tickets, check people in for flights and tag their bags, but one day a week I had ramp duty. This entailed loading and unloading bags from and to the plane, cleaning inside the plane between flights, and my favorite — marshalling the planes in and out of their parking spot. Marshalling is what they called guiding the plane with the orange sticks. When I was a kid I always wanted to be the person with the orange sticks in front of the plane and I got to do that!! However I was only good at marshalling them OUT of their parking space as they prepared to take off. Marshalling them in was another story! Getting them precisely into position so that their wings didn’t crash into anything, and to where they could line up with the jet bridge if needed required precise judgment, considering the length and dimensions of an airplane. That was way over my head! But once they were in that precise position, it was no sweat to just signal to the pilot when the propellers were in motion and when they were clear to back up out of that space. Once they did that, I gave the pilot a salute with one of my orange sticks and he (or she) would give me a thumbs up! I just loved that part! This was definitely out of my comfort zone, though, doing that job, and it was also short-lived, but my passion for aviation took over and helped me do it just as your COMpassion took over and helped you! Thanks for some good memories today!

    Leafy Julie

    • EXACTLY!!! Leafy, that’s how it felt.

      And I never thought of the right/brain left brain stuff, but you’re SO right. While our leader was explaining it my mind just floated away. I couldn’t make myself pay attention and learn how to do it. My husband aced it! We ended up having 7,000 people–we were prepared, but still, I was so happy to be placed right where I was. Thank You, God.

      Love your thoughts on my compassion with the gentleman. And hearing about your job at the airlines! Yep, truly we are sisters!!!!

  3. Julie, that’s precious. I’m so with you … I could never park cars. That’s why I don’t snow ski … or skate … I’m a hazard. 🙂 But sweet friend, you had the best seat! God placed you right where He wanted and needed you, in spite of your fears … and used you to minister to that man. And your daughter … just precious. Yay! xo

  4. so glad you’re always showing us the way out of our comfort zone my friend ox

    • Sometimes, Rob, it seems we’re literally tossed out of our comfort zones–like a baby bird from her nest.


  5. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you, Julie!(((: I needed to hear this today! I am learning to drive and ugh, I cannot stand learning how to park. So far I have taken out 30 or 40 imaginary cars while I have been practicing. Hope you had a fantastic holiday and I know that your church appreciated all your help. So glad to see a pic of the fireworks! Did you have traditional 4 th of July fare?
    P. S. After reading about Katie, I remembered that Disney channel has a great show called Princess Sofia all about a good step-mom who married a king.(;

    • PATRICIA!! We’re so much alike, it’s not even funny. You know what? I failed my driver’s license test twice b/c I couldn’t parallel park. Finally, my dad found a county where you didn’t have to, and I passed!! Okay, I’ll be praying for you as you learn (and you will) to do this!

      Yes, we have one in our little town–a Fourth of July parade.

      I”ll tell Katie the scoop on the movie!! She’ll love watching it…along with her new stepdaughter.

      Thank you. and praying for your one-day husband to be–wherever he is today.

  6. Anna Haney says:

    Love this. And it’s so true! Getting out of my comfort zone is harder to do the older I get, but it’s usually always worth it. Thank you for sharing

    • For sure, Anna. It DOES get harder. Never thought about it, but you’re absolutely right.

      Love you, my friend. Thanks for being such a beautiful encourager.

  7. marie says:

    Look at you go, girl! God placed you right where you needed to be “for such a time as this” for the man that needed assistance. How sweet!

    Being called big time out of my comfort zone. I signed up for Carols Kent Speak Up Conference back in February and it’s in a couple of weeks. Can’t help but wonder why in the world I’m doing this–others are way more qualified, and I don’t even know what I’m called to speak on. Crazy, isn’t it!

    After reading your post, I’m hoping that when it’s over, I’ll be oohing and ahhhing over fireworks of God’s making because right now, I’m terrified!

    • Marieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I’m so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!! Ohhhh, this is amazing!!!

      You’re going to have fireworks going off all over the placed. Please, please, please let us know how it goes. Can’t wait to hear!!!!!

      Totally thrilled for you. Big time!

  8. Nancy Griggs says:

    Loved this Julie. I am currently involved in an apprentice training to be a small Facebook group leader for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. This is totally out of my comfort zone. I have had to learn how to do many things that are new for me. The Lord is so good and gives me the right help just when I need it.

    • Nancy, I love it! I’m so proud of you!!!! I’m jumping up and down in my chair!!

      Thrilled for you!!!!!

      Isn’t it just amazing when we do something out of our comfort zone b/c we have to say, “Help me, God. I can’t do this w/out you.”


  9. I stepped back into chemo world yesterday and I was a jittery, shaking, mess. Not one, not two, but 3 different chemo drugs now. Oy. I even had to sign something that acknowledged I was choosing to do this treatment. Its an unusual circumstance when you are faced with making your “comfort zone,” out of some really uncomfortable things. But I wasn’t alone. My phone buzzed notifications all day long- so many prayers being said, so much love surrounding me and my family. God’s presence, was shining through everywhere.

    Your blog post is a beautiful reflection of what can happen, when we look to him to lead us, and we follow- despite the fear, the terror, etc., we feel. xoxo

    • I prayed for you at our porch party yesterday morning, Vicky, and so many times during the day.

      Makes me so happy to know your phone was full of “love-buzzes.” It’s like God was texting you–almost.

      I think if we weren’t tossed out of our comfort zones, maybe we’d try to live without His help. I know I would. And I have.

      Love you, my beautiful friend.

  10. donna says:

    Few years back I volunteered to help at the Nevada County fair, signing up for possibly sitting in the display buildings, directing and watching over things; or working the ticket booth; or patrolling the grounds; or, last choice, parking cars. When I went back for my assignment, they had me down for parking cars….. what? at 70 years old? directing cars out in the busy, dusty parking area? Driving home that day, I thought it was the craziest picture, me doing that; but I figured they must think I can do it!?! Yep, like you, Julie, got my vest, my walkie-talkie, my water and off I went. That year set records for high temperatures, sometimes wondered how I kept going, but as you know, I had a blast, worked with young, dynamic high school kids (such amazing talks at break time-some were friends with my grandkids!). I found I was totally capable, quite good at the job. Just had to step out in faith. Continuing to do this work; glad I didn’t miss the experience!!

    • Donna!!!!!! Wow!!!!!!

      I know exactly what you mean. I had so much fun being right in the middle of the action! I felt like such a part of things, being so up close and personal.

      Amen–we’re both TOTALLY CAPABLE.

      Hugging you from here!

  11. Aaahhh, panic mode. Been there. You know my word this year: COURAGE. Kinda fits for you right about the time of the parking lot patrol. How sweet of you to give that man your chair and your bottle of water and then to call for a golf cart to pick him up. Probably why you were meant to be there that day. And there were probably other moments that you didn’t even recognize as to why God wanted you on parking patrol. What’s your word this year? Fall back on that, and on God’s love for you. We can do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, with God’s loving support (and a good friend to kick-start us when needed). lol

    • Beautiful response, B.J. And my word is SIMPLE. 🙂 Which translates (for me at least) to–no matter where I am or what I’m doing, with God’s help, I can keep it simple. And I when I do, I’m filled with COURAGE.

      Love you dearly.

  12. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Julie, God knew exactly where He wanted you! And you were faithful. Did you hear Him? “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

    I must say I have never “stepped out of (my) comfort zone.” Nope, not me. I was shoved, yanked, bulldozed, ripped…you get the picture.

    When planning the lanes of my life, God knew I’d hesitate at hazards, run from risks, veer from ventures. He had to make a way to help me past my panic.

    So He created Kevin and gave us a love that has overcome many a difficult dilemma. He put together a trio of girls whose love of abnormal adventures, extreme experiences, and “heavenly” hassles forever more added the prefix “un” to my “comfort zone.” Think of a country girl working on the 36th floor of a city high-rise, an introvert filling her role in the world of theater, Bashful’s twin sister speaking to rooms full of people.

    Yeah, you get the picture. Welcome to my “un”comfort zone!

    • Cathy, you’re exactly right. That’s what happened. All those incredible verbs you used–I was “shoved, yanked, bulldozed, ripped.” LOVE IT!

      And oh, how grateful I am that it happened!

      Love how you used the word “lanes.” 🙂 🙂

      And heavenly hassles. So perfect!

      Hugs to you, my soul sister.

  13. Sue says:

    Oh Julie, Yes. After 5 years of assisted breathing with a tracheostomy, the trach will be coming out soon and I will need to learn to breath on my own again. I am really leaving my comfort zone. I have looked forward to this day for so long, but anxiety has kicked in. I ask my Ultimate Physician everyday for courage and strength.

    • SUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      I have another friend named Sue, and I’ve been writing Sue/Sue in my prayer journal for so long.

      This is the best news!!! Let’s kick anxiety to the curb!

      So, so, so happy for you. Please, let us know when it happens, and when you take your first breath…of freedom.

      Thank You, Lord.

  14. marci says:

    Oh, my Julie… I can understand your being out of your comfort zone… It made me think of my own comfort zone, and those things I have truly dreaded before hand. I do agree with Anna, it seems harder to leave that zone as I have gotten older. At 12 yrs. old, I would have walked through the darkest night; climbed any mountain… There have been things that I so dreaded, that, turned out in the end to be wonderful experiences! And I got that front seat by doing what I had dreaded, then wondering later why I had dreaded it so much. Thanks so much for the share and even if we dread something, to remember, God has a plan. Trust.

    God Bless!

    • Yeah, Marci’a, I never thought about how it does get more difficult as we get older until Anna pointed it out. And, so you were a fearless 12-year-old?

      Maybe we’re on our way to living that way! Front row seating kind of living!


      • marci says:

        I am not sure why I was fearless, as a child, except for God making it so. Perhaps He felt I needed to not fear?

        Yes, it is something the Lord has been working on me about– as I try to relearn to live that way.
        When things turn out well, after I have spend days dreading something,.. Then I feel so silly, and I have to say, “Lord, you were right.”
        I am sooo glad to have company, you and others here, as I am on that journey! And may there be a lot of seats on that front row for all of us! Just seeing that in my mind makes me smile!

        I will also be praying for you as you write your Fiction, especially.


        • I can SO relate, Marci’a–I’ll think at the end of a day, why was I afraid?

          Sitting right beside you in the front row! And thanks so very much for your prayers, my friend with writing fiction. Talk about a journey….whew!

  15. Patricia Martin says:

    Thanks, Julie and have a wonderful weekend! Any prayer requests? Hugs to your mom and Gene.
    Patricia xox

  16. Great, great piece. Very encouraging.

  17. Awwee, thank you, Chuck. Means so much.

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