Comfort zones – We all have them and we all like them! We gravitate toward the things in life we are good at, the people we are like and the jobs we are used to. We don’t like being uncomfortable and will tolerate a lot of elements we don’t like in order to live in the familiar. Even when we are called to do or be something, it seems we still try and make it fit within our comfort zones.
I recently said the following to a friend of mine as I was relating where I have currently come to in my life: “I share all these things to give you an idea of all the ways I’ve tried to avoid that call in my life to truly speak and minister to people in the way I have always known I was supposed to do. I don’t regret the delay, as it has enriched my life with experiences and such that change the way I approach things now. God knows what He is doing even when we try to only partially follow His perfect will for our lives and He somehow continues to bring us back to the undeniable truth of the plans He has for us. It is then we are faced with the decision, once again, to press forward or make an attempt to travel down some frontage road of His will, so close to the freeway but never quite on it. I have no idea how the path is going to unfold before me but I do trust that He will open the doors that are supposed to open and guide me through them as long as my heart and mind are tuned to Him. That is both a comforting and fearful thought. Surrendering to His will for our day to day lives is a scary thing sometimes because in our humanity we cannot see the future or what He is going to take us through. I do believe He has equipped us in the exact ways we need in order to perform whatever He has called us to do.”
It is so amazing to me how adept we are when it comes to rationalizing why we do not step out of our comfort zones. We talk about risks. We use some very reasonable arguments as to why it would just be better to do things that fit with our life’s purpose in a way that stays between the guardrails of our comfort zones. We do not say we are scared; we say we are being rational. We don’t say we are refusing to do the things to which we are called; we say we are being careful to only move and act when we are absolutely certain about such action. After all, isn’t that the prudent thing to do? Who acts without first considering the possible effects? Yes, it all sounds so reasonable but it is the precise thing that keeps us living on the edge of our calling instead of WITHIN our calling.
Comfort zones are the anesthesia to our fears and neutralizer of our passions. They make us feel safe even if that safety is nothing more than a perception. Comfort zones limit our ability to grow. When we confine ourselves to only those things with which we are familiar or comfortable, we limit our view of the world and all the wonder within it. As people of faith, we limit what God can do with us and through us because we aren’t willing to truly go where He leads.
The reality is that life is not always comfortable. We can choose to remain in our comfort zones and refuse to change or grow but here is an interesting truth about these “zones:” The longer you refuse to step out of them, the more you will find them shrinking around you as others grow and change. When that happens, it increasingly becomes a “discomfort” zone and you will either be forced to stretch yourself or accept a life of confinement. Either way, you will never be free and you will never have true comfort. That kind of comfort comes only when we surrender to the truth of our calling.
So my prayer for you is the same as it is for me. I pray we are each given not only a clear vision of our purpose but also the courage and strength needed to carry it out. Let us look forward past our fears and into the reality of who we have been called to be…and let us do it today!