“Nothing great ever happens inside your comfort zone.”
The thermostat read 92 degrees, out of the comfort zone, in our non airconditioned, rental Chicago brownstone. Windows without screens remained closed to keep the bees, flies, and the desired breeze out. The July humidity forced me to drive forty minutes to an indoor mall, just so my two and four year olds, as well as myself, could have a reprieve from the heat. My natural tendency is to stay inside my comfort zone, where it’s nice and cozy, without risks. But my spiritual and emotional growth is stunted when I’m comfortable.
As a teenager, I avoided taking the scary speech class in high school. Being naturally shy, speaking in front of others gave me the sensation my teeth were falling out! Fresh out of college, I taught fourth grade and was comfortable speaking in front of nine and ten year olds. Fast forward twenty years when I was asked to give messages to the women’s ministry at church. Once again I was out of my comfort zone. But this time I discovered the beauty of it.
Even though I was scared and wondered how I would come up with a new message and five-day Bible study each week, being out of my comfort zone forced me to depend upon God. Instead of running away from my discomfort, I faced my fears and pressed myself closer to Jesus. I knew I didn’t have it in me, but He did. As a result, my intimacy with God grew. Gradually over time, what used to be out of my comfort zone, became my place of comfort. And when that happened, God would present me with something else that would stretch and cause me to become dependent upon Him. And the comfort zone cycle began all over again.
I don’t think God ever wants us to stay too comfortable or to have total ease with life, for when that happens there’s no growth and we become like a stagnant pond, nothing fresh going in or out of our life. Living inside our comfort zones causes us to take things for granted, to be less thankful, to pray fewer prayers, and to live independent of God.
When we’re out of our comfort zones, God encourages us to “Come to Him…and He will give us rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Life outside our comfort zones actually releases new life and a new confidence in who God is and what He is able to do. So don’t despise being out of your comfort zone, instead embrace God, who makes even the uncomfortable, comfortable.
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
1. Describe a time when you were out of your comfort zone. How did you respond?
2. How is God currently pushing you close to the edge of your comfortable nest, only in order for you to fly with Him?