Comfort Zone or Dead Zone?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15
We all have our comfort zones. Whether it’s a place, food, or group of people, we all feel at home with things that we are used to. Things that make us feel secure and, well, comfortable. And that can be a good thing. It’s nice to feel comfortable. It’s nice to know what to expect. But it’s also good to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Why? Because we learn new things about ourselves. We open ourselves up to new experiences and possibilities. One of my favorite sayings is “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Staying in our comfort zones may feel safe but they rarely offer opportunities for growth. Sometimes comfort zones can become “dead zones.” And fear can keep us locked down and unwilling to venture out. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the “what if’s.”
God doesn’t call us to live in our comfort zones. He calls us out of them. He promises to be our comforter and to go before us, but he doesn’t say stay where you are and only go where you’re comfortable. Throughout the Bible, God calls His people out of their comfort zones and into unknown circumstances. Abraham was told by God to leave his country and family. Moses was told to go before pharaoh, which he did not wish to do. Jonah was told to go tell the people of Ninevah to repent of their sins less they be destroyed. What is God calling you to do today? Is it striking up a conversation with someone that you don’t know? Telling them about Jesus, the One in whom you put your trust? Helping out a person or family that is going through a rough time? Is it using a gift or talent you have to help your community or church? Is it making a choice that is obedient to God in the face of criticism and misunderstanding? Whatever it is, we will all have moments in life that beckon us out of our comfort zones.
God has given every one of us talents and gifts that are to be used to glorify His name. Staying in our comfort zones rarely offers us the chance to expand on those talents and gifts. Moreover, it can keep us from seeing how God can stretch those talents and use them in even bigger and bolder ways than we ever imagined. Leaving the safety and comfort of the “usual” requires us to put our trust and faith to work. It calls for us to leave behind our self-doubt and trust God’s plan. This can be as scary as jumping off a cliff which is why we often take pause before doing so. Speaking of jumping off of cliffs, do you know there are people who actually do this for fun! No doubt the first time they did it, they too paused to consider the consequences. But something made them jump. I know what you’re thinking? They’re crazy, adrenaline junkies. And maybe they are! No doubt they continue to jump because the thrill was just too great and they had to experience it over and over again. Let it be said of us, that we are crazy enough about the Lord, that we too would step off the cliffs He would lead us to, so that we too can experience the thrill of what the Lord will do and can do when we leave our comfort zones for His glory.