Life And Growth Begins at The End of Your Comfort Zone

 

The comfort zone boundaries

The “comfort zone is something I’m sure you’ve heard mentioned before. A person’s comfort zone refers to the limitations of risk they are willing to take in life. It is created based upon what that person if familiar or comfortable with. The actions, risks, and challenges someone takes on rarely extends outside the boundaries of what they are comfortable with. Therefore, it’s called the comfort zone.

The problem with choosing to only live within your comfort zone is it prevents personal growth. The emotional, social, and spiritual growth we need as individuals  comes only from a willingness to venture outside of our comfort zone. It is outside the familiarity of our comfort zone that personal growth  takes place. God wants to take us to places in life we will never reach while imprisoned within our comfort zone. We risk missing some of life’s greatest blessings by limiting our life to only what we are comfortable or familiar with.

Fear creates the comfort zone

Our comfort zone is created by fear. It is created by fear of the unknown. Fear creates questions beginning with words such as ” But what if…, or ” But what if I…”  Many things in life offer no guarantees. There will always be open doors of opportunity we are not 100% sure about. If you live your life only doing things you are 100% certain about, then you are not living by faith. According to the Bible, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)  Sometimes we must step out and trust God, even when we don’t know all the details of our journey. The great Martin Luther King once said “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Think about when you were very young. Do you remember the first time  you tried a certain food, and realized you liked it? What about the first time you rode a bike? Maybe you have memories of your first time swimming, or the first time you traveled somewhere alone? Do you remember the first date with your spouse? Imagine how different your life would be now had you never taken the chance and tried some of those things. All of these events involved extending yourself beyond what you were familiar or comfortable with. You left your comfort zone.  

My experiences of leaving my comfort zone 

In the past, I’ve taught young adult and adult Sunday School classes, and spoke to youth and men’s groups. I spoke to a group at church for the first time at age 14. I remember how terrifying I found speaking to a group the first time. The thought of failure or the risk of looking foolish nearly paralyzed me with fear. But, I took the risk. I am glad I did because that step has played a huge part in my life. I have always thought God wants me to encourage and teach others. That first time speaking in front of a group was definitely a journey outside of my comfort zone. 

In  June of 2009 my wife took a step of faith and journeyed out of her comfort zone. She left her comfort zone by starting her own medical recruiting company; Cornerstone Medical Recruiting. Her decision to step out in faith resulted in  one of the biggest blessings of our lives. In August of 2012, we had the privilege of traveling to do missionary work in Burundi, Africa. Burundi is one of the 5 poorest countries in the world. This was our first missionary trip. So, this was definitely a journey outside of our comfort zone. But, I wouldn’t trade the experiences we had there for anything in the world. It was a life changing experience we will never forget. Journeying out of our comfort zone has brought us blessings we would have never experienced otherwise.

Reaching for higher heights

Experiencing personal growth by stepping out of your comfort zone will enable you to reach heights you never thought possible. I remember being a small child growing up in Illinois. Back then, because I was so small, I needed a chair to reach things in the kitchen cabinet. I wasn’t tall enough to reach that height on my own. After growing taller, I could reach heights that before were physically impossible.

When we grow emotionally, and spiritually, we can reach places in our lives that were previously  out of reach. But, that type of growth only comes from taking the risk and the step of faith to journey outside our comfort zones.

Allow God to stretch you

The most  rewarding and life changing times in your life will be those times  you allow God to stretch you. It’s those times God uses you in capacities that exceed the limits of your comfort zone. Usually by that point, we have fully committed to doing whatever God wants us to do. Occasionally, God asks us to do things far outside of our comfort zone. God does this for a reason. God does this because  He wants us to depend upon Him.

Only doing things we are comfortable doing makes us place too much faith in our own talents and abilities. But, when we do something we can only do with God’s help, we  aren’t placing our faith in our own skills and abilities. In those situations, we must solely place our faith and trust in God.  It is then He can work through us to do whatever He has called us to do. This is what God wants from us to start with. Also, we must never forget God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. God will never call you to do something  without empowering you to perform the task.  Those unwilling to place complete faith and trust in God will ever step outside of their comfort zone.  

Sail away from the safe harbor  

I would like to leave you with a quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr. The quote says, ““Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I challenge everyone to take this advice and sail away from the safe harbor. That safe harbor is our self-imposed restrictions and limitations of our comfort zone. Take a step of faith outside of your comfort zone. Your life will never be the same.

Thanks for reading!

Until Next time,

Mark

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