We all have a comfort zone but the key is not to get stuck there.
It happens every time I step into the shower. My three dogs, Miley, Sadie, and Zoe follow me into the bathroom and curl up on the bathroom rug in front of the shower.
Stuck In Our Comfort Zone
They don’t just lay on the rug, they each have a specific spot where they lay. Except for today. Zoe curled up on her usual spot. But for reasons known only to Sadie, she took Miley‘s spot. And Miley wasn’t happy about it.
While I watched in amusement, she stood beside Sadie for a while waiting for her to come to her senses.
Finally, unwilling to settle on a different spot Miley moved to the hallway in front of the bathroom door and sat staring at her two fur sisters. With what I can only describe as her stank face stink eye look, she stared relentlessly the entire time I was in the shower.
Once I finished my shower as is their custom Zoe and Sadie left the bathroom for other parts of the house. But not Miley.
Am I Really that Predictable
As I stood in front of the mirror fixing my hair, I saw her sitting in the same place her look of disapproval now fixed on me, as if to say why didn’t you do something about that. As I looked at her, I jokingly said, “You need to stretch yourself and step outside your comfort zone.
And then I heard it. The gentle whisper of Holy Spirit saying, “are you any different?”
Ouch, guilty as charged. I admit it; I like my comfort zone ( come on be honest you do too. Right?). As I pondered this my mind recalled so many examples in my life of clinging to my comfort zone.
Sometimes our comfort zone is as innocent as sitting in the same seat a church every Sunday. But I sure I’m not the only one who does this.
I remember the pastor of the tiny church I grew up in telling me he was sorry I hadn’t been to church the prior week. The only thing is I was there.
When I shared that fact with him he replied, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you in your seat.” He explained he knew who attended church on any given Sunday because everyone always sat in the same seat. If someone sat in a different seat like I had the week before it messed with his system.
The Willingness To Be Stretched
Another comfort zone I’m guilty of is going to the same restaurant and ordering the same thing off the menu every time. My friend will say why don’t you try something different? But I know what I like why risk trying something different that might not be as good.
Once, while on vacation together we came across a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop. She remarked in disbelief after I made my purchase, “Thirty-one flavors and you choose vanilla.”
While comfort zones like sitting in the same spot or ordering the same thing from the menu are harmless, we need to be willing to stretch ourselves and try something new in order to grow in other areas of our life
Be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual growth rarely happens within our comfort zone.
That is why Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33).
“He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.‘” – Matthew 14:29 NRSV
Or what about when God told the priests to step into the river in Joshua 3:13? Scripture is full of examples of God getting people outside their comfort zone in order to grow them.
It’s Time To Step Out Of The Boat
I may not like chaos but I serve a God who brings order out of chaos and He goes before me and behind me and lives within me.
When we trust Him enough to leave our comfort zone that is when we take the next step in on the adventure of discovering the unique story He has penned for us.
I remember when I was a small child, and I didn’t want to do something my parents told me to do I would answer no and get a death grip on the nearest immovable object. But then my father would come and pry my fingers off what I was holding on to as if they were mere putty.
My Heavenly Father wants me to let go of the things that are holding me back in the same way my earthly dad did but He wants me to let go on my own and step out in trust.
I love this quote from John Ortberg, “Whenever Jesus calls someone to get out of the boat, he gives the power to walk on water.” That’s the key, eyes fixed on Jesus, our power source.
I want to grow and embrace the adventure but I still feel myself holding back sometimes. Wanting to stay with what is working for me, afraid to try something new on the menu. Here I am Jesus. I’m stepping out of the boat, eyes fixed on You in total trust.
What comfort zones are you holding onto that you need to let go of so you can grow?