But here’s a theory. Maybe it’s not so cozy. Maybe it’s not really all that comfortable, either. Maybe it’s getting too small, or too easy. Maybe it’s not all you thought it would be.
There’s a reason why humans have progressed from first learning about how to make fire to the technologically advanced place we are now. It’s because even though warm, cozy Comfort Zones are really nice for a while, desire and necessity keep us from living there. God created us to be curious, to push limits, and to challenge ourselves to follow our passions and dreams no matter how difficult it might be. He challenges us to step out beyond ourselves into something much, much bigger.
In my experience, there’s a couple ways to move out of a Comfort Zone. One is when you feel the growing pains, you get a little courageous, and you make the choice to push out. The other is when the walls shake and crumble around you and you find yourself booted out whether you think you want to leave or not. Both ways can sometimes be scary, emotional, confusing, and even exciting - but whatever comes along with it, stepping out of a Comfort Zone is almost always UNcomfortable.
So far for me, 2014 seems to be The Year Of Leaving Comfort Zones. Little by little, I have felt God calling me onward into new territory, and found myself being challenged to climb out of a few of my warm, cozy holes and into the somewhat scary Unknown. And it's not like all the changes are bad. Some, like building new relationships or going further with my music, are actually very exciting. But as crazy as it sounds, even to me, I find that I am wary of even those ones. My cozy burrow is what I’ve known for a while, and Out There there are no guarantees that things will go smoothly. In fact, I’m pretty sure that, most of the time, leaving a Comfort Zone does NOT go smoothly. But what a loss for me if the fear of something different keeps me from reaching out, learning new things while conquering old fears, and experiencing an even deeper trust in my Father.
So, I cautiously but deliberately walk to the edge of my Comfort Zone, take a deep breath, and make the choice to step over the line into Something New. And it’s not a one-time choice, either. Most of the time it’s a daily resolve to trust God in these decisions, and to keep pushing my toe further and further out past that line. The only thing I know for sure is that, in the beginning at least, it’s pretty uncomfortable. I may immediately fall flat on my face, or make a complete fool of myself, or get lost because nothing is familiar -- or all of the above. But right now I’m willing to take that risk. Because I can’t stay where it’s cozy. I don’t want to be lulled to sleep and miss the wonderful things that I can learn and do in the Land of Something New.
If there are new things you are facing that you’re afraid of, I hope you’ll make the choice to step out of your Comfort Zone, too. Heck, we can all make fools of ourselves or trip and fall flat together. And then we can laugh (or cry if we need to), get back up, and resolve to keep going, while helping to hold each other up.