Comfort Zones: Do We Trust God In Our Comfort Zones?, Life, Living with Intention, Risk

Comfort Zones: Do We Trust God In Our Comfort Zones?

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I don’t know about you, but I like comfort. I’ve always felt safe in the comfort of my routine, of knowing what to expect each day. There’s safety in the comfort zone because I don’t have to risk anything of myself. But . . . when I focus on—seek out—comfort, I cut off opportunities to know and be known by others.

When I flew to Destin, Florida recently, I did something different.

ImageI always travel with plenty to fill up my time. A novel, my Kindle, something to work on for my book, Tetris on my cell phone. Having things to occupy me makes me feel comfortable, safe. I don’t have to focus on others. Most them are on some electronic device anyway, right?

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This time though, the Lord nudged me to be intentional about reaching out to others. Stepping out of my comfort zone makes me nervous. Opening myself up to being ignored can leave me feeling vulnerable. Yes, I know. It’s only an airplane flight. I’m only captive to that influence for a couple hours. It’s easier to enclose myself in my own distractions than to glimpse beyond them into another person’s life.

On my first flight, I sat beside a man flying to Florida to visit his mother. As we engaged in conversation, I learned a lot about him, about his family, his past and his life. I saw in him a cynical realist who’s lived some hard life, but still holds onto dreams. He actually did most of the talking.

Sometimes, taking time to listen to another validates them. It affirms their worth as a person.

Image On my way home, I had a long layover in Dallas. While sitting at a table in the food court, a beautiful lady sat in the chair across from me. She made a comment inviting me into conversation. As we chatted, God showed me the beauty of an overcoming spirit. Alberta is a single mom to four kids who’s stationed in Germany. She has a strength of spirit, a determination to live victoriously. I would never have discovered this had I been intent on reading my Kindle. I believe we connected on a heart level. All because I stepped out of my safety zone and engaged.

Image Comfort zones take many forms. And granted, my examples exhibit a minor facet of life. These two people expanded my perspective. When I risked a little and engaged, God used them to deepen who I am as a person. Hopefully, these two people saw a glimpse of Him in me and walked away from our interactions uplifted.

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When I insist on living in my comfort zone, I miss out on real living. I deny myself the chance to connect with people on a heart level. I choose solitude and independence rather than embracing the opportunity to trust God for whatever He may have in that situation.

When I step away from the comfortable, God meets me in that place. He grows within me a greater confidence. He shows Himself faithful to meet me, and to use me for His purposes.

What about you? How do you live outside your comfort zone? What challenges you to do so?

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14 thoughts on “Comfort Zones: Do We Trust God In Our Comfort Zones?”

  1. Jeanne, this really made me reflect.

    Before I became too ill to go out except when necessary, I did try to step outside my comfort zone of privacy from time to time, and was singularly unsuccessful at connecting with people. I’m not a bad person – at least, I think not – but I do present a scary mien, enough that folks will scramble to get out of my way at WalMart, and the young gangstas step aside and call me ‘sir’.

    My Klingon heritage, I guess? I don’t know, but it’s kind of discouraging.

    Over the last couple of years I’ve tried to reach out through the blog community; while this isn’t really outside my comfort zone, I’ve found that I do seem to be touching people – and they, me.

    The much-mooted shield of anonymity isn’t there for me. My name is out there, and anyone’s free to Google me. Some have.

    Not sure what all this means. I’m not sure that I have a feeling that God is using this – I suppose He is, but the ‘feeling’ of a direct connection with His plan is lacking. I can see, or think I can see His plans for others in what they describe, but recent months and years have been hard enough to obscure His purpose, and at times His presence. Sounds dramatic, but it’s not really a ‘dark night of the soul’; it’s just puzzlement.

    And that, perhaps, is what being forced outside my comfort zone really means. (And now that I’ve figured it out, God, can I PUH-LEEZE have my comfort zone back?)

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    1. Hmm…you’ve made me think, as you so often do. I guess we all have our comfort zones, and they don’t always look the way we think they do.

      For what it’s worth, Andrew. You may not see God’s plan, but I see Him using you to encourage and speak truth to others, just in the words you share in a comment. Your transparent honesty is refreshing, real. You make me think bigger about things. And you have a gift for sharing a different perspective that opens up my perspective when I read your comments here and elsewhere. Perhaps that’s part of God’s plan for you.

      And, uh, good luck on getting that comfort zone back. 😉

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  2. Stepping out of comfort zones is uncomfortable. :)) My flesh fights it, but God calls for us to challenge ourselves. It’s risky to the ego and raises up fear. yet it always has a positive result. When we do something difficult and follow through, our feelings about ourself are lifted up. “I did it!” Self-confidence grows, and when we know we have followed what God has led us to do, we grow stronger in Him.

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    1. You’re right, mom. I think, too, stepping out of comfort zones changes us. We can never be quite comfortable in that same place again after God has grown us and given us more of His confidence. Great thoughts today!

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  3. Oh Jeanne! You have found my greatest treasure in life: Holding meaningful conversations with total strangers! Isn’t it A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!! I’m so proud of you. You have just walked through a door (marked “Never”, I’m sure) and into a whole new and unbelievably rich world. Congratulations!

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  4. Hello Jeanne. I have learned some pretty amazing and incredible things by talking to strangers. Some in the dental chair where I work, on flights such as you did…standing in the Starbucks line. In this world of technology, I believe people are lonely. A world full of people coming and going, and we are lonely. People need face to face interaction. We need relationships. And talking to strangers is a perfect way to say, “hey, you matter.” “I know I am a stranger, but I will listen.” People want to know others care. I am convinced of that. It happens daily at work. I think of one who just needed someone to listen as he told me about his precious son who died. He told me “I cried for six months. My tears flowed down the drain as I showered every day.” Such raw emotions. We have no idea what is going on in the lives of others that pass through our sphere of influence on a daily basis. May we be awake for all that God would have us to say to them…or not to say…and just listen. Great great post. And, there is my word TRUST in it too. Pops up everywhere! Blessings.

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    1. Gail, thanks so much for stopping by! You have daily opportunities to listen and affirm others. What a blessing for them, and for you!

      And I agree with your encouragement to be awake and sensitive to what God has for us, in words or in listening, as we interact with others.

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  5. My last two trips I ended up having delightful conversations with the person sitting next to me. Actually, it has been my last three. I’ve come to love traveling because you really can meet some fascinating people. It’s a step out of my comfort zone too. Grateful for those next to me who are a little better at starting up the conversation. 🙂

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    1. I’m with you, Beth. It’s easier to engage in conversation when the other person begins it. 🙂 I think this may become my “MO” when traveling. It’s fascinating to meet new people. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I love this! I’ve always had a hard time stepping outside my comfort zone, and tend to be stuck in quite a rather small bubble of a world because of it. It’s painful and difficult and scary to get out of this bubble sometimes, but I hope I can learn to do so more! Thanks for giving me some motivation to step out and see what happens!

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  7. I think this is where God surprises in a truly wonderful way. (Although, it’s not easy when you are introverted by nature.) Another great example to live outside of social media every once in awhile too. The photos are beautiful, I am so ready for spring!

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    1. I am an extrovert/introvert, depending on the situation. It’s definitely an intentional choice to open conversation with a stranger. You can do it, Lisa. 🙂 You’ve got such a genuine personality, people would be drawn to you.

      Spring is almost here!!

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