What happens when you realize that your comfort zone is actually the most dangerous place for you to be? When you realize that being in your comfort zone, actually causes you to not want to change anything, and can even cause you to be afraid of change. One thing that I’m realizing is that sometimes our comfort zones can be a very dangerous place. This was the case for me.
This weekend marked my first week living and serving in Oakland. But as Friday rolled around I had the opportunity to go back home for the weekend and attend the wedding of an old friend.
While at home this weekend, I felt GOOD!
I had time to sleep in my own bed, catch up with some old friends, and best of all see my family…
But while in the comfort of my own home, I started to think about what my summer would have been like if I would have decided to stay home, and never venture off to West Oakland.
CONFESSION: I started to regret leaving my amazing home city, and comfortable warm bed.
The idea that I had given up being in my comfort zone to live and work with in a city, that (to be honest) has been classified as practically a war zone by outsiders (and some insiders) started to behoove me. As the weekend came to an end, I found my self not wanting to leave home, and completely ready to abandon my dream of change for the community of West Oakland.
Then I started to realize just how dangerous our comfort zone could be. Sometimes comfort will outweigh the desire for change because with change comes sacrifice. And sometimes sacrifice is scary.
Take the story of “The Rich man and the Kingdom of Heaven”…
“One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
-Mark 10: 21-22
The comforts of the rich man were his possessions, and his attachment to this comfort ultimately caused him to turn from those who needed him. When Christ pointed this out, and called the rich man to step out side of his comfort zone, by sacrificing, the problem began. I find that this is the case for many, including myself. When I got accepted into the Micah Fellowship, it was very clear to me that God was calling me to something bigger than myself and when I opened my Bible to read this, I understood the connection that I had with the rich man. Its like this fellowship was literally calling me to do, what Christ called the Rich man to do, Give up my possession (comfort zone), help others, live simply, and follow him. But the attachment to my comforts (material possessions and being at home) almost caused me to forget what Christ was dealing with me about.
The comfort zones that we create around material possessions can be dangerous and cause us to loose sight of the things that truly matter, like Change, and I’m convinced that Christ understood this. This is the very thing that intrigues me about Jesus. The things that he calls us to do, like stepping outside of our comfort zone, are not easy by any means, but everything that he calls us to do builds perseverance, character and hope. In Romans, Paul stated it like this,
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”
When we understand that stepping outside of our comfort zone and into a place that may seem unfamiliar can produce things in us that we never thought were possible, we can literally feel God molding us into the very things that he would have us to be, causing change to be produced in us. Something else that I love about the Word of God is that it never promises that we wont have hard time, but it does promise that these hard times are incomparable to the end result. Paul later writes,
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
I’m understanding that a lot of things are bigger than us. So although stepping outside of our comfort zone may produce suffering, we know that once we get through it, we are promised a gift that only certain experiences and suffering could have given us.
When we give precedent to things like comfort, and neglect the call of Christ to “follow him”, and give to those who need it, our collective identity can be compromised. So join me and Step out of your Comfort Zone.