“There can be no real growth in the comfort zone!” ~dmwilliams
I’ve spent most of my life cowering in the comfort zone. Now that may sound like an oxymoron because why would one cower in their comfort zone? I mean, we hide out in the comfort zone because it’s, well, comfortable and we can function comfortably in that emotional and psychological space (I promise I was not trying to use different iterations of the word comfort; it just happened.)
When I say I cowered in the comfort zone, I mean I would exercise gifts and talents but minimally. I was always too concerned about what people would think about my offerings as well as often being stalked by that dreaded demon, impostor syndrome. My determination to stay within the boundaries of my comfort zone blinded me to purpose, so I never bothered to set goals. After all, I was good at what I could do in the zone because in my mind, I was in the zone.
But, one day I had an epiphany, “Donna, if you don’t breach the borders of your comfort zone, you will be like that pond that has no outlet, stagnant and bitter and unpotable. The longer you stay, the less impact you will have in this life and that meager offering you bring will eventually have no effect at all.
There is a Bible story about a man named Gideon. One day Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press. Now if you know, you know. Grapes are crushed in the wine press. Grain is not threshed in a wine press. Yet, there is Gideon cowering down and threshing away in his unlikely comfort zone, a wine press. Gideon is here because Israel is at war and he is afraid.
The Angel of the Lord comes to the wine press and greets Gideon with, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” then later goes on to give Gideon marching orders to go to war against Israel’s enemies: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Gideon probably initially thinks, “Yeah, right, I’m a mighty man of God. Do you see where I am and what I’m doing?”
He responds to the angel’s call to action with, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Angel tells Gideon that God is sending him which means God would be with him, but Gideon pushes back with the above statement, ipso facto, “I am weak; my tribe is weak; find someone else.”
He is afraid to break out of his comfort zone because in that space he is safe and he is hidden from the enemy. It was not until Gideon threw down that grain and stepped out of that wine press did he become what the angel declared to him to be, a mighty man of valor.
Okay, so God may not be calling you to a literal war, but what challenge are you avoiding because it’s way out of your comfort zone? It just may be that you will continue to be a poor facsimile of your true self until you step out of that comfort zone.