December 24, 2006
Escaping the Comfort Zone
"There are many places to go in the world, but you will never get there by sitting in your easy chair."
So read a sign that I saw in the airport a few days ago. It's a very simple thought, yet one that relates in profound ways to many other areas of life. It might be re-phrased to read, "There are many things to do for God in life, but you will never be able to do them from your comfort zone."
What is a comfort zone? Webster's defines it as "An environment or situation in which a person feels secure or at ease; also figuratively, an established lifestyle in which a person feels comfortable as long as there is no drastic change"
As long as there is no drastic change. Is that how you feel on occasion? Do you sometimes dread what the future holds? Do you find yourself wishing that you could hold back the sands of time? Do you ever cringe at the thought of the uncomfortable things that God may be calling you to do?
I know I do. No matter how great our zest for life and the future, we often have the desire to keep our lifestyles within the circumference of whatever we feel most comfortable with. Our comfort zone is a place where we can enjoy life without taking too many risks, where we can bask in the 'good life' without taking up the tab. Safe in our comfort zone, we are isolated from ridicule and criticism. We can love and be loved without fear of rejection. We have few responsibilities to bother us.
Are these your dreams? Do you envision a convenient lifestyle? A posh career, a doting family? The good life ? Do you dream of being loved, without the responsibility of loving and sacrificing youself in return?
The good life sounds wonderful, but it cannot be because it is self-centered. It is 'good' because it is comfortable, and comfortable because it is not difficult or challenging. God calls us to live a greater life, a life of duty and committment. He calls us to higher ground. We are asked to surrender ourselves, to die daily (1 Cor 15:31). We must sacrifice ourselves for a cause greater than the temporary.
What could be more wonderful? What could be more exciting? We are here on earth to glorify the Almighty, and nothing could be more fulfilling than giving Him all that we have. The opportunity to invest our talents in something that really matters is a glorious prospect!
It does takes courage to break away from the norm of society to pursue a higher standard. Courage, as someone once said, is simply fear in its proper perspective. It is not the absence of fear, but simply the act of harnessing it and utilizing it to accomplish something worthwhile.
Bill Jack of Worldview Academy oftens mentions in his lectures the 'interesting' effect that fear has on people. "What you fear", he asserts, "Is what you will worship." When you allow uncertainty and trepidation to control your actions, you are surrending yourself to those emotions as your master. But once you surrender yourself to God, the true Creator, your fear of other entities is dwarfed by your desire to magnify Him in all that you do.
Have you ever heard of a person who said that they did too much for God? Have you ever heard of someone who, on their death bed, regretted having challenged themselves as much as they did? Someone who wished that they had worked a little less, and not taken so many risks? I never have. Instead, there seems to be a completely different universal regret. Most older people look back on their lives with chagrin, thinking longingly of the many wasted moments spent in careless comfort. They long to turn back the clock and try again. They wish that they had accomplished more, taken more risks for the things that matter. They regret hiding in the shadows when their voice was needed. They regret choosing a less challenging lifestyle because it seemed easier.
We have all wasted time in our comfort zones. As long as we live on earth, however, there is a chance for reform. The opportunity to follow God out of our comfort zone always stands open. He is always ready and willing to lead us to heights we never dreamed of.
So what will you choose? Is the American Dream of ease and prosperity good enough for you? Do you dream of a life lived unchallenged, an existence of temporary comfort and happiness? Or are you willing to join God on the adventure of a lifetime? Are you willing to give Him 100%? God's dream for you will be challenging, time consuming, and life altering. It may wound your ego, it will alter your plans, and it will certainly take you out of your comfort zone. But in the end, when you hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant" , it will be worth it all!
First published at www.regenerateourculture.com