Convenience, security and comfort all sound like perfectly normal expectations that one should seek to have or want for their life. What person wouldn’t want to have a comfortable, secure and convenient life? What if I were to tell you that having a convenient, secure and comfortable life could sometimes be a hindrance for growth, freedom, and even happiness. What if I were to tell you that many people are prisoners in their convenient, secure and comfortable lives?
I would describe myself as a person who 90 percent of the time “plays it safe”. I’m not a rule breaker, I don’t try to rock the boat and I don’t make waves. That is mostly because, I am a person who clings to what is comfortable and safe. Admittedly, I will stay in an uncomfortable situation simply because it is comfortable in the sense that it is familiar. Nonsense, right?
When I think about my experiences and my relationship with God, in every situation that he has elevated me, he has had to first put me in situations so uncomfortable that I had no other choice but to leave the situation. I remember being at a job that I knew it was time for me to leave but because of the security it offered in finances and my fear of disappointing others, I was willing to stay there but things just became unbearable which forced me to start to apply and look for others jobs. In this instance, an uncomfortable environment motivated me to get out of a situation that I knew from the very beginning was not a good fit.
In my case, it was job security that was preventing me from freely living the life I wanted to live and was making me stay in a bad situation. However, there are so many other reasons why people are imprisoned in their own lives due to convenience, comfort, and security.
I have encountered many women who stay in toxic relationships because of convenience, security and comfort. They would rather stay in an environment where they are miserable rather than risk losing their security and comfort.
In a parable in the bible found in Matthew 19:16-30, a rich man went to Jesus and asked what he had to do to gain eternal life. Jesus responded by telling the rich man that he had to follow the commandments and Jesus began to list the commandments. The rich man responded by saying that he obeyed and followed all of the commandments. Jesus, then told him “If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me!” But when the young man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich. So he left. Jesus used this parable to show how difficult it is for a rich man to enter into Heaven. This rich man who wanted to inherit eternal life was too afraid to leave his “comfort zone” with all of his money and riches to inherit something that was much more valuable. He would rather cling to what was familiar and what offered him “security” than take what he perceived as the risk to leave it all behind and follow Christ. This parable can be applied in the spiritual and physical sense. People will rather give up or avoid their destiny rather than take the risk of leaving what they consider to be their comfort zone. It is important to remember that greatness occurs outside of your comfort zone. You may be uncomfortable for a while but God is waiting to give you a gift that exceeds what your comfort zone can ever offer. So if you’re stuck in that “dead end” job and you’ve prayed about starting your own business, step out of your comfort zone and start. If you want to travel the world but you’re afraid to fly, step out of your comfort zone. If you’re holding on to bad habits or addictions, step out of your comfort zone and let God deliver you. Leaving a comfort zone is never easy, in fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do but when you see what’s on the other side, it’ll be worth it.
Last year, I made a decision that was completely out of my comfort zone. That decision changed and saved my life. I was over 300 LBS and stricken with Type II diabetes with difficulty managing it. My sister encouraged me to have bariatric surgery. It was a scary process and many times I wanted to back out or quit the process but I just kept going. I kept going until it was finally my surgery date and there was no turning back. The decision to complete the process and move forward with surgery was the scariest but best decision that I have made in my life. That experience not only transformed my life in a physical sense but it also transformed my life mentally. Since that experience, I am more confident in stepping out of my comfort zone and taking reasonable risks. I’m not afraid to try new things and If I do become afraid, I do not let my fear prevent me from living the life that I desire to live. I kind of developed a new mantra. I say to myself “If I was brave enough to go through surgery, I’m brave enough to do anything”. That one experience, that one step beyond my comfort zone has inspired me to take several steps beyond my comfort zone. You owe it to yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. If you want to have new experiences; you must do something that you have never done. Great things happen just beyond your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Aren’t you a dandelion? You can bloom wherever you’re planted and being planted outside of your comfort zone is a nice place to start.