I love routine. I am quite comfortable when things roll along in the same way they always do, no ripples or waves, just nice, smooth, sailing. I love the idea of change, fresh starts, new territory to discover, but the actual act of being submersed in it makes me uncomfortable. I like my comfort zones. They’re very safe. But they can also be very barren areas. I’ve often heard it said if you change nothing, nothing will change.
Comfort zones can also be detrimental to others because when we feel what we’re comfortable with, or used to, is being pushed or challenged we can lash out and leave others wondering what they’ve done wrong. In actuality it’s a reaction to feeling threatened and is something within us that God wants to work on.
As much as I dislike straying from my comfortable places, like leaving my big comfy chair in the morning to go to work, as I look back over my life I see those journeys as giant seasons of growth.
When our daughter was diagnosed with congenital heart disease, I spent many hours telling God that I wasn’t able to handle such a bad situation. I was terrified if I’m being honest. I had three children, all healthy, and this new prospect made all of normal hurdles of motherhood seem incredibly insignificant. Getting up in the night to feed a hungry baby was nothing in light of the challenges we would face at the end of this pregnancy. And that was if she survived at all.
We just celebrated her eighth birthday, a lot of water had flowed under that bridge, a lot of shifting from one comfort zone to another, only to be displaced once again by something new. I had no clue what in the world was going on. I had no idea at the time that while I was leaving my comfortable place of dwelling that God was increasing my faith, increasing our witness, increasing my confidence in Him but also in my relationship with Him. He was teaching me to live by faith when all the circumstances were out of my control.
When He called our family out of everything we knew to live in a place far from family and lifelong friends, He had a plan to grow us. No longer in our comfort zone of ‘home’ He showed me how to rely on Him and not others for comfort and friendship. When you’re a pastor’s wife and you relocate all the rules change. What you did before, you may no longer do. Where you fit before, you no longer fit. There are days when loneliness sets in you feel sad for what you’ve left behind, you long for the comfort of what you knew.
In these seasons, growing in relationship with Him has always occurred. He always gives direction for the new normal, the new places to fit, the new areas of ministry, and usually it’s different. It’s a new opportunity to develop skills and gain confidence in new giftings. I love finding out things about myself I would never had known if we’d never taken steps down a new road.
There awesome, amazing things awaiting as you walk out of your comfortable places. I love the song Oceans, especially the part that says,
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my saviour.”
When we step outside of what we feel we can handle on our own, because that’s basically what a comfort zone is, we allow God to really show us how he’s working in us. He calls us, and strengthens us, and grows us, and we look back and see how amazing His work in us has been.