“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”- Carl Sandburg

“My job is killing me—emotionally, spiritually, and maybe even physically,” John said wearily to his wife. “I know that making a change to teaching high school would be a great fit for my skills and interests. I’ve got a list of what I need to do to make the career transition. But each day I procrastinate, telling myself I should just be satisfied with the job I already have. And each day I feel more trapped and miserable. Why can’t I make myself to take action to change my life?

Trapped by the Comfort Zone

Have you ever felt this kind of internal push—pull going on in your life? As in the above quote, perhaps you want to soar, but find yourself stuck in the mud. Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life, but found yourself unable to get going? If so, you may be trapped by your “comfort zone.”

Your comfort zone is made up of the people, places, things, and habits that are familiar to you. Many of us get scared when we even think about moving outside of our comfort zone. We cling tenaciously to the known, and choose familiarity over risk. The problem with choosing to stay in our comfort zones is that it can come with a terrible price tag—one with eternal consequences.

Discovering and living your calling is an adventure that entails risk. Responding to God’s call to fulfill your mission in life will undoubtedly require you to journey beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Jesus never seemed to hesitate in telling people to leave their familiar lives for the unfamiliar path of following him, did He?

Each time we blockade ourselves further within our comfort zone, it becomes more difficult to hear God’s callings in our lives. Living your calling is possible only when you are willing to be obedient to God’s voice and risk stepping out to follow Jesus. Living the adventure of your calling requires courage, resourcefulness and willingness to confront new and unfamiliar challenges.  

Confronting the "Calling Blockers"

Getting stuck in your comfort zone can be a sign that you have come up against a “calling blocker” in your journey. Calling blockers are things that get in the way of your seeing who you have been created to be, finding out what you are gifted and called to do, and/or taking the needed actions to live your calling. Some of the most powerful calling blockers are fear, money, busyness, negative thinking, childhood wounds, and isolation from others. Each of us has our own calling blockers that can get in our way when we are trying to make changes in our lives.

Your calling blockers can get you stuck or “off-track” on your journey to discern and live your calling. They can keep you trapped in a life that is far less than the one God intends for you.  What differentiates those who are successful in discovering and living their calling from those who are not is the ability to overcome their own personal set of calling blockers.

The most common indicator that people are wrestling with calling blockers is resistance to following through on what they believe God is calling them to do. Often, they try to rationalize or re-shape God’s summons: “He couldn’t really want me to do that. It’s too much of a change. Instead, I could stay where I am and do that on the side. Or maybe I’ll do it sometime later when things are different in my life.”

Catalyst for Overcoming Your Calling Blockers 

Those who successfully discover and live their calling have learned how to recognize and overcome their own individual calling blockers. To live your calling, you must master yourself. “Calling catalysts” are strategies for overcoming and transforming those barriers so that you can experience the life God created you to live.