Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Thursday, January 07, 2010
I have lived at the same location for eleven years (and love it), I have been working in the same basic field for fifteen years (and enjoy the work and the people), I have been a part of a great church for about nine years (and attend every chance I get), I have been fiscally responsible (and don't have much debt), and I have been single all of my life (and take advantage of the independence it provides).
Sure there are thing I still desire, like a wife, a family and all that goes along with it. But for the most part, why would I want to alter the way I'm living? I'm comfortable, content and enjoy the life I have.
In our monthly Crosswalk.com column, "he said-she said," with laura maccorkle, we answer questions on the minds of singles, many of the inquiries have a common theme.
- How do I let a girl know that I like her?
- Is online dating okay to be a part of?
- Should I visit another church's singles group?
- Should I buy a house now or wait to get married?
Many of us have been striving to find and live a nice, comfortable, cautious life with certain expectations (i.e. marriage, job advancement, nice home, social activities, ministry, etc.). We approach each day with the hope and prayer that our desires will be fulfilled. For many of us, the wait has been long and our hope has diminished.
We may believe God wants us to continue to wait patiently (and do nothing), we may think "content" is a blessing in itself and where God wants us to be, we may not want to make the wrong move, or we may just be afraid at this point to try something new.
Despite how you feel, are you where you know you should be and doing what God created you for? If not, are you taking steps to get to that place?
Half the things that people do not succeed in are through fear of making the attempt.
Change used to scare me. I didn't like how it sounded and I especially didn't like how it felt. Change causes me to be pushed, kneaded, pulled, bruised and stretched. The whole thought was similar to that of exercise after a long period without it. It is more comfortable to lay on the couch (lamenting) rather than to get up, change clothes, go somewhere, stretch, work hard physically and hurt afterwards.
Many of us seem to want the results, but don't want to take the effort to get there. Have you reached that point in your single life? One thing I have discovered over the years, transformations don't just "happen." Albert Einstein once said it in another way:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
To be honest, I am temporarily insane at times. I go about my day wanting fresh new things to happen in my life, yet sometimes I don't do anything to promote different results. Some evenings I would look back over the past 16 hours and feel like Brittany Spears: "Oops! ... I Did it Again."
As I had shared earlier, there is nothing really "wrong" with my life and I am not unhappy with it, nor would I in my (worldly) "right" mind want to change much, but I am trying not to live "right-mindedness."
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer (2 Corinthians 5:13).
Paul tells us to live outside of ourselves with no concern for what the world tells us we "should" (or shouldn't) be doing. Jesus died for us so we can live an abundant life, not just a comfortable content one.
There is one television show I have become a fan of over the past couple of years, The Biggest Loser. Overweight contestants vie to lose the largest percentage of their body weight over the course of a number of months in order to win the $250,000 prize.
Each person enters with the hopes of winning the money, along with losing their excess weight, and quickly find their greatest struggle is not against their opponents, but themselves. Most of the contestants did not become obese by eating right and exercising, they became that way by becoming complacent and accepting their way of life.
Many of us have become content in our singleness. We may be living a successful, honorable, and spiritual life, and we may be doing a lot of good things for others, however we may still feel unsettled. The reason is because we were created to live a life representative of and devoted to Jesus, who we serve, not the world.
Our purpose is not to find and live a quiet comfortable life, especially as singles.
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord ... an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in body and spirit. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32).
We are to live out of our mind, not insanely as defined by Albert Einstein, but rather out of our mind for the sake of God. When I read this passage, I see it as a directive for me (and us) to be bold and intentional in my decision making and leave my nicely crafted and very comfortable "place" I have created for myself and look to where He wants me to be.
In order to do this, I need to listen to the Lord and deliberately and forcibly take a step towards His desires, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Whether it's pursuing a degree, a relationship, a career, a ministry, better health or a righteous life, it takes a first step.
With any struggle, obstacle or new endeavor we face, the natural thing is to look at the enormity of the task, like The Biggest Loser contestants do in trying to lose in excess of 100 pounds. However, as each of them found, there comes a point where we just need to suck it up and move off of the couch or out of our comfort zone in order to start the process.
When we begin to boldly march to the Lord's beat rather than ours, our vision for ourselves will not be from a worldly perspective but rather for a worldly outlook.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (arose books), as well as the monthly column, "he said-she said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
**This article first published on January 7, 2010.
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