I don’t know about you, but I like comfort. I’ve always felt safe in the comfort of my routine, of knowing what to expect each day. There’s safety in the comfort zone because I don’t have to risk anything of myself. But . . . when I focus on—seek out—comfort, I cut off opportunities to know and be known by others.
When I flew to Destin, Florida recently, I did something different.
I always travel with plenty to fill up my time. A novel, my Kindle, something to work on for my book, Tetris on my cell phone. Having things to occupy me makes me feel comfortable, safe. I don’t have to focus on others. Most them are on some electronic device anyway, right?
This time though, the Lord nudged me to be intentional about reaching out to others. Stepping out of my comfort zone makes me nervous. Opening myself up to being ignored can leave me feeling vulnerable. Yes, I know. It’s only an airplane flight. I’m only captive to that influence for a couple hours. It’s easier to enclose myself in my own distractions than to glimpse beyond them into another person’s life.
On my first flight, I sat beside a man flying to Florida to visit his mother. As we engaged in conversation, I learned a lot about him, about his family, his past and his life. I saw in him a cynical realist who’s lived some hard life, but still holds onto dreams. He actually did most of the talking.
Sometimes, taking time to listen to another validates them. It affirms their worth as a person.
On my way home, I had a long layover in Dallas. While sitting at a table in the food court, a beautiful lady sat in the chair across from me. She made a comment inviting me into conversation. As we chatted, God showed me the beauty of an overcoming spirit. Alberta is a single mom to four kids who’s stationed in Germany. She has a strength of spirit, a determination to live victoriously. I would never have discovered this had I been intent on reading my Kindle. I believe we connected on a heart level. All because I stepped out of my safety zone and engaged.
Comfort zones take many forms. And granted, my examples exhibit a minor facet of life. These two people expanded my perspective. When I risked a little and engaged, God used them to deepen who I am as a person. Hopefully, these two people saw a glimpse of Him in me and walked away from our interactions uplifted.
When I insist on living in my comfort zone, I miss out on real living. I deny myself the chance to connect with people on a heart level. I choose solitude and independence rather than embracing the opportunity to trust God for whatever He may have in that situation.
When I step away from the comfortable, God meets me in that place. He grows within me a greater confidence. He shows Himself faithful to meet me, and to use me for His purposes.
What about you? How do you live outside your comfort zone? What challenges you to do so?