Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone — Morning Devotions

Is God preparing you for something? And you feel: Do I let go and find out, or do I stay where I am in a rut, afraid to move out of my comfort zone?

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsSaturday 1 Jan 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes

My friendly chemist gives me a wall calendar each year, and it gets hung up on the toilet door. Yes, I know. Too much information already. But each month there is a new phrase on top of the calendar—I guess to make you think. I was struck by one month’s saying: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I find that very interesting, and want to unpack it a bit for you. I guess we live largely by habits. We do things the same way because it’s comfortable. Denis Waitley, who has coached and mentored Olympic athletes, says it’s dangerous to live by rules. He says that you end up in a rut and you feel you can never break through into something new and different.

There are risks involved—like if I try something new I could fail miserably and people will think I’m a failure. A 70-year-old woman once told a stunt pilot she’d love to learn to fly, but thought she was too old. But he reassured her: “There’s an 85-year-old acrobatic pilot having a great time, and she learned when she was older than you”.

Or try this as a novel idea: stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. Sounds stupid, I know, but it’s about getting out of your comfort zone. Someone said the only people who like change are babies with dirty nappies. Maybe changing a baby’s nappy would take you out of your comfort zone. 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.

Many times change is good for us

So each of us are surrounded by comfort zones—but they can be barriers that make us feel cosy and secure. We like to be comfortable. But is that always for our best? I don’t think so. Change is good for us, especially if God says you need to change. It could even be God’s will that you change your attitude or lifestyle: I’ll stay where I am and take the easiest option. Do you ever find yourself settling for second best?

During the war a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a general in the Japanese Army. Before carrying out the sentence the general gave the spy a strange choice. He told him he could choose between a firing squad or a big black door. The spy thought about the choice and chose the firing squad and within a few moments he was dead.

The general turned to his assistant and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown.” The assistant then asked the general, “What’s behind the black door?” “Freedom!”, replied the general. “Behind the big black door is a passageway that leads outside, but only a few have been brave enough to see what was behind the door!”

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“What’s behind the black door?” “Freedom!”, replied the general.

Did you know there are situations in the Bible that moved people out of their comfort zone? Jesus taught Simon to step out of that zone. We see this in Luke 5:4-6: after stepping into Simon’s boat and addressing the crowd, Jesus asks Simon to pull out to the deep water, away from the shore, and begin to fish. Simon begins to make excuses, answering that they had worked hard and had not caught anything. But, he gives in by, basically, saying, If you insist.

When he pulled out to the deep and cast his nets to the sides of the boat, the blessings began to come, filling the nets. The blessings were so abundant that help was needed. Indeed, the nets were breaking, and the boat began to sink.

Simon was a fisherman, so we have to assume that he knew what he was doing. Many times, like Simon, we think we know what is best for us. We build this knowledge by setting patterns, patterns that keep us comfortable. We build comfort in tangible things, such as money, food, clothing, education, family, and friends.

These things give us a sense of safety. There’s nothing wrong with these things—but there is more in life to experience. And we are poorer if we never stop and ask God to show us if there is more for us to do or experience.

When Jesus called on the first disciples, he was asking them to leave everything behind, everything that had made them who they were up to that specific moment. Do you ever wonder if they pondered first whether or not to take the leap that bound them in Christ, the leap away from their comfort zone?

Does God prepare something special for us?

When we step outside those boundaries, we leave behind that perfect place, our own box, and begin to push and test the limits outside our comfort zone. When God presents us with a need to leave our safety zone, we question, make excuses, and get scared:

  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • What if it backfires?
  • What if I lose everything?
  • What if it fails?

It literally takes a true leap of faith in God to step outside our comfort zones. Sometimes God uses extraordinary situations to move us—like what happened to Howard Rutledge. In 1965 he was captured by the North Vietnamese and held in a prisoner-of-war camp for seven years. When he was captured, Captain Rutledge was only marginally religious, but once inside the Hanoi Hilton the focus of his thoughts were directed to God. He called out to God for help, and God was there for him. During those years in that dreadful prison, which included 48 months in solitary confinement, he learned to depend on God, and he experienced the presence of God in his life in a way far beyond what he had imagined possible before his imprisonment.

I am not saying that being in a comfort zone is a negative aspect of life. I am not saying that we should take risks just to leave our comfort zones. We should never do so without prayer and conversation with God. Ask him to show you what he wants for your life. You may be surprised.

Is God preparing you for something, and you have this niggling feeling: Do I let go and find out?, or Do I stay where I am in a rut, afraid to move out of my comfort zone?