It’s scary when you are asked to climb outside of your comfort zone.

All those pesky fears hit you. The what ifs, like, what if I fall flat on my face, God?

Comfort zones are nice, and like I shared over at Encouragement Today, I’m a comfy girl at heart.

But what is out there yet to discover — about God, about yourself, about a world bigger than your comfort zone? It’s a question posed to all of us at some time or the other, and we can simply ignore it (a comfy way to handle it) or sign up for the adventure.

Let’s look at three ways God might call us out of our comfort zones.

To do more than you feel capable of . . .

This is where God seems to take many of us. It’s where He took me in the trip I described in today’s Encouragement for Today devo.

What is our response to this call?

I’ve heard the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips those who He calls.” And I believe that, but it’s a joint effort. We trust that God knows what He’s doing, that He knows us intimately and will lead every step of the way, and we begin to prayerfully learn and grow in that area.

We become equipped.

Is God calling you out of your comfort zone, and you know that you’re not there yet?

Then you have just been handed a growth opportunity! Equipping is a life-long journey. It’s study. It’s getting around others with that same call. It’s listening, and doing, and learning from your mistakes and growing past your inabilities. It’s taking that first step, and the second, and following through with the third to learn the skills, and to expand your mind, and to take the risks as you put it all in practice.

And over time you begin to see what God knew all along. He’s still leading (He’s always the one in front), but you have the tools you need.

To stop being lazy

Ouch. That sounds so harsh, doesn’t it? But this is where God is speaking to me lately. Not in a condemning way, but as an invitation. Comfort zones can become deep trenches where we can become downright stagnant.

My husband is a runner and he often runs five or more miles at 5 a.m. Now, God isn’t asking me to join him (yay!), but He is asking me to run my race a little stronger: to exercise my faith in God; to intentionally listen for His voice; to walk into new and even uncomfortable situations so that I can minister to those on God’s heart.

This isn’t about trying to earn God’s love. We have that. It’s climbing out of tradition, or apathy, or a faith that has become status quo to run straight into the heart of God.

At first it won’t be comfy at all, but you’re strapping on your shoes, braving the chill or heat, and sharpening those spiritual muscles to feel the wind on your face as you run.

To love

This may be our hardest comfort zone of all.

Sometimes it seems like our world is way messed up. And at a time like this, God’s love should be a source of strength, comfort, and direction. But sadly we don’t always do that, and that’s just confusing to those who on the outside looking in.

He calls us out of our comfort zone to love each other in the church.

To love our neighbors as ourselves.

To love our pastors. Our bosses. That lady who says all the wrong things and gets on your last nerve.

To love our President. To love those who believe differently than you.

To love our family, the ones we say we love the most, but who get the brunt of our unloving behavior.

It’s far easier to stay in the comfort zone of our feelings (so we lash out, or withdraw, or react and walk away saying “they deserved that”).

Loving others means we listen. We forgive. We climb out of our own way of doing things or thinking to notice the person, rather than their lifestyle or their differences, so that we can truly love them, rather than just try to fix them. We say we are sorry. We hold our tongue. We respond with grace.

Not perfection, but asking God to help us love others like He loved us.

So, what is your comfort zone?

I’ve shared mine and I’m asking God to help me on yet another adventure. Where is He taking you? How can we pray together today as we discover what God has in store?