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.
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?
I recently spent 79 days in the hospital, waiting for the birth of my daughter. You see, I went into preterm labor at 25 weeks due to complications with fibroids and a low placenta. At first, I was shocked and dismayed that the Lord allowed this to happen to me. Now that He’s brought me through and I have a beautiful, healthy baby girl, I realize that He had to take me out of my comfort zone in order for me to grow more in Him. The results of my being hospitalized far outweigh any negatives. The Lord truly worked out my situation for good. Thank you for this message about stepping out of our comfort zones.
I don’t know that I can squeeze the calling God has placed in my heart into a quick response, but here is my best attempt at an abbreviated version: Five years ago I sensed God calling me to minister to the broken people of Florida (a great call for a Midwestern girl). However, I had the husband who thoroughly enjoyed his comfort zones, and saw all that we had as a Blessing, and did not want to leave without a plan for provisions. (He is a wonderful provider for our family). Although I was offered a job opportunity that offered these provisions needed for a young family, we declined because God pulled back on the reins. He then, nearly three years later provided us another opportunity to take this calling on. This time we had failure to launch because not every part of our plan was well lit. Again we find ourselves at this same crossroads, but we are both crippled with the fear of taking that first step. I know God’s word holds many promises including “caring for the sparrow”, and “clothing the lillies in splendor”. It also calls us to “trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding”. We are simply at a gap between seeing the promised land, and a flooding Jordan river before us. I am dipping my toes in the water while coaxing my hesitant family into joining me, all the whole wondering if I’m calling them out to cross an uncrossable river. Or worse yet, a barrier God has placed for our protection. So, that leads me to where I am today, wondering if we are supposed to jump in with complete faith, or respect a barrier placed by my protecting Father.
This message, along with the P31 devotion today spoke to my heart. The Lord has been shouting, whispering and downright demanding my surrender to a new time and a new place. He has been calling me for the past couple of years to step out of my comfort zone and I have refused.
I woke up to your words this morning and His sweet clarity.
Just want you to know that what you have taken time to share, has mattered so much to me today.
Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.
I can really relate to being in hospital
I’ve been in here on and off for 9 months and have
To look after a 5 year old with a back tumor
Inbweteen with no husband ( he decided to take on
A more extraverted lifestyle when I got sick and
Couldn’t cope). That was a long time ago.
Anyway my mum helps me when I’m in hospital
But boy do I miss my girl – its especially difficult
When I’m in such agonising pain ( worse than labor)
And my little girl sees me in that pain. I can’t sit
Nor stand for longer than 10 mins.
But Heavenly Father, you see has taken me out if my usually
Extra-extraverted lifestyle to a rich inner relationship with him
I went from wearing lovely clothes to hospital gowns!
I’m definitely OUT of my comfort zone but as
The bible in Corinthians mentions, unless we
Don’t endure something difficult we can often forget God
I always had Gid but needed more if him in my heart
Gosh I do pray though that I may one day soon
Walk sans pain again and play alongside my 5 year old
Without complaining. Yes, I’m learning a lot
But how much more can I take, God?
I’m starting to feel a little too much like Job
A dear friend told me today as I cried out in pain
That this was not the end of the story even though
My story looks so insulated and dark.
Ill be prating for you both tonight. Thanks for sharing
Your friend Ingrid from Australia.
Hey sweet Ingrid, Can I and others who read this today pray with you?
Father, Ingrid is so far outside her comfort zone. It’s dark and she hurts. Today may we come alongside and lift this burden with her in prayer to You. Father, I hear her faith so strong. Meet her in that dark place. Be her light. Be her Jehovah Jirah and heal and meet her every need. Open the door to new discoveries, to new information, to a supernatural touch from on High, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Hey Pat, I’ve sensed that journey each time we’ve talked. I’d love to have you be a guest on Moms Together sometime, and perhaps even Encouragement Cafe radio to share your story. I’m a huge fan of you. Suzie
Hey Mandy, Limbo is such a hard place to be, but I’ve been there. It’s a balance of being content where you are and so open to God’s leading. You enjoy the present, you don’t miss the everyday miracles, but you are clothed and ready for the right opportunity and timing.
Loved this devo today, Suzie! And love what a woman of God you are.
I love your devo today. This is my first emailed devo with you. I too am being pushed out of my comfort zone. But this is regarding the matters of my heart and my inability to share it with those who need it the most, my husband and 5 year old and 3 year old. I would rather be helping at a soup kitchen right now than to open my heart completely and consistantly to the ones I do care about the most. I have been in the desert with the Lord for 3 years now, and I have grown tremendously in Him regarding this matter of the heart. I know that when the Lord and I get through this, He will be able to use me in a way that I cannot imagine. And I can’t wait until then.
Gosh! I just can not take all of this in. You see I have just come through a battle of bitterness and I have experienced many wonderful things in the last couple of months since the Lord freed me. I got up this morning and durning my prayer time I ask God to show me what he had in store for me today. I am a pastors wife and we recently got a new church and the Lord is blessing like never before. I have been a Christian for most of my life, but I have never been a devoted christian I guess that’s how I need to put it. I have really been seeking the word more now that ever before and it has been the best time of my life. I have been in my comfort zone for way to long. I know God is wanting me to step up and do more. Please pray that I can be bold and do what he calls me to do. Your devotion on comfort zone spoke volume to me and I know the Lord is going to carry me places I never thought was possible and I just can not wait.
You are amazing! God speaks so clearly through you to me. I love it. I look forward to meeting you next week at She Speaks!!! (PS you just helped me hear clearly from God about a potential book proposal)
I can so relate to your devotion . It is very encouraging and confirming.I sense God is calling from out of my comfort zone this year and him wanting to use me. I am a single mother of a 2yr. old and a 10 yr. old. My husband and I seperated not to long ago with no plans of reconciling and I moved back in with my parents. I recently started school this monday and I was driving to school Monday I began to pray that God would give me time management skills to be able to continue to make time to read his word and still study my school work as well bc I was so afraid of falling off in my christian walk and being distracted by working full time and at the same time atteneding school, but God begin to show me that I needed to trust him to work everything out and just to take it one day at time and that the time to worship, pray and read as well as study my school work he would provide and stop trying to fiugure it all just trust hime and know that it can be done that I can do all things through christ the strengthens me. We also recently had our annual business meeting at church a couple of nights ago and I signed up for a couple positions in the church which is out of character for me being that I am really shy but I sense God doing something inside of me. my prayer is that God will continue to guide me, be with me,and give me to know that I can do this and will make it and just have his way in me.
Thank you Suzie for this awesome word. I’m constantly in a whirlwind trying to figure out things. For the most part, I know when God wants to use me but I have the hardest time submiting. Fear consumes me and I talk myself out of being a blessing to others. However, when I do allow God to use me; it’s so refreshing and I feel victorious. I know that I have gotten too comfortable. Just a few months ago, I would spend hours with the Lord praying for my husband’s salvation. Now that God has taken over and worked a miracle in my husband’s life, my desire to get to know more about God has dwindled. (Now that I think about it…I was being selfish). It scares me to say that and it brings me to tears. However, this is how I know I need to get out of my comfort zone. I want to do more and I’m called to do more, I just don’t seem to have the motivation to do it. Then again, I know that it’s just a matter of time before God stirs me up and gets me moving. Again, thank you Suzie for speaking into my life. Today, I will claim that this year is the year of movement into new and better places…move out of my way lazy, I’m running!!!!
You sound just like me.. I’m being called to do God’s work but then I am petrified by fear and lack of motivation. It’s is so frustrating and a constant struggle. I need prayer for strength and faith to follow God’s call to serve.. God Bless.
The Lord provides at just the right time. If I needed more convincing, today’s devotional served as the icing on the cake. I’ve been asked to step into a role at work that is not one I would seek on my own. I actually told the one who asked me, “thank you for the opportunity to stretch my comfort zone”. And, then to come across this–do you hear God laughing?
Ouch! Was this written for me, or what! I’ve had a terrible day (only slightly worse than the rest of my week). On one hand I know that God can do anything through me that He chooses to, and that I allow, but on the other hand I lack faith. I wish I had a comfort zone right now but I suppose I’m where God wants me because there must be something I need to learn. I hope I’m a quick learner.
Thank you for these words. When I started reading this, I thought “I don’t think God is calling me out of my comfort zone right now.” Then I realized he doesn’t have to call me far away, but that I can be out of my comfort zone right at home. I’ve been struggling with my marriage for several years. I’ve tried to make it better (praying, The Love Dare, 5 Love Languages, counceling, etc.), but I didn’t see any improvement. So, I stopped trying. I still prayed about my marriage – I didn’t pray for God to change my husband, but I wasn’t willing to change either – I felt I had tried hard enough – I was reading through the Bible looking for references to marriage to give reason to keep the status quo. At the beginning of this year, I realized this was not a very peaceful situation. I started praying for the Lord to change my heart and how I feel about our relationship. I can’t say I’ve made miraculous strides in 12 days, but there have been little things – He has definitely called me out of the unpeaceful confort zone I was in. I continue to pray for changes in my heart.
This is where i struggle and could use your prayers. I know God is calling me to do more, to go…but i don’t know where or how. I know that sounds strange. Maybe He is waiting on my heart to be in the right place before putting the answers before me, but i am struggling with this waiting/restless period. Please pray for an obedient heart full of wisdom that i will see His Will and follow obediently. Thank you!
Loved your devo yesterday for P31. So very true indeed. I’ve noticed in my own life when I get too comfy it breeds contentment and complacency — and God continues to teach me these are not the places He wants me to be spiritually.
Thank you for sharing your personal story too — God bless you as you minister to women.
Love, Hester Christensen 😉
Your words challenge me so deeply. Firstly I read through the message you left on Proverbs Ministries31 daily encouragement about the Apostle Paul who most certainly lived way outside his comfort zone.Then I came across to here to read a little more,to challenge myself. Last year these words came to me ” I look for those who are willing”, the moment I heard them in my heart I knew it was the Holy Spirit.I have applied those words to a lot of different situations which have led me out of my comfort zone, remembering that all I have to start with is to be willing. That helps me to move forward and say yes to something. Currently ‘ that something’ is volunteering to help at a new venture in our city, a Night Shelter for the homeless. On the shift I am on I have to get up at 5.30am (definately out of my comfort zone, as I am not really a morning person).It,s amazing what God can do with a willing heart and I am ready and willing for the next call to serve outside of where I feel comfortable.
I am so thankful for this devotion today. I too, am a comfy girl at heart. As much as I long to travel, learn, see and do new things, I am often a little (and let’s face it, sometimes a lot) stressed at being out of my comfort zone. It frustrates me that I worry when I know God is sufficient! I choose to obey anyway, even if I’m uncomfortable, and try to have the best attitude possible. This year,I’ll be travelling overseas for the first time on a missions trip and I’m excited!–and terrified. But I know that I’m supposed to go and I will obey, knowing that God will use me, and change me through this. I hope I can become more like Paul in a small way.
But, oh, how…unexpectedly God used the last part of this devotion to gently convict me. There are times where I am not out of my comfort zone in love. Including one situation that was brought to light in my mind as I read this–and I know that I need to step out in love and as an example of God’s grace and forgiveness to correct this.
Thank you for letting God use you Suzie, to talk to a girl like me.
Thank you for sharing your devo and blog today. I feel as though my husband and I have been out of our comfort zone now for about 2 years. We came on the mission field a year and a half ago answering Gods call. Talk about out of your comfort zone! I have to be honest I miss the comfort but I would not be fulfilled doing anything else! Right when I thought that I was feeling like I was home, we find ourselves in a situation that we have to get out of the home that we have been living in and we have no ideas as to where to live or how we will do it! I trust God completely, and I know that He has a plan… But I’m ready for that plan to unfold! we are a family with2 little girls on the cusp of being homeless in a foreign place. Thank you for reassuring me that His call is still where I need to be and that He has a plan in this whole adventure.
Its amazing having to go through all the comments,pray for others and praise God for helping us get out of our comfort zone!
Its inspiring and ya’ll ladies helped me search my heart more n more for that comfort zone.I made my first step into making my own income on friday since m not YET employed rather than depending on my fiance for everything.its nothing big but it boosted my confidence in God that He will see me through and make me succeed.
All I need is faith!
Thanks ladies!God bless you
Some of you shared that you struggled with your comfort zone in your own families. I think as moms we all struggle with that sometimes. May I share one helpful resource with you? I facilitate a group of mom on Facebook called Moms Together (we need each other!) at http://www.facebook.com/MomsTogether – you see, moms matter and even when we struggle we have much to offer. Maybe we need to learn together, or reframe the way we do things, but there’s growth for each of us as women and moms, and taking that one step toward growth is a huge impact on our daughters. I hope we can stay connected through moms Together.
I am reading this one and a half years later, I am truly blessed and happy to find this message. God has been speaking to me very loudly this weekend to come out of my comfort zone and I decided to Google on how to get out of the comfort zone and I came across this message. I even had a warfare dream last night where I had to run through hurdles and not fear and let nothing stop me, I woke up to pray and God reminded me that “Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous and I will be with you wherever you go that I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind, and that you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”. I believe God is calling me on the three ways as you have listed, applying to my workplace, ministry, family and friendship. God is faithful enough and has given me a new Idea at my workplace today that gets me out of my comfort zone at work. Commenting on this article is a first step. My prayer is that I will diligently walk in this journey God is taking me in Christ Jesus. Thanks Suzie God increasingly bless you 🙂
Thanks for this. Very helpful. Thank you Jesus for all you do through your saints. Blessings xx
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