The comfort zone. It’s a place that most of us want to stay…and a place that rarely produces personal growth. In reality, permanent residence in the comfort zone can be equated with stagnation or decay. And who wants that?
But stepping outside of one’s comfort zone? Most of us have an immediate blood pressure surge just thinking about it.
Recently, I was facing oh-yet-another step outside of my own comfort zone. And, yes, I was terrified. For someone genetically risk-adverse, the thought of pulling the covers over my head was highly appealing.
To make matters worse, I was convinced that the step I was about to take was something that God had called me to do. It wasn’t a personal whim. But I still didn’t want to do it. At all.
So I started praying for peace. And one of my favorite Bible passages immediately came to mind: the story of Peter walking on the water. (Matthew 14:25-33) Whether or not you consider the story to be literally true (as I do), there’s much you can learn and apply from this account.
After thinking about Peter’s walking-on-the-water experience, I realized that I could use the components of his story to reframe my own life. I began to reflect on moments when I had “stepped out of the boat” and the outcome of those choices.
And unlike the investment world (where they insist that “past performance is not an indicator of future results”), I realized that I could gain a lot of courage for the future by remembering God’s faithfulness in my past.
Consider looking at your own life through this set of lenses:
Stepping out of the boat: What difficult choices have you faced which required leaving your comfort zone?
Wind and waves: What were your greatest fears?
The boat: What was the comfort zone you were you leaving?
Results: What happened?
Nerd that I am, I actually typed up a chart and recorded the difficult decisions I’d made in the past. Amazingly, in every situation where I felt that I had followed God’s leading, the outcome was very positive.
I realized that although the decisions were never easy, the results were consistently and amazingly good.
Did that completely eliminate my fear about the current “step out of the boat” situation? Honestly, no.
But did I gain a great deal of peace, reassurance and courage to do the next “hard” thing? ABSOLUTELY!
If you are feeling frozen in fear about a difficult decision you need to make, try this exercise! Take a few minutes and think about your own life from this framework.
Continual growth throughout your life results from recurring “step-out-of-the boat” experiences.
And the key factor to staying afloat when you step out of the boat is trusting God. Don’t get distracted by your fears. Don’t settle for the lie that the comfort zone is the “safest” place to stay. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Keep stepping out. You can trust Him. Every time.
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