God is up to something in my life. He’s moving me out of familiar territory and ushering me into the unknown. He’s moving me out of my comfort zone and to be honest, I don’t really like it. I am a creature of habit and a fan of the familiar.
- I find comfort in doing things the same way. Routines satisfy me.
- I feel better when I know what to expect. Surprises disturb me.
- I am at ease with people I know and love. Forging new relationships unnerves me.
It’s hard for me to transition into this new phase because for the past few years I’ve been living in my comfort zone and it’s been, well…comfortable. Quite comfortable. But now things are changing and my comfort zone is shrinking. Things aren’t as comfy as they once were. God is easing me out of my comfort zone and I’m finding that moving out is a bit frightening.
When God decides to shrink my comfort zone I know. I’m no longer at ease doing what I used to do. My heart longs for something more. I yearn for things that seem outside of my reach. I’m well aware God has something better for me outside my comfort zone, but the thought of The Great Unknown scares me.
The ancient Israelites who had fled from Egypt knew something about this fear of the unknown. God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, but they had to travel outside of their comfort zone to get there. Twelve spies got a sneak peek of the new land and its inhabitants, and though the new land was full of marvelous resources, a few men convinced an entire nation that stepping outside their comfort zone would be too risky.
They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. (Numbers 13:27-28)
Caleb interjects to offer a positive perspective but he is quickly silenced by the naysayers.
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:30-33)
And so because the Israelites refused to trust God with their future, they were forced to do laps in the desert for forty long years. The situation they thought was comfortable turned out to be quite uncomfortable. In addition, a desert trek that should have taken a few weeks, turned into a decades long excursion.
Is God nudging you out of your comfort zone? If so, I’m not the least bit surprised. He’s always encouraging us to follow Him more closely and we have to move in order to do that. If the familiar is no longer comforting, He may be calling you out of your comfort zone. If you’re feeling there must be something more, He probably is. If your circumstances leave you feeling boxed in, cramped, or immobile, it may be time for you to pull up the stakes, pack up your tent, and move on out.
Scared to do so? You’re not alone. Open your Bible and read about Nehemiah, the brave reconstructor or Esther, the once timid queen, or Moses, the reluctant yet mighty leader or each of the twelve disciples who accepted Christ’s invitation. All were moved out of the familiar and into the unknown. But once they stepped out, God was able to use them to do His will and they were able to see God at work in their lives.
When God prompts us to move into a new area and begins to shrink our comfort zone, it’s always best to move and follow Him. We may be frightened and uncertain, but we can trust God. He’s with us now and He’ll be with us then. God knows what is to come and if we listen to Him, we’ll always be equipped to handle whatever the future holds.
I’m stepping out of the zone. Won’t you come with me?
© 2015, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.