There is peace to be found in a comfort zone. It is where one can feel relaxed enough to let go of their stress, to rest, to heal, to pray without worry of ridicule or persecution. The comfort zone is welcoming for those who are weary. It is like a tent for warriors who need R&R on the battlefield, where they can lay down their sword for a few and regain their strength.
Comfort zones are needed when we are consumed by grief having just lost someone dear to us. They are needed when we’ve spent the day so overwhelmed with stress at work it took everything in us not to burst with anger, tears, and other raw emotions. It’s going to a friend’s home or meeting with your bible study group, because after a week of dealing with people who oppose your faith you need someone to understand you, when you need someone to lean on while you rest.
Another added feature is when you need to step back and contemplate a situation. Comfort zones allow us to set everything down (fear, worry, frustrations, etc.) so that we can examine something with our full attention. There are several instances that are better mulled over than reacted to instantly just to provide a quick response. To be able to think things through unhindered allows us to make the wisest decisions because it gives us time to pray about it and to listen to God’s advice. And, for some of us, our comfort zones are the main place to do that.
HOWEVER (and this is a big ‘however’; WordPress won’t let it get bigger than that), comfort zones aren’t meant to be lived in. They aren’t apartments or houses; they are tents. They are meant to be temporary. We cannot grow in our faith if we do not step outside our comfort zones. Sure, we can read scripture several times over from our zones, yet — as James put it — faith without action is dead.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”James 2:14-17
Yes, we can pray and read scripture all day long from our homes, but praying for someone is only half the battle. Please don’t misinterpret my meaning here, because I’m a strong and firm believer in the power of prayer. To quote my pastor, though, “sometimes you have to put feet on your prayers”. There is a song called ‘Do Something’ by Matthew West and he talks about seeing those who are going hungry, those who have to drink filthy water because they have nothing else, and knowing there were children being sold into slavery. He sang that he prayed ‘God, why don’t you do something?’ and God replied, ‘I did. I created you’.
God answers prayers and sometimes those answers are you. If you want to grow in your prayer life and be the prayer warrior like those in your church (or even like Pricilla Shirer) you must first step out of your comfort zone and learn to pray out loud. If you want to start a ministry and help those in sex trafficking, you’ve got to get your hands dirty. If you want to minister to your neighbor, you’ve got to stop avoiding the outreach team during an event and gain some experience talking to people and loving on them.
There are so many people who were called out of their comfort zones in the Bible. Jeremiah, Peter, and Elisha are just to name a few (Elisha has a really awesome story; you should check it out sometime if you haven’t). God was able to do amazing things through them, all because they were willing to take a leap of faith and step out of their comfort zones. Sadly, though, not everyone was willing when called:
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”Luke 9:57-62
These men had a chance to follow Jesus but didn’t because their refused to step out of their comfort zone. They missed out on getting to know Jesus while he was on earth when so many of us today wish we could have been like Peter and got to see Him face to face. When we refuse to step out of our comfort zones to experience the adventure God is calling us on we end up missing the blessings that come with that journey. The Lord did not provide comfort so we could relish in it and become lazy. No, He provided comfort so we can rest and heal.
As this post comes to an end, I want to thank you for taking the time to read it. I also wish to challenge you to step outside your comfort zone at least once this week and see how God moves. He promises to take care of us, so we have nothing to fear. I pray when you take that brave step outside your zone you can feel His presence so strongly that fear doesn’t chase you back into it. Be brave, my friends, and trust in the Lord. Let’s be amongst the few.
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”.”Matthew 9:35-38