Comfort zones are nice. They are warm, and well, comfortable. They are a place where we feel safe and secure and unchallenged. They can be incredibly important for us for a short time, when we are feeling very insecure, or weak, or lost. But you know what, they aren’t very interesting, inspiring, or helpful in the long term.
They Do Not promote personal growth and development.
They are stagnant and stale. We feel secure, and but since we are unchallenged, our physical bodies and inner beings are not growing. We need to be challenged, to push ourselves, if we really want to develop to our full potential.
The other thing about comfort zones is that if we are really and truly honest with ourselves, they actually aren’t that comfortable in the long term. Have you ever been sitting on the sidelines, your inner being just itching to take a step and try something new, but paralyzed by the status quo? I have. Whether it’s wanting to start a fitness routine, taking a step of faith and invite God in, opening up and being vulnerable with another person, or just getting up and having fun with the kids. I’ve had to step outside my comfort zones in all of these areas. For the longest time I had been itching to start taking my physical wellness more seriously. It took me some time because I was afraid. Afraid of the challenge. Afraid of failure. Afraid of the judgement of those who are already living the life I wanted to move towards. Afraid of the judgement of those not living the lifestyle I wanted to move towards. Afraid to leave my comfort zone. Afraid of the change.
I faced the exact same inner struggle when I came to faith in Jesus. Every part of it, every fear. Both of these decisions immediately began to shape my identity, my future, and my children’s futures and identities. Both of these decisions were vitally important to my growth and my health.
Making Facebook “Wellness” page and sharing so openly has also taken me outside my comfort zone. Creating these blogs has also taken me outside my comfort zone. I’ve stretched.
A journey into greater emotional and relational health can also take us outside of our comfort zones. We may be interacting with others, or even ourselves in unhealthy and potentially destructive ways without even realizing the harm being done. These interactions can become the norm, and although we may be unhappy with the patterns, they are familiar and “safe”, so we stay in them. When we come to realize how truly harmful these ingrained patterns are we may try and change them. This undoubtedly leads to a period of instability, of inner and outer turmoil even. It would be much easier, we think, to leave well enough alone. But when we push out of this comfort zone, and work through the initial challenges and pains, we will most certainly find ourselves in a place of greater joy and satisfaction.
Here is another relatively recent example of me leaving my comfort zone. This past summer in July my family and I were at the Whitecourt Rotary splash park I wanted to go down the river ride with the kids. I really did, and those around me could tell I did. But I was scared. Even with all the work I’ve been doing, I was insecure in my bathing suit. I am also not known to run and play with my kids in public, that’s always been “more Dylan’s thing”. But I wanted to go, I really did. I could have stayed paralyzed by my insecurities, stuck in the prison of my “safe” little comfort zone. But I couldn’t stay there. I had to push myself out of the trap and have some FUN! So I did. I only wish I had gotten up and into the water sooner! Yay FUN! I want running and playing with my kids, not caring who’s looking and what they’re thinking, to be my new normal. Please feel free to hold me accountable to this goal!!
Finally, (I am so long winded 😉 )I want any and all of you to be encouraged. If there is something in your life you’ve been longing to begin, some comfort zone you’ve been wanting to step out of, you CAN and SHOULD do it. Maybe it’s beginning your own journey into physical wellness. Or spiritual heath. Maybe it’s a new career or a new relationship. Whatever it is, if it is something that will grow you and challenge you, if it is healthy for your body, soul, or spirit Go For It!
*The only side note to this would be: if your step out will harm someone else (as in cause serious long lasting damage) please think very carefully about whether or not you should be taking that step!*
Have a blessed and beautiful day!