Comfort zones….are they worth clinging to?

Comfort zones….oh, I love them! Seems they take a while to develop but once you have one established, well, it’s so comforting! Comfort zones enable you to know largely what to expect, there are few surprises, few occasions to feel exposed or vulnerable. There is a wonderful predictability about life. A safeness. Like a snuggly blanket.

For the adventurous, risk-taker, the adrenaline junkie, comfort zones may be abhorred and misunderstood. They might recoil at the mere thought of such routine. For others of us, we need them.

Wikipedia defines a comfort zone as a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security. That definition causes me to feel a bit pathetic but not for long. I’m weird; I don’t like change but I don’t like other things to stay the same very long. Go figure.

I feel like since I came back to my home area in 2000, my comfort zones are continually being challenged. I was READY to leave the Work when I did; desperate for a change of everything. I wanted my comfort zone/routine shaken up at that point.

However, fast forward a few years. My mother passed, I had a great job, but the ever increasing unrest and frustration I was feeling about the meetings was forcing me to look at the status quo of my life and see if I could continue to live like I was. The changes I could see ahead that would need to be made seemed daunting at times and yet they beckoned me. I knew just about everything would change if I made the decision to leave the meetings. It would rock my world and also those closest to me. I had to dissect it all piece by piece.

I knew I wouldn’t be doing things with the friends any more. But the reality was I had already quit going to get-together’s and potlucks. I did not enjoy these times at all. Sunday morning meeting was stifling and I had quit attending all other meetings quite a while before that. I was looking forward to being free from system rules about appearance since I had quit believing in the necessity of them my last year in the Work. For me, not being part of a community anymore was different but I found I didn’t want to be part of it anymore; it was sucking the life out of me. I slowly found Christian friends and started forming a new community.

Interestingly enough, in the years since leaving, my new circle of friends are largely people who have a similar background of meetings. I have a couple of close friends that still attend meetings but they are non-judgmental and living outside of the professing box quite a bit.

The time spent alone unlearning things that were not true and then learning what truth really was became an exciting and soul searching time and I was getting to know God like never before, so it was well worth the discomfort! I learned too that just because something was different and made me a bit uncomfortable (like attending another church service) did not make it wrong. Worshipping with modern contemporary music was different but God spoke to me powerfully through those songs.

Through it all, God has continued to shake up my routines and my comfort zones for the sake of my spiritual growth. He knew that some of the reasons I was resisting change were not the best for me at all. In fact, they were keeping me back from moving forward, from a richer and more meaningful life, greater joy, fulfillment, and more peace. Some of my friends kept telling me those things but I just wouldn’t listen for a long time.

I keep seeing how it is a matter of walking by faith and less by sight. That whole concept is so difficult for me. Sometimes we need to take a good long look at what we are so afraid of letting go and ask ourselves why and what hanging on to that thing or person might be keeping us from.

No one left their comfort zone more so than God when He came to this earth in the form of Jesus. Even though He was coming to the very earth He had created, yet it had to have been vastly different from heaven and certainly His place and role in heaven. Because Jesus walked on this earth and hasn’t forgotten what it was like to live and work and be here, gives me great comfort and assurance that I can let go when the Holy Spirit is prompting me.

What must also be mentioned is that whatever God may be asking us to let go of, no matter how uncomfortable it feels, He will ALWAYS be leading us to something that will ultimately be much more comfortable…much more. He will lead us to something where our soul will feel at home like never before. We will then wonder why we clung so long and hard to the old when He had something so much better to give us in exchange.

“Light after darkness, gain after loss, strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears, home after wandering, praise after tears.

Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain, sight after mystery, peace after pain;
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast, rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.

Near after distant, gleam after gloom, love after loneliness, life after tomb;
After long agony, rapture of bliss, right was the pathway leading to this.”

You will find that much of that hymn will be your reality right now, in this life. It won’t all be on the other side. (yes, heaven will be a complete fulfillment of those things but He wants us to have heaven on earth at times as well.)

So, I write this for myself as many of my current comfort zones are being challenged.

“Oh Father, You have lead me this far and Your leading has always been so good. Help me trust You once again and forgive me for my doubts, for clinging to my ways rather than Yours. Help me always remember that You are leading me away from something only to lead me to something better. Keep my eyes on You at all times.”

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6 thoughts on “Comfort zones….are they worth clinging to?

  1. Comfort zones are very confining! They keep us from growing! They define us! There’s a terribly uneasy feeling when stepping out of it! How can there be so much fear of man in a comfort zone?!
    I’m beginning to wonder about the word “comfort zone” It’s more like unknowingly being caught in a snare. In a cage! I’ve said before that there’s someone in me who’s wanting out! I found out who that was when I became free!
    Praise and worship is so freeing! That’s what was wanting out!
    I went to a Beth Moore conference this past weekend and I need to tell you that “I COLORED OUTSIDE THE LINES” It is so liberating!
    For the first time I raised my hands in praise and worship. So NEW to me! I LOVE THE NEW ME!

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  2. I went to the blog this morning hoping for a new post and what a comfort it is for me! I have been struggling lately with missing convention and my close friendships in meetings. I called a special friend last night. She was a worker in Canada for a few years, left and got married and then left meetings after another 35 years. She quickly helped me understand that I was longing for a comfort zone that I had developed for over 40 years. It is the social network that I miss, not the fellowship. For 4 days at convention we get to “fit in” for a change. But, I would be rolling my eyes very quickly as workers took to the platform and began the drone of sacrifice, self denial, arrived so empty, need to do more and do better, etc., etc.

    I am grateful for the friendships we have now and look forward to what God has in store for us. Many thanks Darla!

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  3. I’m reading the book “Radical” now and learning more about letting go of my comfort zones and listening for the prompting and leading of the Spirit. Thanks for another verbalization of my thoughts and journey.

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  4. Wow, what a great post! Life has usually been very uncomfortable to me. Food has been my comfort. When things were most uncomfortable I would escape into a plate of biscuits and gravy or a box of ice cream. As the years passed it became very apparent that my comforts were killing me! So it is when we seek out our own comfort zones. Jesus assured the disciples that he must go in order for the comforter to come. Now that we have that comforter, “the Holy Spirit”, we can trust that God knows best and can give us a peace that passes all understanding regardless of our circumstances. It is wonderful to let go of our own comforts and trust in Him. As Kevin Eicher wrote in an earlier post, just jump!

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  5. Perfect timing for this! May my heart and mind be so consumed by Him that He’s all I desire! Who am I to suggest to the perfect Creator of the universe a better plan?! A lesser trial in my life?! When these very trials are all bringing me closer to Him so that I may glorify Him with more depth!
    My struggles last week brought me to this comforting verse;

    ++He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalms 91:4 NLT)++

    I trust Him with my soul! So ya, I can trust Him with my life!
    #lovethewayHelovesme

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