Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
When I was young, I played basketball. I loved it and spent much of my free time practicing and playing. I started out my education in a very small Christian school and in the 5th grade, I began playing on the basketball team. And when I say “the basketball team”, that’s exactly what I mean. With an enrollment of around 100 students k-12, there was one team. Period. In the 5th grade, I was on the same team as the seniors.
Being from such a small school, doing new things and meeting new people greatly intimidated me. I was outgoing and talkative in the small group of friends I had within the school, but otherwise I was very introverted.
So when my dad wanted me to try out for a traveling basketball team when I was 13, I told him “no way!” He didn’t listen to me and made arrangements for me to attend a practice. I begged for him to not make me go. I was so scared of not being good, not knowing the girls, not knowing the plays, etc. On the night we were leaving for the practice, I cried and begged him one more time, claiming that I didn’t want to play with them and was afraid. He took me anyway.
It was one of the most uncomfortable things I had ever done up to that point in my life. Even after the first practice, I held to my opinion that I didn’t want to play with them. My fears were realized. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the vocabulary they used, and I felt like I wasn’t nearly as good as everyone else. I secretly hoped they wouldn’t want me to come back, but that didn’t happen.
The series of the next practices became better and better and as I became more comfortable in this new team, I began to really enjoy it. This decision (of my Dad’s) led me to 4 years of playing travel ball and ultimately led to me developing as a player enough to play basketball in college. I made good friends, had lots of exposure as a basketball player at the National level, and ended up making incredible memories that I would never have had otherwise.
All because of my Dad pushing me out of my comfort zone.
This is a simple story to describe how sometimes getting out of our comfort zone can lead us to things we may have never experienced before. Though this example is of little significance compared to our spiritual lives, we can apply the principle to many things that we go through in life.
God spoke about not being afraid many times in the Bible. I believe He calls us to step outside of our comfort zone, to stretch ourselves, to help us see new worlds, to help us reach people for Him that we would not have otherwise reached. We can prepare ourselves for this comfort upheaval in all areas of our lives.
The more we experience, the more comfortable it gets to be uncomfortable.
And we hang onto His promises that He will give us His peace and calm our troubled and anxious hearts.
There’s a quote that says “Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” I believe that life really begins when Jesus is invited to be our Savior and that life is full and fulfilling when with Him, you step outside your comfort zones to face the unknown and grow.
How is it that you are being called out of your comfort zone? Whether or not you have been forced out or are being called out, I encourage you to embrace it and know that God can use this situation in your life to help you grow and to quite possibly if you are willing point other people to Christ.
*Disclaimer: If the uncomfortable zone you are being forced into or pressured into isn’t following God’s principle’s, then that’s the time you should stand up and fight against it. The discomfort I write about is morally sound. 🙂