Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


What’s So Bad about a Comfort Zone?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In your comfort zone, you feel safe, secure, loved, and treasured. And what is wrong with that? Autumn Dance, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at iCanvasART and Amazon.com.

If you haven’t heard the term “comfort zone,” then you must never attend church. Or work in a cubicle. Or listen to politicians.

Comfort zones — that area of life where we operate, well, comfortably because we understand our circumstances, surroundings, and parameters, are bad places, we are told, and our primary goal is supposed to get out of them.

Before you listen to, or follow, this regulative and directorial advice, let’s review the concept of comfort zones, and figure out what ours look like, and whether or not we need to make any changes.

Good? or Bad?

1) There are two types of comfort zones, bad ones and good ones. For an example of the latter, think of your bedroom (years ago it would have been your boudoir), a favorite chair in the living room, your special table at a chosen restaurant — wherever this place is, you feel relaxed, secure, and happy there. You’re free to be who and what you are, and there are no inhibitions about expressing your thoughts or opinions.

What on earth is wrong with this?

Nothing. God Himself invites us into a comfort zone in Proverbs 18: 10:

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Safety, security, shelter, comfort, being cherished – if these are bad things, God wouldn’t describe Himself as the source of them.

Wrong Motivation

2) Most of the time, when people tell you to get out of your comfort zone, it’s because they want you to do something for them.

“You’re too shy! Get out of that comfort zone and teach a Sunday School class!”

“God will give you the money for this short-term mission trip. Get out of your comfort zone and ask people for it!”

Being young, small, insignificant, unimportant, weak, or defenseless — these aren’t sins; they’re realities. Child of Eden, original painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at iCanvasART and Amazon.com

“Anybody can identify a weed. Get out of that comfort zone and volunteer for Community Service Clean-up Day!”

The Apostle Paul recognized some people’s controlling tendencies over others when he encouraged Timothy:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4: 12)

You may not be young, but if you are not considered a “leader” in your church or office, you may be emotionally susceptible to manipulation by others  – don’t let your perceived unimportance pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do.

You’re Never Alone

3) God, through circumstances, will take you into, through, and out of areas you would never choose on your own.

Cancer, job loss, relationship break-ups — God doesn’t impose these on you to “get you out of your comfort zone.” Life happens to all of us – “(God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5: 45) Anyone telling you that God is messing up your life because He loves you has a messed up view of God. Don’t add to your pain by trying to embrace perversity.

Instead, when everything you’ve held as secure is crumbling at your feet, find your true comfort zone in “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Denying Reality

4) Remember that bad comfort zone I mentioned in Point #1? A bad comfort zone is a denial of reality, which is something too many people are doing today, when it comes to the world we live in.

“We can trust our leaders.”

“The economy will pick up.”

“Bad things happen to other people because they deserve it. If you obey the law and are a good citizen, government will take care of you.”

Don’t believe everything you hear, or trust everything you read. Jeremiah 6: 13 warns us,

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.”

It has been this way from the beginning, and it will be this way to the end: guard your own heart that you don’t practice deceit, and question the motives of others:

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118: 8-9)

Or the promises of politicians. Or “news” from the networks. Or endorsements from celebrities. Or the teachings of motivational speakers — pseudo-Christian or not. Spend time reading your Bible and praying — NOT because God will get you if you don’t, but because you can’t recognize a lie until you are steeped in the truth.

Comfort Zone: you won’t find the term in the Bible, it’s not a sin, and it’s not something you allow others to hem you into, or push you out of. Free yourself from being told how to live, think, act, hope, understand, and believe.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity where I question what we’re being told and taught, by whom, and why. This is something within the grasp, and responsibility, of all of us.

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  • Karen

    When I read your blog, I thought of Abraham, when God called him to leave his home, family and everything he knew. He obediently chose to trust God rather than cling to the way had always been. I think God is always about drawing us away from perceived safety of our own making, into the true safety of His arms. Thanks Carolyn!

  • http://according2meredith.blogspot.com Meredith Elizabeth

    I think God wants us to go through comfort zones and uncomfortable zones within his will and vision for our life. I think we only need to focus on ourselves in reference to God’s will. We need not look to our left or right– just up to the heavens.

    If someone is blind and defeat how will they know the Bible? It is through their interactions with people modeling and sharing God’s brand of love. We can get so caught up on doctrine that we miss the relationship part with Him. Happy Easter! He has risen!

  • http://www.coachbrown.org/ Coach Brown

    A quick thought came to mind as I read your piece today… Psalm 23! The Lord provides guidance for us to discover our comfort zone, still waters and green pastures to rest and be refreshed, but the journey continues through the valleys and times we need to face our enemies… We cannot enjoy the comfort zones without experiencing danger zones! Whether in comfort or danger, the Lord promises to be with us. Thanks!

  • Scale Lily

    I was once asked by a pastor of a Baptist church in Apalachia if I would teach the college and singles Sunday School Bible study. He recognized that a lot of what they had been taught up until then through youth group was less than milk and more about numbers. I agreed and thought how much fun that would be to teach an expository class to my peers. It was the very next week that I returned and declined. It would not be uncomfortable to do a Bible study and it fed my ego that he would ask, but alas I was living with the girl that brought me there and though I believed God to exist and thought He influenced the Bible; I had no desire to repent and when I confessed to the pastor he cried. He told me he knew that many of his deacons had found a Sunday sort of comfort zone, and that this was the first time someone had shown a lack of comfort with pretending. You’re right it works both ways.

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