What do you tend to order at restaurants? Do you get the same thing every time? Or do you try the latest special?
Do you opt for a wine you have never tried? Or do you go with your favorite Merlot?
For food, I’m the kind of guy that sticks to the familiar. Yet, in other parts of life, I try to leave my comfort zone. It is never easy. But it is critically important.
Profiles in Spiritual Courage
Leaving our comfort zone is the only way we grow. It is the only way we learn new skills. It is the only way we will meet people and discover experience that enrich our lives.
I find inspiration in the lives of several biblical figures. In fact, the entire Hebrew Bible features individuals who burned with a passion to leave the familiar and find new challenges and experiences. Their characteristics and choices can give us insight on how to do so.
1. The first is Abraham. The Bible tells us that he “left his father’s house…” to journey to “the land that I (God) will show you.” In other words, God says to Abraham, “Leave everything you know, head out on the road, and trust that with faith, you will find the promised land.”
“I will not tell you exactly how to get there,” God implies. “I will not describe to you exactly the way it will look and feel. But I ask you to trust that you will there.”
God’s call is a bold, scary one. Yet, it contains deep wisdom.
Stay Faithful to the Vision
When we try something new–when we open a new business or enter a new relationship–we do not know exactly how it will turn out. We cannot plan out everything in advance. In fact, when we try out to map out exactly how, we close off options that may help us along the way.
What is critical, however, is that we have trust in the ultimate destination. Without that trust, we handicap ourselves from the beginning. We miss out on the spiritual strength that will help us throughout he inevitable roadblocks.
Abraham had it. So can we.
2. The second is Moses: The best example in Moses’s life is when he first leaves Pharaoh’s palace. Moses, we recall, was raised as a Prince in Egypt’s royal palace. Yet, one day he leaves. He puts his faith in his brethren, the enslaved Israelites.
What sparked this decision? The Bible gives us a hint to the answer. It says that Moses looked to his left and right and saw “no person” nearby.
The literal meaning of the text is that Moses was standing alone. The deeper meaning, however, is that no one was willing to stand up for what was right. Moses knew that slavery was wrong. He knew something had to change. And he realized that he was the only one with the courage to step forward.
When we need to do something difficult–when we need to step outside of our comfort zone–we need to get in touch with our “why.” What is motivating us?
Keeping in Touch With Our Purpose
If are making a decision to enter into a new relationship, we need to remind ourselves of what joy and meaning it can bring to us. If we are deciding to have a difficult conversation with our son or daughter, we can remind ourselves of our responsibility as parents and our stewardship for the gift of children that God has given us.
Few of us relish the opportunity leave our comfort zone. We can come up with any number of excuses for not doing so. In the end, however, it’s only when we leave the comfortable that we can discover the remarkable.
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In what experiences have you left your comfort zone? Did any obstacles get in the way?