Leaving my comfort zone always made me feel very anxious. To the point where I would do anything I could do avoid it. Just the thought of doing something different or trying something new scared every fiber of my body. I loved my routine and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
It never occurred to me that staying in your comfort zone actually means not growing. You are pretty much in the same spot, occasionally moving around it, but that’s as far as you go. How can you possible discover anything new? How can you learn more about yourself and others? How can you make any progress? How can you become a better person?
My biggest problem was that I didn’t really trust God. I thought I did, but then again, I was still letting my fears and anxieties control my life. I was still constantly worrying what’s going to happen and how I would cope. That doesn’t exactly scream trust, does it?
I love this verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV), but I found this very hard. For me, trusting meant understanding. It took a lot of studying the Bible to realise that I will never understand His ways. I don’t see the whole picture like God does. So, how do you trust when things don’t make sense to you?
If you go through the Bible, you can see clearly how God always provides and keeps His promises – in His way and His time. Things don’t necessarily go your way and the timing may be really bad, but luckily God is almighty and He knows what He is doing. If you just have a look at your past, you will see how you can now make sense of things that happened you didn’t understand back then. Painful events can bring you closer to others, they give you opportunities to give and receive help, to comfort and be comforted, to understand and be understood, to love and be loved. You lose something, but you gain something better.
Not everything will make sense to us and some things will cause us great pain and make us angry, or afraid and stressed. I used to think this was God’s way of punishing me. Why would He allow me to go through something so painful? Why wouldn’t He prevent bad things from happening? If He loves me, wouldn’t He do that? How can I trust Him, knowing that He won’t protect me when I need Him?
I learned that God’s love isn’t about making me feel the way I want to feel or about always getting what I want. Neither is it making sure I will always feel safe in my comfort zone. No, God will give me what I need to grow and become the person I am supposed to be. As a loving Father, He knows me best. His love is greater than anything and is never ending. No matter what I do, nothing can take that away from me. He is always there to help me and give me strength.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Psalm 3:5-6 ESV)
When I was finally able to acknowledge and understand this, I slowly started to let go of the pain and anger that I was feeling. What I used to see as a punishment before, I now see as a challenge and opportunity to grow. I also realise now that getting out of my comfort zone is necessary. It still scares me, but I don’t have to do it on my own. God is always there with me. He is gently pushing me forward. I am no longer resisting, but I am trusting Him that He will lead me where I need to go. I know that He loves me and I can trust Him. I am more and more confident with each step I take.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 ESV)