So I was walking out of my comfort zone last year and decided that I wasn’t really up to it. So I turned around to go back only to discover that God had sealed it off. Go figure. I guess He had decided it was time to move forward in my life and that my beloved comfort zone would not be a part of my future. If I am being honest, I’ve poked back around that old familiar comfort-zone territory again a few times this year, trying to sneak back in… but it is completely razed to the ground and it seems that, in its former location, the Holy Spirit has erected this mammoth sign that reads,
“Why sit we here until we die?” – 2 Kings 7:3
So I am not going back there anymore. It’s currently vacant so I would offer it to you but there’s one thing I’ve learned about people who would want my old comfort zone: they don’t need mine because they already have one of their own.
Nothing significant has ever been accomplished from a comfort zone. Do you know why the oversized, plush recliner was invented? Because somebody was uncomfortable. Granted, those chairs were actually created for comfort… but not until someone grew uncomfortable with the standard-sized, normally padded recliner. When things get uncomfortable, we move. When everything remains the same we get cozy and might even hazard the possibility of staying in that comfortable place until we die. Most of the people you know are either intentionally or subconsciously living in the pursuit of some form of comfort. We prefer financial comfort over financial unknowns. We like to live with physical comfort and hate the reality of aches and pains in our bodies. In our marriages we want our spouses to be safe and predictable and often employ our own influence to help them be just like we wish they would be. Our jobs and careers need to be calm and guaranteed – no unwelcome seasons of change with our employment status, please. Bigger homes = greater comfort. Cloth seats or leather in that bigger car? Leather is more cushiony so why even ask the question. We are all, on some level, looking for a life-masseuse into whose hands we can melt and relax.
And then there is our personal journey with God. We believe in what I like to call “the tidy Almighty”. He is predictable, explainable, manageable and, above all, comfortable. We have mastered the 17 important things to know about Him, have exquisitely perfected our denomination’s Thou-shalts & Thou-shalt nots. We know when to show up on Sunday’s and get our religious duty done and many times we actually enjoy it because we picked a place to worship that is, well, comfortable. We even pray to the tidy Almighty regularly so we know that He knows what we think we need to keep us, again, comfortable. When we master the system we join up at a church that also ascribes to this same system and we get to gather with others so we may take comfort in our fellow comfort-takers. As long as the tidy Almighty doesn’t throw us a curveball then it’s all good.
But every now and then we sense something tugging deep down within us. We hear this unsourced whisper of “There’s more…” We hunger and thirst. We ask and seek and knock. We hear something from someone who doesn’t traffic in the same understanding of God that we have lounged in for so long. This person has passion. This person has joy. This person is free and is actually happy in Jesus. She talks about her bible as if it were alive. He speaks easily of Father, Son AND Holy Spirit. These people have nothing to prove, nothing to protect and nothing to lose. Suddenly, we begin to desire something more than our ongoing comfort zone. We want what we sense that they have. I think…yes…this is an…actual encounter…with God that we find ourselves wanting.
And He is pleased to give us what He has been offering to us the whole time. By the way, you will not find what He is offering you – what you really desire – in that plush comfort zone you have spent so long crafting for yourself. He is calling you out from there. He is calling you up from there. Walk out of your comfort zone today. Don’t turn around for re-entry into it once you walk away because it is pointless. When you get up from your comfort zone He seals it off. If you stay there too much longer, you might just get sealed in.
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