Posted: 9/21/18 at 4:30pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Many of us spend much of our time in stagnant or declining situations because we allow “remaining comfortable” to become our core value.
Most of us, once we have a system that works for us, don’t want to change anything. Why should we? Our system works, and we are familiar with it.
Yet most inventions that changed the world began with someone taking risks to do things that are not comfortable—seeking to discover something new.
Few new developments come out of our comfort with the status quo.
Most new developments emerge not from the pillows of comfort, but from the crucible of necessity and the discomforts of life.
I think that getting stuck in the comfort zone also keeps a person from growing spiritually as they should and keeps a church from adapting to remain effective in a rapidly changing world. Most people don’t seek to experience God in a fresh encounter, because they feel comfortable where they are.
Our coziness is more appealing to us than the unknown things God might reveal to us or things God might ask us to do, which are beyond our comfort zone.
Let’s take a look at the life of Moses. He had become quite comfortable in his known routine of taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. But when God manifested himself to Moses via a burning bush, he broke from that routine to take a look. That’s when God spoke to him about his future (Exodus 3:1-7).
He’d had a quiet life as a shepherd—just him, the sheep, and the desert—where he knew all the trails and all the dangers.
So when God spoke to him out of the burning bush, he got uncomfortable. God told Moses that he has heard the cries of the enslaved Israelites in Egypt and that he planned to deliver them from Pharaoh’s power (cf. Ex. 3:7-9). In Exodus 3:10 (ESV) God said: “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” That is when Moses realized that God expected him to follow God outside of Moses’ comfort zone.
Moses thought that his life in Egypt was long behind him, separated by 40 years of history and forgetfulness. But he was being told to go back to Egypt and challenge the Pharaoh, who ruled most of the known world, to insist that Pharaoh set God’s people free.
It is never easy to go back to where you grew up, to see people with whom you are uncomfortable, or to go back to a land with a different language and customs.
Moses was also being told to assume leadership of the people of Israel. He knew that they already had leaders and that the new leaders could resent a new person declaring that God had sent him to deliver the people from slavery. All these things would require Moses to leave his current comfort zone.
Have you been considering pursuing a new job, or new vocation, but not pursuing it because it might require you to do some things beyond your comfort level? What is it that makes you uncomfortable about it?
Maybe you are single and desire to find a mate but don’t want to explore the options because meeting someone and dating them are things outside your comfort zone. Are you going to remain alone, just because meeting someone is uncomfortable for the first ten minutes?
Are you going to overcome the restraints of your comfort zone to experience growth or better opportunities? Or will you decide to remain trapped in your current situation indefinitely, because at least you are comfortable with it?
What is God asking you to do for him which would require you leaving your comfort zone?
What is God asking you to do that might be currently a little too uncomfortable for you to even consider?
What might God be asking you to do in service of him—things that scare you to death? Moses ended up up overcoming his feelings of discomfort and went back to Egypt to be used by God in a mighty way.
How about you? Will you risk some short-term discomfort in order to open up new possibilities for your life?