Sometimes you gotta step out of your comfort zone.
I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to stay in my comfort zone. It’s way easier inside my comfort zone. I know how things work inside my comfort zone. I know what to expect inside my comfort zone. I mean, I just feel comfortable inside my comfort zone.
But sometimes staying inside our comfort zone isn’t the best or healthiest thing for us.
My Comfort Zone
For three and a half years I was the interim pastor at a wonderful church in the town of Westmorland, California. The people there became more than parishioners to me. They became friends.
When I started working there, it was outside my comfort zone. The church was far from where I lived. It required me to stay overnight in Westmorland, away from my family. It was in a rural, rather than urban, community.
During my first year, we worked through some important issues in the church. As we worked through those issues, the church became a little bit healthier. And as time went on, the job became easier. Which felt really good. I knew (and loved) the people. I knew the routines. I knew what to expect.
The truth is, this church was now well within my comfort zone.
Leaving My Comfort Zone
So, when I was asked to apply for the interim pastor position at Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church, I wasn’t really interested. I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone.
But I went ahead and applied, anyway, and even interviewed for the position. After that first interview, I thought to myself, “Nah, I’m comfortable where I’m at.” I had no intention of going further with the interview process. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was motivated by comfort.
And I’m not sure comfort is a particularly healthy motivation.
It was after my second interview that I felt the nudge. The Holy Spirit gave me a little poke in the ribs: “C’mon, Markus. You’ve been comfortable long enough. Time to step out of your comfort zone.”
So, I did. I said yes to the new church and to taking the very uncomfortable step of having to say goodbye to my old church.
The Discomfort Zone
I’ve been at Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church for about two and half months now. Has it been easy? Nope. It also hasn’t been outrageously difficult, but it has been outside my comfort zone.
There are new challenges to be worked through and new obstacles to be overcome. But also new opportunities and new possibilities. And the truth is, I haven’t had any buyer’s remorse. Not once have I thought, “Shoot, I made the wrong decision.”
Just yesterday, I was working through a stack of e-mails. For a moment, I thought to myself, “Man, I don’t want to be responsible for this.” And in the next moment, I thought, “No, this is exactly what I need to be working on. This is why God called me here.”
What About Your Comfort Zone?
Sometimes leaving our comfort zone means leaving one job and starting a new one. Sometimes it means moving to a new place. Sometimes it means staying right where you are while embracing the call to do something new.
So, my question for you is this:
Are you stuck inside your comfort zone?
Are you trying to hold on to–or get back to–your comfort zone?
The world has changed a lot in the last two years (not to mention the last twenty or fifty years!). The temptation is to try to stay inside our comfort zone.
But maybe God is inviting you to step out of your comfort zone. Maybe God has some new challenges and opportunities for you. Maybe those new challenges and opportunities are just what you need to breathe new life into your calling.
I don’t know what God is calling you to do at this time. Maybe nothing. Or maybe something. And maybe that something will be little less comfortable than you’d prefer.