Your comfort zone is like a beautiful, warm campfire. Everything about it invites you to stay right where you are. The warmth, the smell, the flickering light. And why would you want to leave? The night behind the light swallows everything else. But here, you’re safe.
Life is unpredictable, like the darkness pressing in on your comfort-zone campfire. You know you could get lost, hurt or worse if you attempt to go too far from what you know. Just the thought of it makes you take a step closer to the fire.
But if you think about it, you’ve been standing in the same spot for quite some time. True, your campfire remains nice and warm, but you’re beginning to wonder what’s out there. You desire change and something new, something else. This small circle of light is so familiar, though, that you struggle to know how to take the first step outside your comfort zone.
Moving out of your comfort zone plays tricks on your brain. You know you’re supposed to find satisfaction in Jesus, so why move if where you are is good enough? Isn’t wanting more or something different sinful, because it causes you to idolize change?
These are ways Satan keeps you right where you are, unmoving and therefore not as effective for Jesus. It doesn’t mean you aren’t spreading God’s love or sharing His truth, but remaining in your comfort zone restricts you from accomplishing so much more.
Step 1: Learn your comfort zone
In order to step outside your comfort zone, you need to know what makes up your campfire. This doesn’t mean everything that makes you feel safe or your routine or your home. There are people whom God calls to give up everything, but that doesn’t mean He is calling you to give up your house or your bed.
Learning your comfort zone means figuring out the areas of your life where you have felt the Holy Spirit nudge you. James 1:22 says to be doers of the Word, not just hearers. If there are areas of your life where the Holy Spirit has asked you to do something, but out of fear or discomfort you haven’t obeyed, that’s a sign of where your comfort zone resides.
If you abide in the Word of God and listen for the voice of the Spirit, you will learn how to recognize how far the light from your campfire reaches in your life.
Step 2: Write down what’s next
Once you’ve learned the areas of your life where God is asking you to step out in faith, write down what you believe He is asking you to do. Write down why it scares you. Then write down how God will help you overcome those fears.
If we keep our fears to ourselves, then it becomes more difficult to face them. Writing them down or telling someone about the steps you want to take to get out of your comfort zone is almost like a promise to yourself and to God that you are taking this seriously. It’s more concrete than a thought, and it’s motivation to stick to what you know to be true.
What God asks you to do outside your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily have to prove life-altering. It could be as simple as getting to know your neighbor — although this may scare you just as much as moving to Africa. God may ask you to use a skill He’s given you through volunteering at church. Maybe it’s saying no to more things so you’ll have time with Him.
This isn’t to say the Spirit won’t ask you to do something you may think crazy. Quitting your job to pursue something God has asked you to do, beginning the adoption process, buying tickets for a mission trip. And the list goes on until we aren’t living in fear but living for God.
Step 3: Move forward
Take the first step. Begin moving toward the Spirit’s promptings. Jesus has chosen you for a specific purpose. You won’t accomplish this purpose by staying where it’s safe your whole life. God asked normal, everyday men and women to do “crazy” things for Him. Those who said yes to God saw His glory revealed in their lives. They saw nations change and a Savior born and visions of heaven. All because they took that first step in obedience.
What do you need to do in order to move forward, away from your comfort zone toward God’s call? Take that step. Don’t allow fear of the darkness to keep you from following God. Yes, your campfire feels warm and familiar, but attempting to stand too close will begin to stifle you. The warmth turns into a fierce heat that can feel unbearable.
God’s purpose will always win. He can use someone, anyone, if you are unwilling. You can’t thwart God’s plans by staying in your comfort zone, but you’ll miss out on some extraordinary ways He wants to show you His glory and power. By remaining “safe,” you lose the experience of participating in God’s plan to the extent He desires you to participate.
Move forward. Live in obedience. If you practice these three steps, you’ll learn how satisfying it feels to walk out of your comfort zone into God’s purpose.
Let’s Talk About It: How do you live inside your comfort zone? What steps will you take to walk out of it?