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Comfort zones can seem like comfortable and nice places to be. They can be warm and inviting and places that we don’t really want to leave. We get accustomed to them, even if they were once outside of our comfort zones.

My first comfort zone that I really majorly stepped out of, by choice was leaving my home in PA to go to school in a small town in VA. Now the school itself was not small, just the town. And it was 6 hours away from home. I only knew a couple other people but I knew it’s where I was supposed to go.

It turns out that my decision to go to school in VA was one of the best that I would ever make. All because I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I met people that would become some of my best friends, even to this day. I would earn my teaching license and make connections with people from all over the country. It would even help to land me the job that I have now.

Another time that I stepped out of my comfort zone was when I made the choice to stay here after graduation. I didn’t have a job. I had little money, didn’t have a bed. But had a place to live. Found a job and started to try and make it on my own. If you can I truly encourage people to do something like that. Don’t settle and move back in with mom and dad unless you absolutely have to. We have to grow up sometime. We can’t keep relying on them to take care of us forever. I don’t want that honestly. As much as I love them, I want to be able to take care of myself and eventually take care of my family.

So I got comfortable with that job that I took. I got comfortable with the people that I was living with, even though to some extent both were uncomfortable. But they were familiar. I was used to the fights that we would get in and the routines that were established. I got used to the language and the drinking that we did. I got used to how I was treated by my customers at the restaurant. I got used to my boyfriend at the time asking for money. I got used to him not really being there for me. So even though things were uncomfortable, I was used to it and it was my comfort zone.

This is not the kind of comfort zone to be in. We should not get used to being like that. Why do we allow ourselves to get comfortable with not being okay? It’s not healthy. We are worth more and deserve more. If we find ourselves in a comfort zone like that, we should look to step out of it as quickly as we can. Because there has to be something better outside that comfort zone.

I’ve also found that when things have gotten so uncomfortable, it’s time for a change. And God is going to make that change happen whether we are ready for it or not. And it works better when we are on board with the change.

Often times stepping out of our comfort zones is leaving where we are living or where we are working. It may mean getting out a a relationship or changing churches. I encourage you to take the step out of the comfort zone…why? Because it works. It may be tough and uncomfortable for a moment but if you are following the Lord….phew man does he bless you. Let me tell you a couple of examples just from the last year for me.

I had been having a hard time finding a church that I really wanted to go to. I hadn’t felt part of one or connected really since I had left home after high school. We had campus church at school so we didn’t really have to find somewhere to attend or get involved. Then I went through a phase where I thought I didn’t need church.

One day last fall I went with my friends to my then boyfriend’s church. Man was the Lord’s presence in that place. Boy did I feel like that was where I was supposed to be. But everyone else was uncomfortable and I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone yet. Instead I would be forced to step more out of my comfort zone with it. I would end up breaking up with the guy that I was dating but still felt the tugging to go back to that church. I would eventually go back in February.

And that was it. I decided that I couldn’t fight where the Lord was calling me to go. As much as it was going to be painful to see my ex basically every day since we worked together and were now going to the same church I did it. Little did I know that he and I would be on okay terms for the next several months. Until August when he decided that I was what was slowly killing him.

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I am still going to that church and continue to step out of my comfort zone even there. I come from a church where we sang hymns and choruses. No one hardly clapped and people definitely didn’t raise their hands. My church now is one where we are free to worship how we wish whether it’s dancing, raising your hands, clapping, shouting etc. just praise the Lord and my pastor does not squelch the spirit when he’s moving. Our services are never the same and you never know how long they are going to last. I love it!

I’ve decided to help with the youth…partly because they thought I was one. I’ve decided to help greet and usher. And they approached me about helping with the new members. I really want to join the choir but for now that’s off limits. Maybe one day. I have been blessed with this because I stepped out of my comfort zone.

My other big area that I stepped out of my comfort zone in was with work. I have now been working for the same university and department for 4 year. I worked in the call center then went to our welcome center to meet face to face with students helping them with registering for classes and whatever else. Then I went back to the call center. That was not something that I was happy about. But since then everything has been slowly starting to fall into place. It’s been a long journey but I can see the Lord’s hand in it all.

I was able to go back and have my own caseload of students as an Academic Advisor. I got to build relationships with them. I learned about them and their families. I learned about what their goals and aspirations were. I got to see some of them graduate. And the Lord somehow used me to help get some of them through some tough times. Even when I had no idea.

But I got burnt out and tired and fed up. I was hungry for a change. I finally renewed my teaching license and was ready to roll. I had given up on going back to the Welcome Center. I had given up on being a lead advisor. It seemed like everyone else was progressing and I was stuck. I loved my students and the people that I was working with. I was stuck in a comfort zone that I was meant to get out of and I knew it.

Praise the Lord it worked out! I knew change was coming. I had leads on jobs. Someone from church even told me about a teaching job. But then they approached me about going back to the welcome center to work with our students face to face.  This time I was going to be the lead. I was going to have more responsibility. I was nervous but knew it’s where I was supposed to be.

I have officially been in that position for 3 months. And I couldn’t be happier. I enjoy going to work again. I look for ways to improve things. I love the diversity and knowing the different programs. I enjoy the people that I work with.

These a just a couple ways that I have stepped out of my comfort zone. I could go on. But step out of your comfort zone. Even it’s just a little step. Say hi to the people around you. Spark up a conversation with a cashier at the grocery store. They are people too and need an encouragement. Go explore some place new. Move to a new city, make a new friend.

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So how are you going to step out of your comfort zone today????????

~Lynn

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