Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

by Sharnessa Shelton

A few years ago I was on a camping trip with some good friends of our family's, in my beautiful home state of Washington. We were in the woods right by a very quaint and narrow river, and went one sunny afternoon for a little dip! So I stepped into the water where it was barely deep enough to touch the tops of my feet, and I was splashing them in and out, so enjoying the warmth of the shallow water! But as I glanced down I noticed just how muddy the water was, and how all the rocks that I was stepping on had the same nasty brown look because they were all covered with a slimy, slippery mossy-algae coating. So I decided to take a few steps out into the river, but the deeper I went, the more chilled the water became, the more rapid the current was and it suddenly wasn't so comfy! But as I looked down at the water this time, I was seriously stunned at how absolutely beautiful and brilliant the rocks were, and how crystal clear the water was. Each rock was individual and vivid - there were reds, greens, grays, and blues, it was SO striking! I was in awe of what I was seeing, when it hit me that this is totally an example of what our lives can be like.

Sometimes we're like the rocks by the shore side where it's shallow and warm. It's so easy for us to try and stay where we're familiar, to stay in our comfort zones. At the first it may feel to be the more ideal way, because it might seem more safe or more comfy. But see, being close to the shore, where the water is stagnant and cloudy, was causing the rocks to be covered with a yucky muck, they all had the same brown, slimy coating, and they were slippery, too. And if we're always staying in our comfort zones, where there's not much adversity, sure, we'll be "comfortable," in a more superficial sense of the word, but after a while that will turn to complacency. We start not minding a little muck covering some of our shine, i.e. - we start to compromise little by little (which is how Satan ends up getting his foot in the door almost always - bit by bit), in our relationship with Jesus, in our standards, in our attitudes, in our character, etc. We're "happy" in the place we're at, so we can't be bothered to change or to be challenged. Yeah, it might look nice further out in the river, but we convince ourselves that we're fine where we're at, and that our place isn't that bad after all compared to where "so-and-so" is at. We leave the more serious stuff to people who seem more "spiritual," or, as I've seen happen far too often, we say that we'll get serious about God when we're out of high school, or in college, or married, or have nothing better to do.

There's a scripture in Revelation talking about how God feels about us being in that stagnant place: "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!" Revelation 3: 15 (NLT). WHOA!! Pretty heavy, isn't it!!! That's quite black and white. And it doesn't say that He's just talking to adults here! He's referring to anyone who has made a commitment to Him. See, after a while if we stay in the place of being "lukewarm" we'll end up being lazy and complacent, and "looking like" so many others who've missed out on all that God had planned for them, who settle for less than God's best for their lives because "good" was "good enough." But just like the rocks - they all had the same look about them (i.e. - covered with the same filmy substance) because they weren't in an environment where they were being "challenged."

But if we're willing to step out into the deep, where it's not always so enjoyable, and even a bit scary at first because the current is fast and the water's not as inviting, then through that God will be able to make you into all He created you to be! Who He is and who you are will be able to shine through, as His refining fire strips everything away that's hindering you from being all He's called you to be and doing all He's called you to do! Allow Him total access to your life - to lead you out of your comfort zone and into all He's got in store for you. If you're in deep with Him, that mucky slime is going to have a much harder time building up around you and your life! Sure, it will try to build up, and may even be stick at times, but you DO have immediate access to the Ultimate Cleanser - Jesus!! : )

So I will leave you with this challenge: What do you want from your life? Do you want to make an impact for Jesus? Do you want the rubbish taken off of you so you will totally shine for Him and will be a light and a strength to those around you, a firm footing for them, as opposed to a "rock" covered with a slippery coating that could cause them to stumble? If so, then you need to allow Him total access to your life, to do whatever it takes to make you into who He's called you to be, to do all He's called you to do, and to touch all of the lives that He's called you to touch!!

Don't think that you have to wait years and years to make an impact on others for Him - start NOW! You'll find that people are drawn to you, as they see the difference in you compared to others, because they see Him in you more and more. Give Him access NOW to your life!! Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and into His control! So go for it!! Start TODAY!!!