James 1:2-5New International Version (NIV)
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
This isn’t the first nor is it the last time I am going to talk about being in or out of my comfort zone. In fact, recording this took me way out of my comfort zone, ironically. It’s been almost a year since my last episode, and it felt like it. But here I am.
The devil loves us to be comfortable. Souls aren’t saved, people aren’t loved, and wonderous creation are not made in the comfort zone. The Bible talks about laziness, sluggards, and all those fancy schmanzy biblical terms many times. I’m not a biblical scholar, but you don’t want to be one of those things. A few months ago, a ran a 30K in the hills around my house in Southern California. It was hot and miserable. I finished dead last. I actually tied for dead last, but that was because the lady who was definitely older than I, waited for me so we could finish together. Finishing last wasn’t the miserable part. Finishing last, because I allowed it was the problem. I got too comfortable in my training. I was running the miles I had always ran. I was just running them comfortably. I know, that’s kind of waste of time. Excercise isn’t supposed to be comfortable. It can be fun, but not comfortable. I’m currently training for a 50K in a few months. I’m constantly reminding myself of the comfort zone trap. Life is the same way.
How do we step out of the comfort zone? Too [probably] oversimplify it, we have 2 ways to we often step out of the comfort zone. The first, and vastly the majority of the time is because we are compelled from a bad decision or bad actions. We do something stupid, naïve, or simply wrong. We step out of the will of God and have to work our way back from negative 10 to zero. It’s ok, it’s normal, and we all do it. The difference maker is how often we trade the energy from type 1 to type 2. Type 2 stepping out is a proactive approach. We aren’t reacting, or stepping out because we have to, we are doing it for a deliberate purpose. This is perhaps one the most difficult things to do in life. Afterall, our brains are wired to find a happy mediocrity. telling myself that running 10 miles doesn’t matter unless it “hurts” is easy until I’m 2 miles in and sweating up a storm. How we do this is different for each of us? This proactive approach to living looks like praying every morning “rain or shine”, writing that book you’ve always wanted to write, taking time to consider “ideas”, deep thinking, understanding, researching arguments, reading, loving, becoming vulnerable, deepening relationships, and much more. You will see, however, how difficult this actually becomes when you try to do it. I’ve had hours of uninterrupted wasted time at home. I’ll be watching TV, or reading a book, just floating along for hours. If I decide to brainstorm and idea, pray, or do anything deeper that surface level stuff, I all of a sudden become the most sought after person this side of the Atlantic. My kids get along just fine when I’m staring at my lawn; pick up a pen and paper and they become mortal enemies. If you don’t believe me, start a new exercise regimen. I guarantee you’ll get a cold or the flu in the next week or so. If not the flu, an emergency conference call will interrupt your morning run. The comfort zone is more like a war zone. Stay in it though, my friends. The reward of being tired, beat up and uncomfortable is much more “comfortable” than being bored, mediocre, and “comfortable”. Persevere as it says in James, and you will “be mature and complete, not lacking anything”…