Last night I was blessed to experience something new and different for the first time... something that I have pondered participating in for years, but never actually did, due to comfort. This something was swing dancing. Literally I have thought about it for several years, and only now did I do it. And, it was absolutely amazing on every level. It was fun, invigorating, funny, entertaining, and wildly challenging. And I think to myself, why? ...Why did I wait until just now, after all these years of suppressing the desire? I can’t help but imagine how good I could be by now? How all these years I would have had one more hobby and social engagement to participate in, to make friends at, and to live freely? The answer is simple... fear of the unknown... fear of stepping outside the ‘comfort zone’. It is easy to talk about how we need to get outside our comfort zone... it is even easier for me to teach it, and challenge and encourage other people to do it, but when it comes time for me to apply the principle to myself, I often fail. I like to hibernate, stay safe hiding in my little safety zone... But what is there to gain in this? The only true gain in “comfort zones” is loss, loss of experience, loss of opportunity for growth, loss of potential. And it is funny how looking back at everything I’ve ever actually been willing to step outside this bubble for has been rewarding, and worth it, every time. Even if it ended up being something that I only tried once, I still gained from it. I mean, honestly, what is the worst that can happen? Upon truly thinking about that, especially with something as simple as a dance lesson, there is no logical explanation for not trying. So now I know. Now I can remember. I can use this experience to learn, to grow, and to remind myself next time I am faced with an opportunity to step outside my safety net and I find myself wavering... I need to just leap forward, and spread my wings to fly.
5 things to remember when struggling with stepping outside of our comfort zone:
Last week it was an honor to have a blog I wrote published in one of my most respected blogger websites, The Praying Woman. I find myself drawn to the writings by these woman daily, inspired by every story. I generally can’t get enough. I never really thought I would have a chance to be featured right next to everyone else. To have my very own writing on the same website of so many other writers who inspire me was a true privilege.
I have had several close friends and family members compliment my writing lately, and make note of how well written my thoughts are, but the truth is, they are not my own. I can’t take credit where credit isn’t deserved. See, truth be told, most of the time, when I go back to read what I have written in the past I don’t even remember it. Sometimes I am down right astonished that I even wrote it, so much so that I question whether I did or did not. And honestly, more often, I did not. I mean, in physical form I may have been the one fingering away at the keys on the computer, but those thoughts are rarely my own. They are God speaking life into my heart and mind. It is God teaching me a lesson, helping me process His word, or a message. They are God using me to spread His word, and share with others, in hopes to reach someone else with His greatness.
I thank Him so much that He would trust me with this task. To use me, of all people, to inspire growth in others, to share with others. I love writing, I do. When I get into a zone, a God zone, and I begin to write, and the thoughts flow through me and transpire onto paper/screen, it is rejuvenating, enlightening, liberating. I want to do it all the time, and I wish I could, but that is just it - I can’t. Maybe someday he will entrust me to write more often, but I am not there yet. I can’t force the words out of me onto the screen. I have to wait for them. I have to wait until He speaks them into my heart, until He fills my mind so full with thoughts, I feel like I am going to burst. Then and only then can I sit still and let the thoughts flow through me. Writing is healing. It helps me understand who He is and the richness of life he offers, and in the process I just pray that I can inspire another, the way so many epic writers have inspired me. I thank God daily for inspiring me through the talents he has gifted so many others with, and the truth He whispers to me. I thank Jesus for the hope He gives, and the light He shines.
Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet. And a light to my path.”