“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” — Robert Allen
While I’m not so enlightened to believe you get whatever you want just by stepping outside your comfort zone, you have to agree that your growth is stunted when you remain inside your comfort zone. Living a Christ-like life will guarantee you have to step outside this zone of comfort, and get uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to pray for someone when your so wrapped up in your own world. It is uncomfortable to wake up extra early to read the Bible/Pray. It is uncomfortable to witness to someone you don’t know. It is uncomfortable to tithe 10% when you don’t see quite how your going to have enough for it all. And it is uncomfortable to give up old habits. But it is guaranteed that if you don’t step out and get uncomfortable, you’ll never experience life to the fullest. You will never reach the God-given potential you have been blessed with.
Ms Ryan and Ms Markova, author of 2006 book “This Year I Will…” have found what they call three zones of existence:
- Comfort is the realm of existing habit
- Stress occurs when a challenge is so far beyond current experience as to be overwhelming.
- Stretch is the middle zone where activities feel a bit awkward and unfamiliar and where true change occurs.
Here’s How To Exist In The Stretch Zone And Create True Life Change:
- Put God first. It is absolutely necessary to start your day in the Bible and in Prayer. The Bible remains the single most way the Lord teaches us and molds us into the image of Christ. It is going to be a little uncomfortable breaking old habits and waking up extra early. But this is the utmost way to go about creating true life change. Instead of going to sleep at 11pm every night, go to sleep earlier and wake up early to spend time with God. May your one resolution be to always put God first in everything you do. This is what opens up God’s blessing for your life.
- Do something different today. Look for new ways to stretch yourself. When you become too comfortable, you remain in that realm of existing habit. Make a list of new things you want to do, and just start with one of them. You will find the most success on focusing all your resources and attention to this one thing. When you place too many objectives on your plate, you are not really in that stretch zone…you have entered the zone called chaos. In your job, this one thing to focus on might be saying something positive versus always complaining. In your marriage this one thing might be doing something spontaneous for your spouse. In your life that might be choosing to eat something healthier for breakfast than what you usually eat. It really doesn’t have to be an extraordinary step you take. Do you plan on losing weight? just take one uncomfortable step today and get on that treadmill. Make that one step in a new direction every day, and take action.
- Embrace change. Some people have change forced upon them. Others go after life change and are even motivated by it. It’s better to be the latter. Try to adopt the attitude that daily looks for change and new opportunities.
- Don’t repeat old successes. This is another spin off the above two tips. You grow stagnant if you live off your old successes. You have to continuously create new ones. You have to be always forward thinking, looking at new creative ways to grow.
- Not What, But Who. Sometimes instead of focusing on what you should be doing next, or what is wrong with your current situation, focus instead on who you can help today. It’s uncomfortable to do this, because we usually think our needs and concerns take priority. But that’s not the way the Lord sees it. He wants us to be selfless like Jesus was.
- Go public and gain accountability. Find someone who is trying to improve in the same area as you are. Share your experiences with each other, gently nudge them when they slack off, and encourage their successes. If you can’t find an accountability person, consider posting about it on a blog, Facebook, or online forum.
Question: How have you challenged the status quo lately, even if it was uncomfortable? You can leave a comment below.
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