Out of Your Safety Zone

July 2, 2011

by Maria Fontaine

Audio length: 10:48

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We all have our safety zone, that range of circumstances that we’re comfortable with or the people that we’ve learned to interact with easily and without much conscious effort. The borders of that zone are often determined by our fears, and what we think will be acceptable to others in our behavior, and what exceeds comfortable levels of effort on our part.

The safety zone is nice and cozy. The problem is that if we allow it to govern our decisions, it can end up leaving little room for growth or development. It can stifle our experiencing all that life has to offer, and unless we continue to stretch ourselves, we can risk becoming complacent in heart, mind, and spirit.

The danger of our staying within our personal safety zone if the Lord is trying to broaden our horizons is that we can gradually be lulled into a mediocre existence where we don’t explore our potential. We can lose the ability to see how much more we can attain, to the point that we no longer take those exciting leaps of faith.

It’s uncomfortable to break through those boundaries and there are risks, because we don’t know what we’ll encounter. But the satisfaction, the fulfillment, and the excitement of facing new people, new ideas, and new opportunities is all part of what makes us deeper, purpose-driven individuals. We can never know our full potential unless we are willing to stretch beyond what we think are our limits.

Peter was telling me about a time when he visited a physical rehabilitation center, and had watched a man who was learning to walk again. The man had been taking only shuffling tiny steps, but the therapist had decided that it was time for him to do more. The man protested, fearful that it was impossible and that he would fall. However, with a therapist on either side, virtually forcing him to walk faster and faster, he realized that he really could do it. He never would have taken those steps of progress on his own.

The nature of the Lord is such that He sometimes disrupts our comfort zones and brings new challenges into our lives that force us to take a hard look at the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves, so that we can step outside them. As we do, we often find out that it’s not quite as unsettling as we had imagined, and many times we find a new world of opportunities and potential that we hadn’t previously thought was possible.