Happy, comfortable situations only show us one way to love God.
I was at a talk the other day at which the speaker drew a diagram like a bulls-eye. In the smallest circle she wrote “comfort zone.” We all knew what that was, and smiled.
The circle around that she labeled “push zone,” to represent the things we can do if we absolutely have to. It was considerably larger than the comfort zone. Outside of that was a third circle with the tag, “panic zone.”
The speaker explained that we have to make a conscious effort to expand our comfort zones, for they shrink over time when we isolate ourselves within them.
That work involves dealing with, well, uncomfortable stuff. But the benefit is that as our comfort zone expands, our push and panic zones grow proportionally smaller.
I missed whatever the speaker said next, because my brain wandered off to think about what Paul said about having “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). It struck me that “any and every situation” includes an awful lot that lies outside my current comfort zone.
However, it’s impossible to learn to be content in every kind of situation if I cling to the circumstances I know and like best.
Happy, comfortable situations only show me one way to love God. I can come to know Him in different, deeper, more challenging ways when I push through my discomfort to follow Him.
I glanced at the little sketch I'd made of the three zones in my notes.
When my goal is to grow in faith, my comfort zone is simply a launch pad. Somehow that makes the uncomfortable stuff a little easier to manage.