Moving Outside your Comfort Zone

newpottychairI’m in the throws of potty training.  My other kids were all trained before three.  But with my latest and greatest Garrison…well, he’s a little bit more stubborn.  He’s already three.   And he knows how to go peep in the potty, he just doesn’t want to.  I even bought him a pretty cool potty chair that he can sit on and play on the ipad.  His pre-school teacher bribes him with stickers.  I resorted to skittles bribery.  Yesterday I finally put him in big boy underwear and let whatever happens happen.

Garrison has all kinds of excuses to not sit on the potty.  But basically it’s just easier to peep and poop in his diaper.  He’s lived his whole life sitting in peep and poop…why would it start bothering him now?  Why should I force the potty training?  We all know the answer to that…

We all have stages of maturity and growing up that is basically forced upon us.  As adults, do any of us regret being potty trained?  No….

comfortzoneBut what happens as adults as we cultivate our comfort zone and we act like a 3 year old and refuse to leave that zone.

There’s many reasons why I don’t leave the comfort zone.  For me, the comfort zone represents a safe place.  It’s familiar.  It’s secure.  There are very few risks in the comfort zone.  I don’t have to adapt to change.

But just as a stubborn 3 year old sits in a dirty diaper, there are things I’ve experienced as well as I linger in the comfort zone.  I start feeling:  fearful, depressed, mediocre, average, in survival mode, and an absence of joy and happiness.

Here’s the thing….I think God created me with a mish mash of gifts & talents that can’t be utilized in the comfort zone.  They’re pretty much wasted there.  They’re hidden.  It’s not until I step out of the comfort zone that those gifts and talents can be perfected, refined, and used.

Ephesians 2:10 NIV  10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I don’t believe God created any of us to be ordinary.  Can you picture God with a paint brush creating a masterpiece and saying…I think I’ll make this one ordinary…?  Nope.  But I do believe by staying in the comfort zone, we stay ordinary.

So how do I force myself out of my comfort zone?  When I was a kid, I remember the fear I had of jumping off the high dive.  I wasn’t the type to close my eyes and jump.  I needed convincing or pushing.  Mostly convincing….

Here’s what works for me:

  1. Decide to move beyond my comfort zone.
  2. Recognize that if I’m not being challenged, I’m not growing.
  3. Make a list of all talents God has given you.  Once your list is done, identify which ones you are using regularly.  Then highlight the ones you haven’t used recently.  This will help you determine where or what to do next.
  4. Make a list of the talents you haven’t used and then schedule on your calendar when you will do something that will utilize those talents.
  5. Start journaling or blogging about your experience.

My brother recently paid me a visit.  He lives in Oregon.  I live in Texas.  He drove down to Texas to help our cousin build a house.  Talk about moving out of his comfort zone!  He retired a few years back.  He says he loves retirement, but I’m guessing he must have been getting a little bored.  He confessed to me that he doesn’t handle change very well.  I laughed.  That is such an understatement! Here’s what I really admire about my brother. He has catapulted of his comfort zone. He had the courage to pack up his car, leave his sweet wife and dogs and travel 2500 miles to do something he’s never done before. (I can picture him shaking his head as he loads his nail gun into his trunk) Since retiring he’s become quite the handyman.  But building a house?  This is a first.  He is using the talents God gave him.  He’s moved beyond fear, depression, mediocrity….and moved into success, happiness, purpose, passion, and growth.  He’s even blogging about it here.

Go on….take one step and do something a little uncomfortable.  I’d love to hear how it turns out…

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