Bust out of your comfort zone
They looked like slugs! Giant, squishy, juicy slugs!
I eat and enjoy most foods, but not mushrooms. So when George and Olive, my host family in Australia, set a heaping plate of mushrooms in front of me, my heart sank.
I had powered through pizzas and casseroles peppered with mushrooms many times. But the menacing plate of mushrooms taunted my soul.
Did I mention they were squishy? Juicy? Growing larger by the second? Crawling around?
Moments earlier I would have told you that George and Olive were the sweetest people on the planet. But if they would have tried to sneak one more mushroom onto the pile on my plate, it would have caused an avalanche (of mushrooms and sadness).
So how does one eat a heaping helping of a detestable food? I learned:
- Put bites in your mouth.
- Chew (but not too much).
- Swallow (really hard).
- Don’t throw up.
- Say thank you.
Ten minutes before the plate of mushrooms was placed in front of me, I would have told you that I could not eat a plate of mushrooms. Something changed. My comfort zone surrendered.
“Comfort zone” seems like a nice way to put it. The “zone” restricts and represses. If public speaking is outside of your comfort zone, you may believe that an inanimate force obstructs you from speaking. Comfort zones trap us; sometimes we never overcome them.
Our church is committed to growing in discipleship. We want to help people know God, grow in their walk with Him and lead others do the same. Comfort zones war against us. They discourage us from investing and inviting. And they don’t lessen their death grip with time.
The ticks of a clock won’t expand your comfort zone. The more we surrender to a comfort zone, the more it closes in around us.
So how do we get out?
My friend, Dane Tyner, scribbled on a wrinkled paper a few months ago. The images keep swimming around my head.
Praying, seeking encouragement and taking baby steps will help you bust out of your comfort zone. But at some point, you must move from comfortable to uncomfortable. You must chew and swallow, no matter how it tastes.
Busting through a comfort zone builds muscle.
The more you move from comfortable to uncomfortable, the greater your strength to bust through comfort zones grows. Some things become easier for us. Other things remain difficult, but confidence replaces fear.
Image three demonstrates that your comfort zone expands. If jumping off the diving board was previously unthinkable, now you leap with gusto; and you are staring down the high dive.
I still don’t like mushrooms. But I know I can eat them.
Chew and swallow.