During my headhunter days, there was a line I often shared with candidates which always gave them something to really ponder on.
“Your comfort zone isn’t the best place for you.”
I’m referring to the type of comfort zone that keeps you in a stagnant state and disables you to unleash the great potential God has imbued in you. This is usually driven by fear. We choose to stay trapped in a treadmill of doing of what we have always known to do but not love to do for reasons that are invalid. We go through the daily grind of our work without having a great purpose to fuel our hearts and minds. We need this, you know, to produce brilliant masterpieces. Without a love-filled sense of mission, you will never be able to produce that, which will put a joyful song in your heart, even if you get to receive praises from the people around you. You would bless people and bring glory to God when you have the right motivation for doing things.
When it comes to comfort zones, there are usually two types of people:
I am not in my comfort zone. I need to leave.
This is the group that would tell you they feel led to take on a new route in life that would push them to make a lot of changes. These are people who incessantly think that where they are planted now is not the place they should be in. I’ve felt this many times in my life. It could be caused by the discomfort, annoyance or sting that your commitment to something brings. It could be that people you looked up to have to turned out to be the individuals hurting you. Honor the honorable commitments in your life. Only be dislodged from those that are pushing you to dishonor God. Choosing to stay even in the midst of challenges can be the pruning that you need for your growth, spiritually and emotionally. It will make you tougher. If you have the right heart in this season and prayerfully go through this rough time, you will come out of it wiser, stronger and more mature. What to do when you’re experiencing this? Ask yourself if it is the voice of faith or fear speaking to you. If fear is driving it, dispel it immediately. If faith is the one fueling the need for change, take it up in prayer with God and consult people whom you know will guide you to take the path God wants for you. Don’t be a quitter. Get out only if you have done what God has called you to do in that phase of your life. You will be missing out on the blessing God has for you in the finish line when you quit in the middle of the race.
I am in my comfort zone. I don’t want to leave this place.
If the first group of people is afraid of how things will turn out if they stay where they are, this cluster is all about staying because of their fear of the unknown. They are fond of just settling for something because it’s already in front of them. They stick to something because it’s familiar and not because of a compelling reason to commit to it. They know very well that they are okay where they are but without knowing that they’re no longer flourishing and growing as a person. A person in this group may just decide to stay because of money, reputation or the comfort this place brings. This is dangerous because they can just choose to be blinded by the amount of comfort that they have already received by just merely staying there. For a time, yes, you would feel comfortable but it’s about dangerously being comfortable with a withering state in your life.
What’s common in both groups? Faith is missing and they’re both in their “frozen by fear” zones. The first group requires people to have the persevering type of faith and the other needs individuals who have the launching out type of faith.
What must you do then? Put your Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. When you rationalize a lot, you may just be trying to convince yourself you’re doing the right thing even if you’re not. Read God’s word, pray it out, get wise counsel from people who can help you paint a clear picture of where you are and the next steps you need to take. It would also be good for you to be guided by the following questions highlighted by Andy Stanley in one of his highly acclaimed books (The Best Question Ever):
“In light of your past experience, what is the wise thing to do?”
“In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing to do?”
“In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?”
I do not claim to be an expert in this, but I have learned a few gems of wisdom and encouragement through experiencing tough times.
Don’t trust yourself when, clearly, your thoughts are being driven by fears. Being truthful in answering these questions, coupled with prayers, Godly counsel and faith, can bring you to the turning point that will refresh you and put you back on faith’s tracks. There is wisdom in being humble enough to admit that in truth, you do not know all the answers. Only God has this omniscience. If God brought you to your season now, remember that He knew exactly why you should be there. Trust God’s heart.