Getting out of one’s comfort zone is a bit of advice peddled frequently in our culture. In fact, the comfort zone has the reputation of small town greasy spoon – avoid it at all costs. For decisions more important than trying a new latte flavor at the local coffee joint, what if there are times when the comfort zone is okay? Let’s look at my water skiing experience to see two benefits of the comfort zone.
When I water ski, I prefer the slalom. However, instead of being a skier who cuts back and forth across the wake with speed and precision, I emerge from the lake, adjust my bathing suit, sputter, blink, and set up camp directly behind the boat inside the comfort zone of the wake. The few times I’ve dared to cross the wake, I’ve lost my balance and skittered on the water like a skipping stone on a pond. I’ve told myself to be brave and try again, but wisdom wins when I picture waking up in the hospital with a broken body pumped full of pain meds, which would put me in a different kind of comfort zone.
Though it appears to be a painless decision for me to stay behind the boat, it takes determination. When the boat turns, I clutch the rope and shift my weight to remain within the wake’s boundaries, even though it would be natural to allow the boat to pull me to the right or left.
It’s easy to think our lives are boring and are in need of shaking up. Maybe they do, and if God leads us out of our comfort zones, then we must go. There will be times when God wants us to risk and trust him.
But is the advice of leaving our comfort zones always right?
Not if it means neglecting to pray. Not if it means leaving God out of the decision-making process. Not if it means disregarding scripture. Not if it means using shortcut methods to meet needs God is willing to fulfill in his own time. And not if it means caving into pressure from society and other people.
As I’ve learned from my experience skiing, we can demonstrate wisdom and determination when we disregard the popular sentiment and dwell in the comfort zone. The key is allowing God to direct our decisions on when to leave.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.