Hollow Earth as mentioned in my book VERIFIED! 15.5.15
Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.—Philippians 3:13–151
Once you start stepping out of your comfort zone, the leap becomes easier and less intimidating over time; you’ll grow accustomed to what researchers call “productive discomfort.” Armed with a newfound acquaintanceship with the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, you’ll find yourself more willing, more eager, more at peace with the idea of pushing farther and climbing higher.
Our lives are filled with the situations that beckon us outside our bubbles. Whether it’s deciding to cut out sodas and sugar to lose the extra weight, go to the gym consistently, leave the job we hate, start a job we love, or even to join a Bible study with, dare I say, strangers, we regularly come within inches of crossing the threshold of our comfort zones—but we hesitate. We turn back because we’re afraid, because we lack the faith to move our feet forward.
One day Jesus was teaching along the Sea of Galilee when He decided to hop into a nearby fishing boat and make the rocking vessel His pulpit. Perhaps He noticed that the boat in which He sat was fishless, because after His seaside sermon, He told Simon the fisherman to move into deeper water and cast his nets there. Having had no luck all day, Simon responded reluctantly, but respectfully:
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”2
What do you suppose happened next to the fishless fisherman? The next verse tells us:
“When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”3
Not only did the nets start to break, but another boat had to come to their aid, and then both boats began to sink—and perhaps stink—with fish!
This snippet of Scripture speaks directly to those times in our lives when we find ourselves frustrated and forlorn, yet simultaneously unwilling to move past our comfort zones toward deeper, more promising waters. We feel like fishermen sitting idly in an empty boat. Like Simon, James, and John, we’ve done all we can with the talents, time, and tools we have. We’ve awoken before the break of day, set our sails, cast our nets, watched the moonrise and the stars appear, and returned home without having “caught anything.”
What do we do? To be completely honest with you, when I don’t catch the fish, so to speak, that I desire after an all-out effort and hours at sea, my first impulse is to return to the harbor and trade in my fishing nets for a new line of work altogether. The last thing I want to do is go into even deeper water and try again. I love my comfort zone too much! But that is exactly what Jesus asked Simon and the other fishermen to do. Despite his better judgment, Simon trusted and obeyed this captivating “Master” and was richly rewarded with a hardly containable catch of fish.
The Lord wants to do the impossible in our lives. But to do so, He asks us to trust Him completely and to obey His word without conditions or complaints.—Diana Anderson-Tyler
There will be times when the Lord does something new or gives you what may be for you a radical new idea. Your natural reaction might be to click into “safe mode”—to shy away from the idea or to be hesitant to seize the opportunity, because it’s new and untried and seems risky. But maybe it will be a case where the Lord wants you to seize the day. Because if you wait too long, or if you make others wait too long while you try to play it “safe,” or you generate a whole slew of red-tape-type hoops that you have to jump through, or that others have to jump through, you might miss the opportunity or the open door the Lord is presenting.
If you don’t flow with the way the Lord is guiding, sometimes you risk missing a golden opportunity that has the potential to catapult you forward in a significant way. This highlights the importance of being willing to take risks when that’s what’s called for. In other words, not just generally being willing to take risks—because some people have that quality in abundance—but actually taking them when needed. This is called taking a calculated risk; that is, a risk that you take after having considered the various pros and cons, and having committed the project to the Lord. For example, you might be taking a calculated risk by deciding to walk through a new open door of opportunity, or to embark on a project that requires long-term collaboration, or to move to a new country, or to take on a new career path or to try a new method in your outreach.
When it comes to taking risks, you’ve got to do your homework. You’d be wise to take time (even if you only have a small window of opportunity) to pray, to objectively discuss the pros and cons, to counsel with others, to hear from the Lord. If the Lord gives you the green light, then you can have the faith to take the plunge—with wisdom, desperation, prayer, and common sense—and trust the Lord for the outcome.
We want to preserve the good things in our lives and what the Lord has instructed us to build, but we have to be careful of holding on to and preserving the old for the sake of preservation alone. If this is our mindset, then we can wind up solidifying and dying. We can end up restricting the Spirit’s ability to move in us to do new and innovative things. We have to be willing to step outside our comfort zones to try and do new things, to change and to grow; we have to keep trading our old wine skins for new ones.
It’s difficult when we have to “roll the hard six”—that means to make a decision or to do something that’s potentially high risk and high reward. But when the Lord shows us to do that, then we just have to trust the Lord for the outcome. It will have come to that. But that’s our primary guarantee of everything in life, isn’t it?—The “God factor.” That if we trust God and follow what He shows us, everything is going to be okay.
We need to be ready to seize the opportunities the Lord brings our way, because when the Lord’s Spirit is moving and flowing freely, open doors are plenteous. We can’t let the doors the Lord opens for us close or the buses of golden opportunity pass us by. As David taught us, it’s not as though the Lord will never give a second chance, but as much as possible, we want His first best; we want to capitalize on the opportunities the Lord gives us right away.
We need to be wise, prayerful, and consider the various factors and options, but we also need to be prepared to seize the day and support others as they do the same. We can’t wait for everything to be so perfect and risk-free that we move too slowly and end up missing the Lord’s open doors of opportunity.—Peter Amsterdam4
Next time you hesitate to ask for more, ask yourself: What is the worst thing that could happen if I make this request? I believe we are scared of the “no,” both personally and professionally. Consequently, we stay in our “comfort zone” rather than moving past our fears in faith. Think about it: How many times have you stayed somewhere when you knew God was calling you in a different direction, simply because you were scared of the unknown, of your critics, or of disappointing someone?
If your mentality is that you do not deserve more, you will never get more. You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you ask for. So don’t be afraid to ask.—Morgan Canclini
The spiritual journey requires a departure from our comfort zone to step out into a world of unknown realities. … This story line is reflected in all the Old Testament sagas. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, and Joshua all had to step out in faith and leave their old world to follow God’s promise. Even Jesus had to step out of the comforts of heaven to walk among us, arguably the most powerful mythic story of all time—a true myth.—Dwight Longenecker
Even Paul had a comfort zone. When you and I step out of our comfort zones to share the message of … salvation, we experience some anxiety. Even Paul shared this emotional connection with us. On one level, this statement by the über-apostle may shock us. We expect to hear Paul thunder away at the sinners and eloquently encourage the believers. This well-educated man of Jewish culture, transformed by Christ, who always presented the gospel with power, readily admits he often spoke “in weakness, in fear, and with much trembling.”5 Perhaps he understood the statement from Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”—Ed Stetzer
2 Luke 5:5 NIV.
3 Luke 5:6 NIV.
4 Originally published December 2008, adapted.
5 1 Corinthians 2:3.