Your Spiritual Comfort Zone
I found a pattern, a cycle I’ve been trapped in. I was having a rough night and during nights like these I like to write and pour out myself for introspection. The beauty of being a poet is you get to see yourself grow through so many experiences and (mostly) remember who or what inspired each piece of writing. So as I’m walking through memory lane, I stumbled onto this truly terrible self-deprecating poem. I was poorly treated and felt chewed and spit out by a guy I knew. To my dismay, I realized the poem still applied to my situation almost exactly the same date 5 years later! Almost down to the same week, I was having the same EXACT experience with a NEW person! How could this be?! This can’t just be a mere coincidence! Five years ago I wasn’t even a Christian! I thought after becoming a Christian, patterns would be broken and I can be this new person in Christ. While this is true, if you are not able to admit your faults and sins to God and consciously make steps towards breaking bad habits, you will be stuck in the same patterns and making the same mistakes, crying to God about the same things until you’re ready to leave your spiritual comfort zone!
As a result of a lifetime of these experiences, I have barricaded myself away into my lovely comfort zone. If someone who normally appears to have a nasty attitude did not say “hello” to me, I wasn’t going to approach them. If there is drama between certain individuals or even with me, I would avoid them at all cost. “I am an introvert and I don’t like people” was my excuse. And worst, I realized I have this habit of not reaching out to people (friend or lover made no difference). While my social anxiety has improved drastically over the years, there are still some habits that I do out of comfort. There are negative subconscious beliefs about myself that I am somehow not enough for the people around me or that they won’t like me or get bored of me. (“For as a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Proverbs 23:7) It has affected all my relationships and friendships. (“Therefore guard your heart for out of it springs all the issues that affect your life.” Proverbs 4:23) When dating, I would not reveal if I am interested in a man nor call them to initiate any conversation. I had been burned so many times, I needed people to contact me to make me feel that I mattered to them.
I had to break the cycle by going against what I’m used to doing. I had to put myself out there instead of hide or run away. Because even if I didn’t get the results I wanted, God gave me the results I needed. I had to trust Him! When something excites me, (especially in dating), I tend to run ahead of God and start drawing myself closer to whatever or whoever makes me feel good (or comfortable) instead of God. When something stresses me, I would turn to negative vices in the past to ease me into “comfort.” Whatever the situation, I was happily treading back to my comfort zone! I had the audacity to claim God as my number 1 when I did not turn to Him before making these decisions! God doesn’t always send us into peaceful green pastures. Sometimes He sends us into dangerous territories. Sometimes we end up in a Lion’s Den or a furnace; places way outside of our comfort zone in order to get the fruit He is trying to yield out of us. Then and only then, can our lives truly change and our faith can grow.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – I Peter 5:10
Journalist and writer, Jennifer Wright also put it in wonderful terms:
People talk about caterpillars becoming butterflies as though they just go into a cocoon, slap on wings, and are good to go. Caterpillars have to dissolve into a disgusting pile of goo to become butterflies. So if you’re a mess wrapped up in blankets right now, keep going.Oh it’s ugly! It’s messy and extremely uncomfortable but it is a necessary process. There will be times you feel you are falling apart. You may not like what you discover about yourself. Good. Let God put you back together as the masterpiece you were originally created to be (“Before I formed you in your mother’s belly I knew you; and before you were born I sanctified you…” Jeremiah 1:5). Who were you before sin, past hurt, and trauma altered your decisions? Pray and ask God what fruits is He trying to yield from you. Ask Him to help you face these fears and break these negative thought patterns. Remember that you are enough! God only wants your heart and no matter how unworthy you feel, God will never abandon you. The career of your dreams, the love of your life, and the future friends who will affirm you along the way are right outside your comfort zone!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
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