There’s a place you can go that threatens every dream and desire you’ve ever had. A place where your potential can be sucked right out of you. A place that will chew you up and spit you out, leaving you a lesser than version of who you were created to be.
You need to know about this place because it is dangerous … and it’s ever so near. This place constantly beckons you with it’s enticing advertisements and false claims. It says “come here, life will be easier here.” But if you go, you get stuck. It’s like Hotel California, you can checkin any time you like but you can never leave.
Without even knowing it, you thought about this place this morning. When your alarm rang, it was likely the first place your mind went.
What place am I talking about? What is this danger to your dreams, desires and potential? Where is this threat to who you were created to be?
IT IS YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
This is the place where you’re lulled into doing only the things you feel like doing. This is the place where you settle for what is easiest and what is immediate. This is the place where you go into a downward spiral of being comfortable.
Comfort is like a drug. Once you get used to being comfortable, you become addicted to comfort. Here where things are easy and you’re not forced to do anything you don’t feel like doing, your ambitions are thrown away. Your God given dreams are exchanged for cheap imitations with immediate gratification. This comfort zone is where your dreams go and die.
And let me tell you something … Your creator, the one who placed a world of potential inside of you, the one who breathed his vision for your life within you, HE DOES NOT WANT YOU STUCK IN THIS DANGEROUS PLACE FOR ONE MORE DAY!
It called to you this morning with the lull of your comfy bed. Just 15 more minutes of sleep. Just a little more laying here and being comfortable. And it’s funny how it’s never enough. 15 minutes turns into 30, then before you know it you sacrificed valuable time to begin your day well because you were stuck in the comfort zone.
And how about comfort food? Oh that food that just makes you feel so good right in the moment, then it sits like a brick in your stomach and you feel ill afterwards. Dang, why do we fall for that? Why are we eating for comfort rather than nutrition? What have we done to our bodies in the process?
My most popular devotional I’ve ever recorded here was titled “Brownies Are From the Devil.” I’m a former brownie lover. I could bury my face in a pan of brownies and eat 3/4 of it by simply trimming the edges. Like seriously y’all, I would never sit down with a plate because in my mind that would be wrong. I’m not allowed to eat a brownie. So instead I would stand in the kitchen and just trim the edges. Cut a little from this side, and a little over here. Pretty soon I’ve had the equivalent for 5 brownies and I never even sat down to enjoy 1.
But then what happens … I feel shame and guilt.
And THAT is why brownies are from the devil. He works in the things that make us feel powerless. He dwells in the places that leave us feeling ‘less than’. The devil doesn’t give a flying flip what you eat … but he darn well thrives on making you feel defeated, discouraged, overwhelmed and disappointed.
But here’s what we MUST be aware of … these things that make us feel defeated, discouraged, overwhelmed and disappointed first appear as highly desirable choices in the moment.
Here, put that off until later. Right now just sit here for a little longer. Ahhhh, sounds good. Then you’re completely overwhelmed later with all you have to do because you didn’t get started when you should have.
Girl, don’t worry about that today, you deserve a break. Take a rest day. Anyone ever have a rest day turn into a lazy week, turn into a complete faceplant off the wagon and wreck in the woods? Understand it was the whispers from the comfort zone that drug you into this place of defeat and disappointment once again.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP FALLING FOR WHAT IS COMFORTABLE?
Remember the story of Jonah? Jonah was a good man with a desire to do God’s will in his life. But something went terribly wrong and we all know Jonah for one thing … getting swallowed by a whale. (Read the book of Jonah, starting in chapter 1.)
Why? Why did this happen to Jonah? Why did this misfortune fall upon him? Why did he spend 3 days inside of a whale? Because he would only go where he was comfortable.
God had a mission for Jonah in Nineveh. But Nineveh was a scary dangerous place filled with vile people and of course Jonah didn’t want to go there. He wasn’t comfortable with going to this place, so he went where he was comfortable. He hopped on a ship and headed to Tarshish. A nicer place that would surely be easier for him.
But God didn’t call him to where he was comfortable, he called him to a place far outside of his comfort zone. And he calls us to the same. He invites us to do things that will be hard for us. He leads us to hard places with tough choices. He tells us to wait for the goodness he is working as gratification is delayed … but we like our gratification instant.
So what happens when we opt to stay where it’s comfortable instead of forge ahead to our destiny? We encounter storms.
There on the boat heading in the opposite direction, a storm comes up threatening the lives of everyone on the boat. Jonah knew the storm was his fault. He knew it was his decision to do what was easiest over what was right that had created this storm. So, he’s thrown into the sea where a whale comes and swallows him up.
That sucks. Can we all just agree that sucks?
But this whale wasn’t forever. This whale served the purpose of helping Jonah see what was comfortable for him wasn’t what was best for him. There in the most uncomfortable situation of his life, he prayed and he surrendered. And when he did, he received the STRENGTH to do what was right.
Is that what you need? You need the STRENGTH TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT? Strength to resist what feels good right now and do what is good long term. Strength to break the chains created by choices of immediate gratification, and break free to experience true gratification in living up to your potential. Strength to go where you know you need to go and do what you know needs to be done, even when you really don’t want to.
What do you do? You do what Jonah did. You quit running and you surrender.
This situation you find yourself in is likely far more uncomfortable than the one you’ve been running from.
Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot harder to live in sickness than it is to control what you eat. You’re afraid of not being able to eat the things you want to eat, well imagine not being able to do any of the things you want to do.
It’s much more miserable staying in a toxic relationship where you’re robbed of your joy, than it is to be alone for a season. But you run so hard from being alone that you keep running right back to relationships you should have never been in. And this is far more uncomfortable than what you’re trying to avoid.
The whale was a lot worse than just going to Nineveh and doing what God said to do. But Jonah couldn’t see that until he was there in the belly of the whale, fully surrendered and desperate. Then finally he was ready to be uncomfortable and go where he was supposed to go.
Are you ready to make the choices you know you need to make? Are you ready to deny the invitations of your comfort zone and dare to do the hard stuff? Well sister, God is ready to strengthen you.
You don’t have to do this alone. Not for one moment. Ask him for strength to make the right choices today. Ask him for guidance out of this comfort zone you’ve been sitting in watching your life pass you by. Tell him you’re ready to live now. Tell him you’re ready to do this thing right.
He’s ready to partner with you.
The whale spit Jonah out and he went to Nineveh. And what’s really crazy is, once he got there, things weren’t as bad as he imagined. The people didn’t attack him. They didn’t kill him. In fact, they listened to him.
Well imagine that, God actually knew what he was doing.
And God knows exactly what he’s doing in your life too. The thing you’re avoiding isn’t as bad as you imagine. God is strengthening you now to step out of your comfort zone and do the very things you’ve only been dreaming of because you were too scared before.