How Do Comfort Zones Become Uncomfortable?
How important is comfort to you? Is it a present priority? Or are you busy thriving and surviving, and you rarely think about comfort at all? Is your daily schedule so full until, at the end of each day, you fall asleep with tomorrow’s agenda on your mind?
Why do you push yourself into constant overdrive? Do you drive so hard today; because, you are preparing for the days when you can just sit back and bask in relaxation? Some people spend years working, with a count down to retirement on their minds. Oh yes; many Northerners, buy time shares to properties in Florida. They plan to become snow birds and spend winters on the sunny beach? Do you see yourself among this group?
Perhaps you are the type who grasps bits and pieces of comfort each day. Or are you that person who enjoys stress so much until you only find comfort in the midst of tense situations? I know, you are thinking, “What? Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind finds comfort in stress?” Well many people do. Business executives and sales representatives thrive through the pressure of completing last-minute assignments. College students ace exams and write “A” papers, after cramming all night. Some athletes even testify of how their adrenaline levels rise at the thought of stressful challenges. The question is, “Why do people find last-minute preparation and challenges exhilarating?
Is there an element of comfort in stress?
Saying that there is comfort in stress is a bit of an oxymoron. Especially when you look at Merriam-Webster’s definition of comfort zones. It says, “The total level at which one functions with ease and familiarity. Or a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable.” Ease and stress don’t usually gel. …And, because comfort is an antonym of stress, one would also surmise that there is no comfort in stress. But, that’s not always the case.
I was one of those college students who found comfort under pressure. Years ago, when I studied for my undergrad degree, I wrote many papers the night before they were due. I completed take home exams right up to five minutes before their cut off time. I would even finish some of my accounting homework on their due dates, while I was on my lunch breaks at work. Any accounting major knows that’s stressful; because accounting is difficult. The stress was frustrating; yet fulfilling. I found a sense of achievement in completing tasks with such limited time. It was crazy and a bit egotistical; but it was my loony comfort. Do you know anybody like that?
My habit of finishing course-work at the last-minute even spilled over to my job. I completed reports and employee reviews on their due dates. I found a rush in the strain of being down to the wire with deadlines. I finished most school and work tasks just before the time that they were due so often, until the tension became my ordinary. I unwittingly believed that my element was in working under pressure; and in some odd way, the stress was relaxing. These areas of comfort were my zones.
Shouldn’t stress be a repellent that pushes you to seek comfort zones?
Yes! Life is so full of challenges, unexpected changes, troubles and trying situations until most people find an escape in comfort zones. Perhaps you have dealt with so much chaos until you treasure the thought of a getaway. Have you reached the point where you’ve had enough of the rat race In society? Maybe you’re fed up with the crab mentality on the job until you’ve decided to retreat to your place of comfort?
And, persons with crab mentalities aren’t choosy about where they wreak havoc. They’re everywhere. They especially show up within a group of women where haughtiness dwells. Have you ever served with a team and some women always have cynical responses and comments to legitimate questions? Their thrill is in trying to make others sound stupid. Perhaps you’ve listened to their idiotic immaturity long enough; and you really want to tell them, “What you don’t realize is that the joke is on you?”
Perhaps you’re at your limit of dealing with position hunters in ministry who have no intent of equipping God’s people? Or maybe you are an active participant in a wonderful social group or ministry; and you’re comfortable in these groups’ rewarding activities? But, for personal reasons, you’ve found a need to do something different? Why? Could your comfort zones be disintegrating?
When do comfort zones become uncomfortable? And why?
Everything and everybody will get old. Unlike solid, fulfilling and ever-loving marital relationships; some situations become tiresome. That doesn’t mean that they are bad situations. Sometimes good things can benefit from a change. You may have become accustomed to wearing your hair in a certain style. You keep regular appointments with your stylist. But, suddenly, one day you glance at yourself in the mirror and you think that your look is no longer flattering. Could that be the walls of your comfort zone becoming unhinged? Do you need a change; and it begins with a new look?
Or perhaps you’re an ardent reader; and you’ve accumulated so many books until there are books and books and more books all around your bedroom and walk-in closet? Then, one day you walk into your room and the thought of buying new bookshelves to place in another room pops into your mind. Could it be that those same books that brought you comfort are now crowding you? Does your mind need space from clutter?
Or maybe you’ve joyously served in an area of ministry for years? It’s March now; and you realize that you don’t have a thought for the topics for the upcoming event that you usually have in December. In years past, you enjoyed researching ministry trends and behaviors of successful leaders; and writing on the topics. You found joy in the anticipation of how the information would bless the readers. But now; even though you still love to write and bless those who read your work; your interest in this place has waned. Why? Could your lack of interest be an intimation that it’s time for a change?
Your retreat from certain things, people or groups might be your comfort zone? You may have taken a hiatus from pursuing a degree to rest your mind. Perhaps you closed all of your social media accounts to clear your thoughts? Maybe you blocked numbers of people who you need a break from. But, you discover an unrest in your spirit to get involved again. You keep hearing, “Finish that degree! Connect with friends and family via phone and social media! Get out of that house and get involved again!” Why? Perhaps the Lord wants to enlarge your territories; and now is the time.
What else? Where is change needed?
Sometimes we are comfortable waddling in self-pity until it hinders communication with others. Some of our attitudes have been vial for so long, that people grunt when someone mentions our name. Or perhaps you have lived from paycheck to paycheck for a decade, and you are now tired of living in Broke City? My friends, can you see where change is needed?
My dear friend and sister and I talked earlier today on FaceTime. I told her about today’s post; and asked her the question, “How do comfort zones become uncomfortable?” She had this certain look of “Hmmm,” that only she can make. Then she said, “It happens when foreign entities come in and change the status quo.” Her answer is so on point for this writing.
My friends, what has come into your space to change your status quo? Is your normalcy sitting in a dim room just peering out a window day after day wishing for yesterday to return? Is The Lord causing the sunshine to break the darkness and urging you to dream again? Is your status quo your working non-stop to avoid thinking about troubles? Where is the need for change peering inside your life?
I remember when I was under so much stress until I wouldn’t listen to The Lord telling me to stop. Pushing and stressing were my norms. I pushed until I had a brain aneurysm and multiple brain surgeries. That certainly changed my status quo of loving to live under stress. Never again!! But even with that, I still hear the words, “I need a change!”
Where are comfort zones becoming uncomfortable? Why?
Where are your comfort zones becoming uncomfortable? What is The Lord speaking to you about in the midst of your norms becoming uneasy? Are you married, and God is allowing your relationship to experience a rattling so that it can continue to grow? Are you single, and God is allowing suitors to enter your space so that He can prepare you? Are you receiving emails, texts and notes on your Facebook messenger so that you can begin to set up relationships with friends and family? Have you received a diagnosis that has caused you to get back on your knees and spend time in prayer with the Lord? Are you experiencing ministry mishaps; and unusual requests in ministry so that you can seek The Lord for where He is taking you in ministry? Are you receiving new assignments; in ministry and in your career that push you to let go of self-doubt to become secure in who you are in God?
Thank you for joining me. Here’s one of the Psalms that has been on my heart in the midst of my comfort zones becoming uncomfortable. Psalm 34:1 says, I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (KJV) I leave you with this last question. What areas of your life are comfort zones experiencing upheaval? Why? Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
Originally posted 2016-03-10 22:40:39.