Stepping Out into the Unknown, Out of My Comfort Zone

photoWhen you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Franklin Roosevelt

I was tingling with an adrenaline rush as I sent a text to my youngest son Jason. “I did it Jason.” I simply stated. I had just taken a step to overcome a grand physical feat. Moments before I had just been released out of a secure harness after experiencing what is supposed to be the longest hipline in North America in Rock Ridge Canyon, BC.  I had allowed myself to be strapped into a hefty harness and zipped down hundreds of feet over a lake and tall trees on a steel wire that probably was no more than an inch in diameter. I have to confess I screamed the whole three minutes I was zipping through the sky. I am not sure if I screamed because of sheer terror or the exhilaration of conquering a very great fear of heights.

I can’t tell you what a surreal feeling it is to be standing on a platform hundreds of feet up in the air with a little gate in front of you, knowing that when that gate opens you will have lost total control your feet leaving solid ground. Before I landed I was crying, because I had stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced the thrill of adventure into the unknown.

Being a grown up is leaving our warm comfortable place of familiarity and being willing to venture out into the unknown. Shattering the myth of THIS IS OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE challenges us to think outside the box in where God is leading us on our journey. It’s time to wake up instead of nuzzling deeper into what’s comfortable or what feels good to us.

As I look back over several years of being in ministry, I have been involved in many different of roles as a leader and there have been times I have felt way out of my comfort zone. There is one common thread I can point to. God has most often used what is already in my hand, meaning my life experiences, my gifts and talents. It doesn’t mean however that I am fully confident in accessing those resources, it just means they are resources God has provided for me to equip me for the assignment, it is what is in my hand at the moment. I think of the story of Jael in the book of Judges who single handedly brought down the commander of the enemy army  with a tent peg and a hammer. She used what was in her hands to step out of her comfort zone and fulfill her God-given assignment to help rescue the nation of Israel from their oppressive captors.

One of the most astonishing things I notice in this story is the fact that God used the tools and resources that were available to Jael to carry out His plan. He didn’t ask her to use something that she wasn’t skilled at or completely unfamiliar with. She had most likely used that hammer several times and probably had pounded tent pegs in more times than she could count. She knew how to use them with precision and accuracy. How else could she have been brave enough to do the horrific deed? I bet she hadn’t ever thought that she would wake up that day and take down the commander of the army with her common ordinary tools.

Here is the point. When God nudges us to step out of our comfort zone and do something out of the box, he will most likely use the tools that are already in your hand. It will just be different in the way you have used them before.

My hammer and tent pegs that I have been working with already are my qualifications to do the job He has called me to. That is how I know I can trust Him to step outside the lines of what I think I am most comfortable in doing. I just have to look at what’s in my hand and call on God to empower me to do the rest. I often don’t even know the outcome, or even the final steps before the assignment is over, but God always seems to give me exactly what I need with what he has already provided for me. To be honest, I find it both exhilarating and frightening as I approach a God-sized mission.

Now to be extremely truthful…

Many times it has me panic-stricken and feeling anxious.

I am learning to just do it afraid

And trust God for that first plunge into uncharted territory.

It is kind of like that first step off the platform of the zip line. My stomach bottomed out and my heart was in my throat, but after that it was a thrilling ride that matched no other I had experienced.

I was out of my comfort zone for sure!

How do you respond when God asks you do accomplish something that is uncharacteristic?  I challenge you to be faithful in what matters today and be watching and ready as God may call you to the frontline when you least expect it. Be confident that he has already given you exactly what you need to accomplish the assignment he has destined for you, even if it is out of your comfort zone.

(Adapted and excerpt from Unlocked: 5 Myths Holding Your Influence Captive, to order or find out more details go to: http://cynthiacavanaugh.com/unlocked-5-myths-holding-your-influence-captive/)