I have trecked into the African jungles with two toddlers.
Danced, preached and proclaimed the greatness of our God in town squares across Europe, with hundreds of people stopping to watch and listen. Faced more than a few crazy folk who disagreed with my beliefs.
I have planted churches from the ground up, built a blossoming business from zero.
I guess you could say that ‘comfort zone’ is not my natural environment.
But in reality our comfort zones just have different boundaries. My terror may be your child’s play.
Believe it or not, putting these words on a page for the world to weigh is out of my comfort zone. I have avoided blogging for longer than I can remember. And you know the reason why? Because I really want to do it! It is so much easier to step out in things that are not so personally close to our heart.
My inner critic is very vocal, asking me time and again, “Who in the world do you think you are? Why would anyone listen to your musings?”
What do you do when your small self comes knocking to lock you back in your box?
Do you mildly obey and agree with his or her estimation of your awesomeness (or lack of it!), or do you politely but firmly tell yourself to shut up and step out.
Read that again.
Shut up and step out!
Step out of your box, cross the boundary of what feels normal or comfortable. And do it. In the face of your own resistance, push hard and refuse to back down.
I am not a big gym man but I do know that you must force yourself beyond your line of comfort if you ever want to build anything.
The same is true in relationships, in ministry and in business. The wafting aroma of what’s possible is drifting from the other side of that fence you have erected in your thinking.
But how do we climb over and step beyond what’s familiar? Truth be told, it only happens when we are intentional and ruthless with ourselves.
It occurs when we we allow preposterous ideas to enter our head, and instead of brushing them away we take hold of them with two hands and sqeeze them hard to see if there’s any life in them. And if we feel the pulse of possibility we act.
Act. Take action. Regardless of the outcome. Knowing full well it might end in tears.
And each time we do that, however small and insignificant the step may seem to others, it becomes another layer upon which we climb to the next challenge – only next time we are far better equipped to overcome.
King David in the Bible, when he was a scrawny young man thrust into the fields of obscurity to tend his father’s sheep dicovered this truth.
And later, when Goliath faced him down he had the backing of the lion and the bear to lift him up to face that bully eye to eye.
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 1 Samuel 17:36
What you are facing now may be your lion or your bear. They are just the appetizer, before you have the giant’s head on plate.
Thing is, if you run away from the lion and the bear and hide in your cave, when Goliath comes rolling into your world you will not have the backing of small victories to bolster your confidence that all will be well.
It takes courage to step out and do things that you have never done before. It is the same for us all.
Knowledge and experience whittles that mountain of impossibility down to a molehill. Believe me, it’s true.
What to write a book? Educate yourself on the easiest and quickest way to do it. Dont try and create the next blockbuster, just get something written and slap it on Amazon. Even if no one buys it you will have slayed your lion.
What to start a blog? Make a video? Paint a picture? Start a business?
Others have done it and you can too.
You don’t have to face the armies of the Philistines to do it. Just face yourself and say, with all the parental kindness you can muster, “Shut up! And step out!”
Take that small step today, just a toe over the line of what’s normal and comfortable for you, and immediately the limits of your life will be extended, never to contract again.