Tuesday, July 25, 2017

All This Talk About Leaving Your Comfort Zone

There is a lot of talk about going outside of your comfort zone. I hear people say that you can only truly experience God, when you go outside of your comfort zone. That good things usually happen, outside of your comfort zone. Why going outside of your comfort zone, is so important… and more. Lots more.

I get the quotes on my facebook page, and the comments on my twitter feed. And something inside of me usually revolts, and shouts, “no!”

Because I disagree.

Although, I do think it’s very important to shake things up in our lives sometimes, so that we don’t get stuck in a rut, and so that we can continue to feel excitement for things – I don’t necessarily agree that you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do that.

I’ll tell you why.

God made us as we are. He made us with our unique personalities, our “bents,” and our giftings. For a reason.

The Bible says to, “Come as you are.” It doesn’t say, to come as someone else. And if you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do something, maybe that’s not what you should be doing!

I do think there are times where God stirs something in our souls, and convicts us to move in a way that maybe we wouldn’t have 5 or 10 years ago. To me, that’s different. We also change. We change with what we go through in life, and how things affect us. So that change, may influence us to do something that maybe would have been outside of our comfort zone previously. BUT, and it’s a big “BUT” for me…. I think those are the exceptions.

For me, I feel like I truly flourish and grow when I’m working WITHIN my comfort zone. When I’m doing something I’m truly gifted at, something I love. That’s when I feel true joy and happiness. I can push myself to be better without having to stress about it, because it’s something I know I want to improve at, or an area I want to grow in. And it’s all IN my comfort zone.

An introvert will never be an extrovert. They weren’t made that way.

A smart technological geek will never be a sports athlete. 

We have our giftings for a reason. And we should seek to grow, learn, improve, and stretch ourselves inside of those areas of giftings. WITHOUT FEELING GUILT about it.

I see the heart of those who try to push us outside of our comfort zones. We all desire to see people reach for more in life, instead of sitting in the “afraid” and “alone at home” zone. But, to me, there are just some flaws in this way of thinking. Unless you are convicted, and truly stirred to move in a certain way for your life, the puzzle pieces just won’t fit. Everything will feel wrong, and the attempt at doing something that is not you, will be a disaster.

So, learn what your comfort zone is. It’s probably a bigger circle than you think. Explore the things that bring you joy, and the things that you are good at; and work on expanding them little by little. And I think you will find that your comfort zone expands in the process.

In the meantime, just enjoy being YOU. You are a gift. And you were created as you are for a reason. Don’t let anyone talk you into being someone else; someone that THEY think you should be.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Leave me a comment below, and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

You Can't Outrun It

Not all of us have had storybook childhoods. For those of us who did, we can count ourselves blessed and so very, very fortunate.  But even then, some of us entered into adulthood, and were slammed with something that shook our world.

Childhood abuse.  Bullying. An onslaught of people who didn’t love us the way they should have. Being labeled unfairly. Feeling forgotten.  Whatever it was, whether it was in your childhood, early adulthood, or something you’ve dealt with fairly recently…. It sticks with you.

You don’t just forget.

Words and actions can hurt us more than any illness ever could. They are personal. Wounding. And life-long.

We carry them with us. Whether we move from city to city, job to job, or relationship to relationship.

You can’t outrun them. You can’t hide them. They are stuck inside, like glue.

We can try to turn our back on the pain of yesterday. We can try to ignore what happened to us.

It’s all, futile.

The only way to overcome unfairness, and pain from the past – is to face it.

We need to face the fact that a portion of our life was deeply unfair. We need to acknowledge that we may have been robbed of something.

It was wrong. It hurt. But it happened. And it happened to us.

That doesn’t mean that we deserved it. In fact, we most probably did not.

It doesn’t mean we are worthless. In fact, we are priceless and unique.

Stop your running. You won’t be able to outrun the words that echo in your mind and heart. You won’t be able to outrun the past.

Stop. Turn around and face it. Summon up the courage to let the past know that you won’t be labeled or identified that way, anymore.

It’s time to say, “no more.”

Cry. It’s SOOO okay to cry!  Yell at the unfairness of it all. Grieve the loss of your childhood, or of relationships that should have been special. Grieve.


Then, instead of running, start to walk. Move forward one foot at a time. Walk. Walk with a new identity; one of knowing that something in life didn’t defeat you. It didn’t win.

You survived. You survived and you refused to let it make you bitter, angry, isolated, insecure, or defeated.

Maybe once – but not anymore.

You are now victorious. A warrior. An overcomer.  This is your new label, your new identity!  Wear it proudly. Wear it with love. And use it to help someone else who may be stuck in the pit – trying to outrun the hurts of the past.

This is the cycle of life. The cycle of love.

Life needs you. But it needs you whole.

No more running.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Choose To Surrender, Or Choose To Fight?

Each of our lives is a story. And like all stories, our lives are full of tragedies as well as triumphs.

I’ve always wondered how some people seem to overcome things in life, while others fall victim to their circumstances. I’ve wondered how some of us find the stamina to change what is happening to us, instead of letting what is happening to us, change US.

I’ve laid in bed crying time and time again, over things weighing on my heart. I’ve pondered them, turned them inside-out and upside-down.

I’ve grieved over them.

And then, I’ve gotten back up. Mustered what little courage I had in that moment, and moved onward.

Because it always seems to me that we have two choices when faced with challenges. We can either choose to surrender, or we can choose to fight.

And I choose to fight.

Sometimes, fighting is simply not waking up feeling defeated. Sometimes, it’s rejecting a label that someone has placed on you. Sometimes, it’s in refusing to accept a situation altogether and doing something about it. Whatever it is, it’s never to surrender.

Some of us surrender. That’s why we don’t become what we dreamed of becoming. It’s why we don’t have the relationships we desire to have. It’s why we feel like a victim all of the time.

Bad things happen to everyone. I mean it. EVERYONE.  The reason why we feel like we have a stacked deck against us, and they don’t? They choose not to dwell on it. So we don’t really know, that they have even dealt with “bad,” at all. They have chosen to fight, by choosing to overcome.

There is no “secret sauce” in overcoming, you know. We all have it in us. We can all make that choice. Even if we can’t change a circumstance, we can choose our attitude. Even if we can’t change our surroundings, we can choose our priorities.

You are more powerful than you know. You’ve had it all along – that “control” of what you will choose in your life. 

What will your choice be? Surrender? Or to fight?

Monday, July 3, 2017

When We Silence Those We Love

We need to let others’ speak into our lives.

Say, you have a friend. And they come to you in full love and gentleness with something on their heart. Maybe it’s a concern for you, or wisdom based on something they personally have experienced, and they want to caution you from heading down the same painful road.

And you don’t accept their words. You reject them. Maybe in anger. Maybe in bitterness. Maybe in disbelief that they can’t wholeheartedly understand your stance in the moment.

It’s easy to reject someone else’s words. Easier, for some people, to not even consider what was offered in love, but to put a hand up in a “stop” pose, and let them know you won’t hear any more.

Sometimes when we do this, we think we might have convinced someone that if they still want to be our friend, they must think and act like us. But all we’ve really done is silenced them.

We’ve put a wedge in an otherwise open relationship, and let it hang there in the balance between us. Always.

It exists whether we address it or not.

The beauty that exists in people is the differences. The unique mindset that each person has, and the way they approach life. We each have had our own experiences, lessons, and heartache. And so, each one of us offers something unique to the other.

If we reject that, we reject the person.

No one is entitled to only hear what they want to hear. No relationship that has true love and respect, will ignore kindness offered in the way of caution or inquiry. In fact, we should value it. For true friends hold us in check when we need it the most.

To have the kind of relationships you really want, you have to allow those who love you and want the best for you – to not agree with you. For they will not agree, but still offer love. They will have concern, but still stand by.

That is true love and authenticity.

Will you allow it when the time comes? Will you appreciate the character and devotion that God has brought into your life by the way of others?

Or will you embrace the “wedge” of silence? The one that says, “Our relationship was based on a need? And I no longer have that need for your input in my life, because its different than what I want?”

Hard questions. Deep questions.

Questions that could save relationships.

We are so blessed and lucky to have ANYONE who loves us enough to speak openly with gentle love into our hearts and lives.  Let them speak.

And listen with the same heart of love in return.