It began so simply…
She needs encouragement, God whispered to my heart. Pray for her.
Easy…I can do that.
Send her a note to tell her you’re praying for her. She needs to know.
Um, well. I guess I could. I mean, I hardly know her, but I can’t imagine anyone would be offended by someone saying they’re praying for them, right?
Invite her to that event at your church.
Wait. Let’s not get crazy here, God! I mean, she doesn’t really know me. It’s a pretty big event, I argued; I’m sure she’s heard about it by now. She’d probably think I’m some kind of weirdo if I just up and invite her–a complete stranger–out of the blue.
There it was: the edge of my comfort zone. And God was asking me to step out of it.
It was such a small step, but even the tiniest step outside of my comfort zone is…well, uncomfortable. If given the choice, I prefer to remain comfortable, thank you very much. It didn’t matter that I had never–ever–regretted following that still, small voice. That I had always looked back and been glad I had stepped out…every. single. time.
That was then; this is now.
How do you muster the courage to take that dreaded step outside your comfort zone?
1. Use wisdom. If it’s a small, inconsequential step, look at it logically. What do you have to lose by taking this step? What do you have to gain? In my case, I had little to lose (being thought foolish), and much to gain (offering encouragement to someone). If it’s a larger leap of faith (for example, a life-altering decision) seek counsel from others who have godly wisdom.
2. Recognize fear. Recognize your hesitation for what it is…fear. What are you afraid of…rejection? The unknown? Being uncomfortable? Sometimes simply identifying the fear gives you enough perspective to help you overcome it. If God is leading you, there’s no reason to be afraid. (If you’re still not sure it’s God, go back to step 1!) I knew it was God nudging me to offer tangible encouragement to a woman in need, but I was afraid of rejection. What a small price to pay for being obedient to the voice of God!
3. Just do it. I’ve heard runners say the hardest steps are the ones between your door and the end of your driveway. Basically, once you start, it gets easier. It’s the same way with stepping out of your comfort zone. That first step is the hardest, but I took it.
I sat myself down and wrote a note telling this dear woman I was praying for her and included an invitation to the event at my church. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer (something like, “Dear God, please don’t let her think I’m a psycho!”) and dropped it in the mail. (You remember mail…those things with stamps.)
I have no idea what she thought when she received it, but the sincerity and gratitude in the voicemail she left me a few days later reminded me once again: Sometimes it’s worth taking that step into uncomfortable.
What is God asking of you that requires stepping out of your comfort zone?
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.