For most of my life, I clung to the familiar. I loved my comfort zone and that is where I intended to stay. I said no to a lot of things that challenged me, because I preferred the familiar. By 25, I was settled into my life. I knew who I was and I liked the quiet ordinary. It was my safety net and it allowed me to be content. I really was content. I wasn’t unhappy. At least not for long stretches of time. I was mostly satisfied with the quiet and ordinary life I had created for myself.
All along, I know God was up there just chuckling to himself because He already knew that this comfort zone I was so attached to was all an illusion anyway. He knew that he didn’t create me to just go through life and be content and comfortable. He knew he was going to have peel me away from it, kicking and screaming
I was fully dedicated to my comfort zone. I was loyal to it. I latched on and nurtured it and settled in on its lap while life passed by.
And then one day, it happened. My beloved comfort zone was ripped away from me like a baby’s favorite blankie. It didn’t matter how much I screamed, kicked, begged, cried-it wasn’t coming back. I was thrown out into the big, unfamiliar world and my only comfort was myself.
Once something happens that alters your life-and I mean truly alters you at the cellular level-you quickly see how much time and LIFE you have been wasting. How many things that you thought mattered, just don’t. The things that break you, in some ways, are the same ones that set you free. Those are the things that shake you awake when oftentimes you weren’t even aware you were sleeping.
The next years would teach me so many things about that familiar friend, a comfort zone.
I came to realize that when I began to say yes to more things that pushed me, I never regretted it. I started a new business that was so far out of my comfort zone that it was almost laughable. That business brought me so many blessings. It showed me what I was capable of. It unlocked my fierce independence and provided a way to support my family. It was a Godsend, and had I still been too attached to my comfort zone, I would have missed it. It still blows my mind to think about that. How many things I almost missed.
After I lost all that was familiar, my first instinct was to curl up and retreat from the world. And I did that for a short time. But as I began to find myself pushed further and further out of the place that felt familiar and safe, I found that there was so much LIFE and joy that I had been missing on the other side. My comfort zone was never really protecting me. It was imprisoning me. It was keeping me small. I still find myself sometimes reaching for it-when I get vulnerable or insecure. But then I remember all of the instances when I pushed through the fear and discomfort and said YES to something I was afraid of. I have learned to listen to my intuition. I have learned to distinguish when my comfort zone is protecting me and when it is prohibiting me.
A comfort zone is a nice place to be, but nothing ever grows there. What would happen if you did that thing that you have been afraid to do? The thing that makes you feel vulnerable and afraid, but that just keeps persisting. If you just took the first, terrifying step? Life is just too short and full off too much potential to live it fully in your comfort zone.