While it is not always easy, throughout Scripture it was often a method God used to accomplish his plans and purposes in the lives of countless individuals. Ruth left her homeland to return to Bethlehem with Naomi. Rahab the prostitute welcomed strangers she knew would one day possess the land in which she, her family and her people resided. Jael helped defeat a king and a nation in a day when it was not popular for women to participate in Battle. At a time when one man threatened an entire population with genocide, Queen Esther hearkened to the voice of her uncle Mordecai, who declared, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Over and over again throughout Scripture, men and women accomplished great things for God. They lived in different places and at different times in history. They faced different situations and had different challenges, but one thing all of these individuals had in common: at one time or another in their lives, each of these decided to step outside of their comfort zone, outside of the places and spaces of familiarity and comfort.
When God called Abraham to go to a ‘place where he would show him’, Abraham was used to living near his father’s family and those of his own culture and ethnic group. He grew up with a worldview passed down to him from his father. So when God called Abraham to leave his country and his father’s house, Abraham was leaving all that was familiar to him. Take some time today, this week to consider what God is leading you to do. Is God calling you to step outside of your comfort zone in some way, or embrace a situation where you are already outside of your comfort zone in some area of your life? It may not be leaving a geographical region. It might be embracing a different way to handle finances, or establishing a friendship with someone from a different ethnic or cultural background. Whatever it is in the end, it is something you will not likely regret.
When Abraham stepped outside of his comfort zone God revealed his identity. He said, “You are not longer Abram (high father); you are Abraham (father of a multitude).”(Genesis 17:5) In revealing his identity, God was showing Abraham his purpose. He would become the father of a multitude. Finally, when Abraham stepped out of his comfort zone, God showed him his potential. It was in God’s plan to bless all nations of the earth through the life of this one man and his descendants. It was God’s desire to bless Abraham, to make his name great and to accomplish all he had in store for his life. However, Abraham would have never realized all God had for him if he had refused to leave that which was familiar and comfortable to him.
When we refuse to leave the places and places that are familiar and comfortable to us ultimately for that reason, we get to experience the world we know, but sadly, we never get to learn from or encounter the world that is. We get to experience the individual we know ourselves to be, but we never get to encounter the individual we can become because we never realize what is actually inside of us. Even more, we get to remain familiar with the way we have always known God, but more tragically, we never get to encounter his love and power in the way he ultimately desires to reveal it to us.
When it comes to stepping outside of our comfort zone, it is easy to focus on what we have to lose without ever considering all we have to gain. Again, take some time this week to think deeply about this area in your life. Is God prompting you to do something that is outside of your comfort zone?
My prayer this week is that God would give you strength and wisdom. And that he would fill you with his peace and assurance. Remember, if God is leading you in a certain direction or to a certain destination, not only will he go with you, but he will meet you there.