“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt was pretty awesome, I gotta say. And I have learned that she is most definitely right.
A few years ago, I would have wholeheartedly supported her wisdom from the safety of my college dorm room, friend group, or classroom. But actually putting it into practice, not so much. But God keeps pushing me, and although I used to fight Him, I now realize that His pushes are not only away from all that is comfortable, but are pulls towards a deeper relationship with Him.
I was the shy, high school girl who was more comfortable at home hanging with the parents than actually going to social events. My dreams stretched as far as living at home and going to college, meeting my high school sweetheart and marrying him right out of college, and living close to my family. I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life, just where I wanted to be.
But God said no, as He normally does to my flawed plans, and decided to push the homebody out of her comfort zone to a Christian college nine hours away from home where she knew a whopping two people. Yeah, that kind of ruined my plans. It was too uncomfortable, being away from my friends and family, my safety nets, my comfort zone.
But God didn’t stop there. Oh, no. He kept pushing me towards discomfort all the while pulling me towards Himself, another of those pushes being my first “almost relationship.” Now I’m not going to go about defining an “almost relationship,” but needless to say, I confessed my feelings to a friend, we talked over the summer with intentions, and, to kick off my final semester of college, we got back to school and he ended it, whatever it was. That was uncomfortable.
Then, God, who most of the time has a way better sense of humor than we can ever understand, pushed/pulled the shy, slightly heartbroken, minutely homesick, college graduate not back to her family, but to Europe for a three month mission trip, this time 15 hours from home to a place where she knew no one, literally not one soul.
Looking back, God gradually and continually separated me from areas that became too comfortable, and each push towards discomfort and change was a pull towards Him, allowing me to not only look back and learn from each experience, but also to be left with God as the only one for me to draw my comfort from.
I look back at the girls from high school who lived my dream—who found high school sweethearts, went to college close to home, and married soon after college—and I thank God every day for His pushes and pulls. That would have been an incredible dream to live, but I never would have traveled, never would have met the people I have, and never would have grown in Christ as I have. I would have continued living my comfortable Christianity. I needed the pushes.
Now, I pray every night for God to keep throwing uncomfortable situations my way. And that prayer, of course, He most definitely answers. He has pushed me to break my shell of shyness, share my testimony with over 60 people, and so much more all only in the past few months. And yes, sometimes I look at Him and wonder if He’s not going a wee bit too far out of my comfort zone with some of His pushes, but the greater the push, the greater the pull towards Him. It is by His strength and love alone that I have made it through the stretching of my faith and dreams, and I can’t wait to see what adventures He has planned for me next.
So ask God to push you out of your comfort zone, whatever your comfort zone may be. See what amazing things He can do when you are forced to rely solely upon Him. I warn you, He will make you uncomfortable, but it will change you forever.
If you know someone who wants to take more risks but is struggling to do so, will you email them this post to encourage them?