John Maxwell said that, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” This makes a lot of sense to us at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake as we see change and growth happening day to day in front of our own eyes. We may have waited a long time to see things started but now that they have we sure are seeing the place transformed before our very eyes. Watching the building crew tear apart the addition that we built just 9 years ago was a little hair raising and was a reminder that change is never easy. We thought when we built that addition that it was a massive project and that it was the big project for a long time for our church. Much of the conversation that we had at that time, centered on the idea that if we built on, people would come. And t proved to be true. After we physically grew the building, we worked hard and spiritually building up the community and building on outreach. All of that change and growth has brought us to where we are today. All of that change and growth has meant being ‘out of our comfort zone.’ We Christians are at our very best when we are out of our comfort zones.
A year or so ago we did a book study using Bruce Wilkinson’s book The Dream Giver. Those who were in that group will remember that the book was all about a person named Ordinary who left the town called Familiar to pursue his dream. In order to get to the place of realizing the dream Ordinary has to travel outside an area known as the Comfort Zone. Wilkinson writes, ‘Hitting the scary edge of your Comfort Zone again and again proves that you’re a Dreamer on the move toward your Dream.’ Each time we dare to get ourselves out of what Pierre Burton many years ago called ‘the comfortable pew’ and we move against our own level of comforts we find ourselves embracing change, hope, freedom and love. We find ourselves able to grasp on to the One that we can trust in our times of uncertainty.
Each day we have opportunity to move past our comfort zone. Think about it. Think about the opportunities we all had today to be a reflection of Jesus. The likelihood is high that at some point today I missed an opportunity to grow in Jesus’ love because I was afraid to leave my comfort zone. How about you? I see God at work in those uncomfortable moments and I need to trust more that I can go to that place and I can grow.
Change is all around us. Growth is a great gift. Leaving our comfort zone means arriving in our dreamlands, where the Dream Giver embraces us, empowers us and sends us back out to help others dare to move past their comfort zones. Let us pray to leave our comfortable pew behind.