Comfort zone.

My favorite place to be. Wrapped up all warm and cozy with what is familiar. With what doesn’t cause me anxiety. Or stress. In a blanket of content and stability. And I am guessing that I am not alone. Comfort zones are some incredibly inviting and fuzzy places to be. Where our heart feels settled. And at peace with what surrounds us.

Yet, the more time I spend in this treasured place of mine, the more I realize just how much I take away from giving of myself, my talents and my ambitions to others. And to the world. There is so. much. that. I. want. to. do. Yet, no matter how excited my heart may begin to feel, something always seems to pull me back…

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The fear of stepping out. Into unknown territory. Away from my security blanket of familiarity.

Every morning I watch the news. A simple act each day. That more than anything else, forces me to stay put. Because, wow, can our world be a mightily scary place. I see my childhood hometown. A larger metropolitan city. Falling apart in response to senseless acts of violence.

I wake up to our nation in shambles. Hours-upon-hours of news stories covering horrific crimes and unexplainable tragedies.

And it breaks my heart. It creates an nagging urge in my soul. A spinning of my mind. To get out and “do”. To reach out. To act. To follow His lead.

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You know the most incredible part of it all, sweet friends? That when these c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. unthinkable events do occur. When dozens-upon-hundreds of lives have been lost. When all hope seems to be shattered. Somehow…someway…an unexplainable strength ensues. A bond of epic proportions. A newfound love. For one another. And humanity. A sudden forgiveness of differences. And a firm embrace of what makes one another special and unique. No matter our personal beliefs.

And we pull together.

And we pick up the pieces.

Slowly.

Carefully.

Cautiously.

And we take one another’s hands.

And hold on tightly.

One foot forward at a time.

Sharing a bottle of water.

And a tissue.

Wiping away the tears.

Embracing the body and heart of a stranger.

Dropping to our knees in prayer.

And we begin to free ourselves from the shadows.

All eyes on the sunshine.

Stepping out of our fears. Out of the animosity. Out of the ignorance. Out of the obliviousness.

And into an act of kindness. Heroism. Bravery. And pure, sweet, genuine love for each of God’s children.

Responding solely with goodness and grace.

And our hearts recharge. And our souls refill.

 

My hope? My goal? To venture out. To crack through that fear. And breathe in the beauty of possibility. Fresh air. To exhale the stagnancy of the predictability. And to inhale the uneasiness and vulnerability. Knowing that I have the Greatest Protector of all. Walking stride-by-stride. Squeezing my hand as tightly as needed.

Even if it is just a few steps a day, a week or even a month, they are steps that I am so incredibly fearful and eager to take.

Breaking out of our comfort zones is destined to be uprooting. Engaging. Thrilling. And pure food for our souls.

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So today, beautiful and incredible sweet friends, I challenge each of you. Take that first step. Knowing that no matter how “dark” and scary things might seem, as long as we wait in prayer and faith with Him, He will undoubtedly illuminate our next step. And our next. And our next. And our next. Knowing that each foot forward from our comfort zone is actually a blessing from God. In essence, a gift. To open up and do with what our soul desires.

No matter the vulnerability. The fears of failure. The discomfort. The awkwardness. The pain. The anxiety.

Rest-assured, knowing that the result will provide the absolute best kind of comfort, joy and beauty possible…

“…but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

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