I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at my digital alarm clock to check the time, but I saw only darkness. Why can’t I see my clock? I wondered. Maybe my pillows are piled too high and they’re blocking out the light. Then, I realized the problem: loss of electric power.
Because my body was covered with warm blankets and still felt warm, I did not feel too concerned about my situation. I went back to sleep, expecting that electric power would soon be restored and that the temperature of my bedroom would not decrease very much.
My husband had also been awake in the night; instead of going back to sleep, he took action. He called the power company and reported the outage. So, as I expected, when I woke up in the morning, our electric power had been restored. My bedroom was warm.
Would the power have been restored as quickly if my husband had not made that phone call? Maybe but maybe not—he did not leave it to chance. I started to think about the ways that I leave something to chance or rely on the actions of someone else and slip into inaction.
Inaction means I do nothing. I don’t commit to anything. Or, if I do commit to something, I don’t follow through and act upon it. I depend on someone else to get out of bed and call the electric company—climb out of their comfort zone and provide me with the comfort that I want.I admit that this feels nice at the time. But it has its down side.
How good do I feel about myself when I depend on someone else to do the uncomfortable thing (s) that I prefer to avoid? How does it affect my level of confidence?
To truly grow, I must accept some discomfort—get out of my warm bed, put my foot on the cold floor (no, I don’t sleep with my cell phone), and call the power company. I must get out of the “warm bed” of that which is familiar to me and step on the “cold floor” of that which is unknown to me.
I resist such action because I don’t know the outcome. When God calls me to step into a new adventure, he doesn’t tell me exactly what will happen. Taking a step of faith means facing the discomfort of the unfamiliar.
If I remain in my comfort zone, I will never know the outcome of an unfamiliar action. While it might protect me from disappointment, failure, and disapproval, it also prevents me from happiness, success, and affirmation.
I, often, need to remind myself of this truth because writing—like any other creative activity involves stepping out of my comfort zone. I can’t predict how my words will be received or whether or not they will be read. So, what motivates me keep on writing?
Receiving feedback and affirmation helps me. Thank you to everyone who’s taken time to comment on my posts. The joy I feel when I hear someone has been encouraged by my words energizes me.
But what happens when affirmation from others is missing? What,keeps me returning to my computer when I’d rather enjoy the comfort of sleeping in It’s the strong belief that I have a calling. I am a writer.
I choose to step out of my comfort zone in order to complete the work God has gifted me to do, because I want the future joy of hearing these words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)!
Along with my expectation for future joy, prayer is the primary action that gives me the strength and courage to face the discomforts of my day. When I disconnect from my power source, I have nothing to say.
Some questions for your prayerful consideration:
- In what way(s) might you avoiding discomfort?
- What makes it scary for you to step onto the cold floor of the unknown?
- What possible joy might you experience if you took a chance?
Jane: I really admire your honesty and openness to share so we can all learn from you. God has given you a great gift and you bless us with your writing. Please be encouraged and keep writing. We need your inspiration.
Debbie, you indeed have a gift of encouragement. Your words were just what I needed, today. Thank you so much.
oh, Jane this cracks me up and also encourages me. i also woke up, thought about calling nymo or whoever electric co. is but figured somebody else would eventually and i knew God wouldn’t let me freeze to death. i hadn’t had a good nights sleep for a couple nights and knew i wouldn’t get back to sleep easily if i got up to search for phone # etc. i actually thought, “if this blackout goes out to aults, i’ll bet they will call.” lol! i got a great night’s sleep, the heat eventually came back on and all was well. your perspective helps me see that we need to do what God prompts us to do. it is faith to go back to sleep and faithful to make the call. (unless God is telling us to make the call and we don’t, of course.) am i totally crazy? thank you John, i believe this confirms that God did say – you’re safe, go back to sleep.
Joanne, how encouraging you are to me! I needed a laugh, today. I love your sense of humor, your transparency, and your sensitivity to God.
Thank you for sharing! As I read, the light bulb came on. I have an area in which I want so much to walk in victory, and I see how much I depend on hubby to do for me. I have felt fearful and frustrated for years because my comfort zone has been to ask my hubby to do something for me. You have encouraged me to step my barefeet onto the floor! I look forward to praying and doing for myself in this area. I feel ashamed to say I haven’t listened to and trusted the Lord to help me have victory! Well no more!
Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog post, Deb. I appreciate your sensitivity to the Spirit, your humility, and your honesty. Know that you are precious in God’s sight, and he will lovingly lead and support you as you choose to walk in victory in this area of your life.
Thank you for that word this morning, Jane! I have been battling what I call “inertia” and I know it just means listening closely to the Holy Spirit with an open mind, being ready to do battle!
Thank you for your comment Diane! I struggle with “inertia” too. You are right; when we listen to the Holy Spirit, he shows us exactly what needs moving, how we must move it, along with the power to act.
You never cease to amaze me Jane. He can turn the simplest life events into teaching moments. Thanks for the illustration.
Thank you, Rosemary! Yes, it is amazing how that when I am listening, the Holy Spirit teaches me lessons through everyday events.
I really loved what you said about our comfort zone shielding us from pain and suffering but also shielding us from happiness. So very true and a lesson I’m still learning. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to encourage my heart!
Thank you for your comment Liana! I see you stepping out of your comfort zone in big ways, and I’m encouraged and inspired by your actions–thank you!
Wow, Jane. I can relate so well to what you’ve written about not wanting to step out of my comfort zone. However, if I don’t step out, I’ll miss the opportunity to do the work God has for me. It’s important work that empowers and equips others to do their important work. That’s the work that brings me joy. Staying in that place of discomfort is what puts me where God wants me and where I have to depend on Him, not my own power.
Thanks for putting into words what I need to hear!
Rhonda, I’m glad that you were encouraged by my words. I am encouraged by your great example; you are practicing what I put into words.
A month ago I had back surgery and overnight I became dependent and vulnerable and helpless. I easily turned on my victim personality. Everything was wrong and everything was hopeless. Pain and inability to be in control of my own body is a devastating state. When I went home I had the wonderful care of my family for a full month. Of course while I was disabled problems related to health insurance, employment and finances compounded. In a ball of tears I sat at my computer armed with my phone to put things in order- all in victim mode. Why didn’t EVERYBODY want to help me? God has so often helped me reach deep within during the many pitfalls in my life. He reminded me that He had developed in me many skills and resolve to counter adversity and once again he wakened the fighter in me. I’m healing. Many things are not good. But I did get out of bed and put my feet on the cold floor. And as I gathered from your post Jane, action goes before change and when God has our back the change is usually a positive result.
Judy, thank you so much for sharing your struggles. Yes, action does go before change; sometimes, I want it to be the other way around. I deeply respect your perseverance and faith. I’m glad that God made you a fighter, that you have the skills needed to counter adversity, and that you are again using them. I pray that your body will heal and become stronger, day by day. I’m glad, also, that you have friends and family who are so supportive. I wish that I lived closer, so that I could drop by for a visit.