May 20, 2017

Uncomfortable Places by Joylene M. Bailey

I would have to say that I have lived most of my life outside my comfort zone. This may have more to do with who I am, than the places my life took me. I am an extreme introvert, but my life experiences have taught me how to live in an extroverted world.

From the time I was 4 years old, I was on stage, singing with my family.

“On stage” is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there because I practiced being outside my comfort zone.

As I was growing up, we moved a lot.
New places. New neighbourhoods. New schools.
Being thrust into situations with strangers is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there now because I was often placed outside my comfort zone.

In my teen years, Mom & Dad invited new people over for dinner every single Sunday. It was a way for them to get to know a new congregation.

For me, it was not comfortable having strangers come IN to my comfort zone – my home. But the experience taught me to look outside myself and realize it might be uncomfortable for those coming IN too. Maybe they felt outside their comfort zone in my comfort zone.

Strangers in my home is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there because I have learned to consider others.

After I got married, we moved to the farmhouse where my husband grew up.

Barn, chickens, pigs, horses, country sewer systems … all new for this city girl. And because my husband traveled a lot for work, I was often on my own dealing with this new life, and these new situations.
It was not a comfortable place for me, but it became comfortable as I lived it. I learned I could do anything I set my mind to.

Years later, our young adult daughter battled anorexia. This is not a comfortable place for a parent, let alone the sufferer. Every day – every moment – is new and unexpected terrain. The roadblocks and switchbacks are enough to make any parent go hide in a cave and never come out!

I can’t say I ever became comfortable with anorexia but I received true comfort from the Comforter, and learned that His grace was sufficient for every day and every moment; that I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

All of the uncomfortable places I’ve been in my life have made me comfortable in uncomfortable places. It also made me an amazing observer – something I use in my writing and in my everyday encounters.

In this modern world everything seems to scream,
Push those comfort zones!
Get the word out!
Spread the gospel!
Build your platform!
Make a name for yourself!

Instead, I seem to be hearing God tell me, “It’s okay to be comfortable. Live your life. And as you are living it, use the uncomfortable places I have brought you through to serve me.”

So, I will go where He leads. Using what I know, I will write, for whatever genre He asks me to write.
But I’m realizing that it is actually okay to be in a comfort zone. Life is not always about pushing boundaries. It’s about listening for the LORD’s voice and following Him.

And in so doing, He will use the uncomfortable places He has brought me through.

All photos courtesy of Joylene M. Bailey.

Joylene has left her Cowboy, Babe and a cat named Calvin to fend for themselves while she currently writes from a wonderful comfort zone in Gimli, Manitoba where she is helping out with newborn twin grandsons. What could be happier? Check out more of her writing at Scraps of Joy


  1. I concur. This has been my experience too. I pray others I know can find peace outside their comfort zone as well.

    1. Yes Bobbi, I'm praying that too. It took me a long time to get here.

  2. Kathy Hoffman9:46 am GMT-7

    I like your attitude, Joy- it reminds me of Paul when he says he has learned to be comfortable in all situations. I think, too, it is a struggle to be myself in both the uncomfortable and the comfortable situations- that is something I have to work on. :)

    1. Learning to be oneself. Yes, I get that! I have spent many years of my life testing the waters of every situation and wondering ... is it okay to be myself here? Yes, I get that. But more and more I'm learning that God made me myself so I'd better trust that it's okay to be her. :)

  3. Thank you for this encouragement ...we are taught to be afraid of comfort, and yet we strive for it. Perhaps being comfortable means we take comfort in all situations because we know God is watching over us.

    1. That's a great way to look at it, Jocelyn.

  4. A wonderful and encouraging post.

    1. Thanks, Tracy. Praying for you these days.

  5. Thank you Jocelyn for putting into words something that I was unable to this month. I was very conflicted over this topic as I too have had lived my entire life out of my comfort zone (not by choice but my circumstances) and so when I find some comfort I wonder why it is wrong. I struggle with the constant message of push, push, push, do, do, do that is all around me. Success is great but the striving with which so many seem to go about it causes me great discomfort and comes across as too desperate to be needed or valued. I do understand that sometimes our comfort can become a rut but you put into words a lot of what I was feeling so thank you.

    1. Conflicted over this topic - yes, me too. There is so much push out there isn't there? It seems like being okay with staying in a comfort zone is going against the current. Yet, I'm learning that it is okay!

  6. If my own reaction to this post is any indication, your voicing of your "credentials" and your understanding of the need for living both within and outside your comfort zone, is, indeed, following God's leading for your life. Thank you for talking to us.

    1. That's it exactly! Thank you for commenting. :)

  7. Thanks for putting into words something I have struggled with also. Joylene. Each of us has challenges in life. Since God knows that struggles and trials help us grow in faith, he does not shield us from everything that might cause us pain. I appreciate your reminder that we
    " . . . receive(d) true comfort from the Comforter, and (that we) learn(ed) that His grace (is) sufficient for every day and every moment; that (we) can do all things through Christ, who gives (us) strength." Amen and amen. (Please pardon my paraphrasing.)

  8. So good to hear part of your story, Jolene! I have always been really shy so it's been an adventure stepping out of my comfort zone too.
    Pam M.


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