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.