So staying inside our comfort zone for too long or the wrong reasons can be really bad for us. What about the opposite? How about if we venture forth into a place where we are uncomfortable or lacking in confidence so much our trepidation turns into panic or terror? There is a place of grave danger physically, psychologically or spiritually or all three. It can be in any of the segments we mentioned earlier. It is in that place where we are totally out of control, well beyond our abilities or experiences. It results in panic or terror. Usually, this out of comfort zone area is caused by some external force of nature or person(s), like in an earthquake or terror attack. Because we are not trained or ready for these events, we experience high levels of fear trauma that sears our soul. I went to the scene of a wrecked airplane in combat one time, where people I knew well were burning to death if the crash had not killed them first. I just could not get myself to approach that airplane to help. Even now it sends my heart racing as the image of that tragic scene flashes before me. Heidi, my wife I love dearly, suffered a similar experience when a car travelling just ahead of her crashed into a semi-trailer truck (or lorry, if you prefer) that left the car cut in half. "For many years afterward", she says, "I hated travelling by car down that road. It took both time and prayers by friends to set me free from that fear." Nowadays we call it PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So here we are -- staying inside our comfort zone can be harmful, and going too far outside can lead to us running back to the safety zone and building a barrier or wall around ourselves which again traps us inside. What a dilemma! How do we then venture into that space where life really is?
What are your first thoughts about what we could do? Please take a few moments and reflect upon courses of actions or thought patterns which may help us live life at the end of our comfort zone.
So if we cannot safely stay in our comfort zone too long or too much of the time, in our different areas of our lives, and going out too far or finding ourselves thrust out there by people and circumstances, can also prove to be a disaster, what can we do?
We need a way of systematically growing our areas of comfort and confidence that builds us up, makes us better, and helps us achieve our God given purpose in life. We've got to look for the stretch actively, and in meaningful ways even though doing so makes us feel uncomfortable and at times we fail miserably. Maybe for you it isn't learning to swim or finding meaningful work, yet all of us, I believe, have areas that are calling us to venture into in our lives that will yield great rewards and sense of satisfaction. That is why understanding and personally applying the Cycle of Experiential Development is so important. Our next blog will begin to help us on our journey of finding practical ways of expanding our comfort zones that minimize the risk of failure and lead us to a life of adventure in all areas. Why don't you join us as we explore this fascinating and life changing concept?