They say you must leave your comfort zone to grow.
It is said the stretch for growth only need be 1mm outside your comfort zone to begin.
“Avoid your comfort zone like the plague.” John C. Maxwell
It starts young, I guess. We learn fine motor skills by coloring. We color and color and then it begins, we are told to try and color within the lines. We practice, we color, we try, and we learn to stay within the lines.
If all of life is like a canvas and you are the artist. Your palette consists of your choices, decisions, attitudes and actions. We are shaped and molded by our environment (positive or negative), our parents, our community, our peers, those is authority over us, and our culture. Our response to these influencers-bitter or better, press forward or shrink back- is like the fine details of the artists brush that makes the finishing touch. It is good to have certain lines like laws and God’s Word which help us to live an upstanding and safe life. However, at some point, probably in childhood, the majority of people continue to merely be steadfast and focused on the lines and as we grow, we never learn how to leave our comfort zone and venture out into the unknown. We never dare to “color outside the lines of possibility” and embark on the greatest adventure of all; the discovery of “potential”.
Most people don’t like to be uncomfortable and in the United States we have many comforts, so it’s an easy place to campout. But when we stay in our comfort zone we stop growing. When we stop growing we become stagnant and fail to meet God’s greatest capacity for the Life Abundant He Promises in His Word. In Truth, we may be the artist or sculpture of our life, but God is the Designer of it all. We are the clay and He is the Shaper of the pottery. It is much easier for God to mold and shape us when we are warm and soft, open and receptive to all God has for us. Yielded and submitted to His will while we take the action steps required on our end to see the manifestation of His best in our Life. His absolute Perfect Will.
Though there are countless writings in the marketplace on how to achieve your highest personal growth, and many really good ones, this information may not be common knowledge for everyone. I cannot assume everyone is familiar with this concept or knows where to begin to grow yourself, to change, become the best version of you.
It’s a New Year, are you wanting to maximize your time and reach your untapped potential? Do you have bad habits you would like to break or areas of struggle you would like to overcome? I am going to give a clue that may not be found in many self-help or leadership books. It is a Biblical principle that I call “pressing in”. If you want break through in your life, if you hunger to step into a deeper encounter with the Creator, if you desire to push past areas that you have tried and tried but continue to plateau; then this is something you may want to know.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
You have to get alone.
You have to carve out time in your day to purposefully be alone, pull out the Bible and read it and pray.
You have to persist without exception.
You pray and pray until something happens.
It could take five minutes or it could take five days.
What if it takes five years?
Press in without exception. I am not saying read and pray non-stop for this length of time. No, we still have to live and carry out the responsibilities of life. However, we must continue to carve out ample time, free time and scheduled time, to look for God. We have to get alone with him. We have to purposefully isolate ourselves from the world around to find that place of just you and Him. Even Jesus himself practiced this discipline of pressing in.
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
Many years ago I was struggling with anxiety over finances. I would lie awake at night worrying and wondering how it was all going to work. I lost a lot of sleep over it. The stress of it began to consume my thoughts all day through. I felt edgy and uncomfortable all the time with this uneasiness in my spirit, my mind and it was starting to affect my body as stress often does for most people. I was a young adult and was in a different place in my Christian life than I am now. My faith and trust was weakened by constant worry. Then something happened that I would say was the pivotal turning point for me in learning how to combat this deleterious thinking. I was over it. I didn’t want to go on feeling this way despite my situation so I took action! I lay in bed awake and I remembered one Bible verse I knew of that dealt with anxiety,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
I believed the Truth of the Bible, but there was one problem, I was only saying the words, it wasn’t truly in my heart. I was blessed by God with enough intuition to tell myself, “If I just keep saying it out loud to myself over and over, every time I begin to allow my thoughts to wander to the worry, then eventually it will sink from my head and mouth into my heart.” And that is exactly what happened. I began to have restful nights sleep and though the stress of the situation was still there, my peace in the midst of the trial calmed. I had pressed in and I had found peace. I was anxious for nothing and I was thankful!
I began to apply this principle to everything. There is a verse in the Bible for every trial you face. Just do a little homework, find one to suit you and use it like a sword to slay the giants you face! (Ephesians 6:10-11)
You can apply this to anything. We are body, mind, spirit, soul and it is all connected. For total health and balance in life, you must care for each of these areas. Let’s say you are chugging along just fabulous on your New Year’s Resolution to lose the weight for good this year, never to gain it back. Claim your promises! Find a Bible verse about perseverance, break through, about honoring God with your body
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). You must persist without exception. Resolve to keep going, even when you mess up or fall short. When you refuse to quit; that is when the break through comes and you have expanded your territory. The wiles of the opposing darkness that has held you back in any given area of struggle, no longer has a hold on you!
“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Boldly declare what you desire as though you already had it. Thank God for how He brought you through and showed up big time for you, before it happens. In faith, Believe, God’s best for you is yet to come. Even if you are in the best season of your life and you feel blessed beyond measure, believe and know that God has Greater Still in store for you. He is a God of absolute Abundance.
I am BELIEVING for YOU. This is your year of Destiny. There is nothing going to hold you back. You will walk into your Promises and you will have surprise blessings along the way. What the devil meant for harm, God is working it to your advantage for the good. You are greater still…you have more! GET READY! Gird yourself in wisdom. Strengthen yourself in His Might. Hold on tight, for you are about to have the ride of your life! Amazing and incredible is what God has in store for you!
Do you believe it? Believe it! Speak it! Press In and overcome, the best is just ahead.
“Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1