It is good to step outside of where you are comfortable.
And sometimes it’s good to be shoved out of your comfort zone, far beyond where you thought your breaking point existed.
It’s good to be occasionally shoved because you are made much more aware that you are not in control. You are not a master of your circumstances, no matter how hard you try.
I prefer to step out of my comfort zone because it still gives me the illusion of control; I choose when, where, and how far to step. The trouble is that I often choose not to step, for a whole litany of reasons largely centered around self-preservation. The longer I choose not to step, the more coffin-like my frame becomes as my heart shrinks smaller and smaller until it is a small, cold, hard stone, much like the Grinch in the classic Dr. Seuss tale.
Being shoved very much feels out of control, running on air, trying to find solid ground but not quite finding it. You have no choice but to keep running, pretending not to notice that gravity should be sending you to the ground miles below (remember Saturday morning cartoons, where the laws of gravity didn’t apply until the characters noticed that they should be falling?).
Last May, I began taking calculated steps out of my comfort zone as we prepared and moved from the region in which we had both lived our entire lives. The unknown slowly became more familiar as we settled in and started making friends.
At the end of August, I was pushed off the comfortable cliff.
On a Friday, I walked into my fifth interview at a fifth school in the area. The interview did not go particularly fabulously, but I was offered two long-term substitute jobs instead of the job for which I had applied. On Monday, I met the school’s staff and participated in all the beginning of the year inservices. On Tuesday at noon, I found out that I would be taking over a class immediately, as the teacher had gone into labor three weeks early. On Wednesday, I walked into the first day of school, teaching first grade. Maybe I should mention at this point that my experience is in teaching fifth grade.
It has been so good for me to have to hit the ground running, asking a million questions everyday, not knowing how to navigate anything. Those that know me well know that I am a control freak who likes to have my life planned out weeks in advance. Any deviation from the plan completely stresses me out, which is ironic because the plans ALWAYS change.
On top of it, we’ve been trying to figure out a new town, a new state, church, small group, and friends. Yet, quite honestly, it hasn’t been that bad overall. I have seen God’s grace poured out so abundantly. I have seen so many ways that He has provided people and things to make the circumstances so much better than the worst case scenario.
I am loving this spot I am in because it has given me clarity on so many things that I know God has been trying to teach me for so long. It has forced me to be honest with myself about some ways I desperately need to grow. It has helped me see that I can run farther on air when I am dependent on God to sustain me.
It’s good because it’s in the unknown that we grow.
Now, if only I can remember that, and continue to step out into the wild adventure.