Exiting the Comfort Zone

There will be occasions in my writings when I will reference an experience or two from the 2014 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference…such as now. This being my first time attending, my expectations consisted primarily of questions to God. I knew He had a purpose for me to be there. He knew. I had to discover it.

I attend Astounding Love Church in San Jose, California. We have a destiny statement, which speaks to people gathering locally “to be equipped and inspired to Experience God, Discover Purpose, Unleash Potential and Achieve their Destiny.”

During those five days in April, I could hear the gentle laughter of my Heavenly Father as He embraced and led me to experience Him anew. It was so lovely; I’m smiling as I type this. I was in the company of artistic individuals. Many were the kind of folks that exploit their own personal experiences, emotions and relationships in order to convey a meaningful sentence, paragraph or story to a reader. My heart recognized them. Writers: my kind of people!

Through various conversations and listening to Glenna Salsbury, our Divinely appointed keynote, the Father’s purpose for this time in my life unfolded. Ms. Salsbury reminds me of my own amazing mother Dr. Baker (who is also my mentor, pastor and hero). As she dispensed anecdotal wisdom and encouragement, my inner self was stirring. I sat at meal tables, walked up and down hills and interacted with others; and at every encounter I responded to the instructions of the still, small Voice inside. Listen. Ask. Listen again. Answer. Ask. Listen some more. Move away from what you have been. Learn who I want you to be.

So I did. I made a few intentional life decisions. 1) Be and live transparently, 2) increase in humility and love, and 3) eliminate all comfort zones.  Like the Bible talks about in Hebrews 12:1, these comfort zones were my “easily besetting sin,” a horrible justification of mediocrity and stagnated creativity. I’m referring to the moments when I caved to the panicky voice that said: don’t rock the boat, don’t push, don’t bother, don’t say anything, it will be better if you just don’t take the risk. That kind of panic fosters a weird concept of being safe, secure, and in control; it does not promote great adventures. I wasn’t safe. I wasn’t secure. I was not in control. Really I was being untrue to myself and counterproductive to my dreams. The first steps away from comfortable at the conference involved talking to people that I ordinarily would not approach (agents and editors and publishers, oh my!)

I dared to share with others what I have written and what I plan to write. I perfected my first 10 second elevator pitch for my work in progress, a fantasy novel. And I discovered that I spoke to people that were just as interested in hearing me as I was in hearing them. I received feedback, invitations to stay in touch, and I was encouraged to make the pudding and prepare to share it.

Yeah, I took off the mask, opened my ears and heart and bid adieu to the façade of false humility that was my comfort zone. By doing so, I moved into the realization that my potential is now unleashed. I’ve got vivid new paint colors for my future, no more same-shame-same for me. Whoo hoo!  

I’ve discovered that I’m truly committed to make my own destiny statement. My destiny is NOT a yellow brick road sing along with a picnic basket, a little dog, and the rest of the characters in the story. I don’t think it’s on the other side of a rainbow either. No, it’s an intentional choice in this time to follow the path created for me by my Heavenly Father. Daily I choose to reinforce my decision to impact the lives of others for good. It’s the little things that I do that provide the substance for greatness. I can see that now.

This little sharing raises a few questions. Do you experience God in the still, small moments of your life? He hugs us a lot more than we think that He does. He leads us more often than we actually acknowledge. Has it ever occurred to you that your purpose is not a big high resolution picture, but it’s the little pixels or moments in each season of your life that contributes to the completion of our Creator’s great vision? Think about it. We make choices all the time – either to engage or disengage from people, places and life as we know it. I wonder if we have theme music playing in the background as our show unfolds for the cloud of witnesses…yeah, that’s definitely a random thought. Anyway…I want my life to matter, don’t you?

“I’m glad that you’re here.”  Don’t you like it when people say that to you?

“I wish I had never met you.”  I’m so happy that no one has ever said that to me!

Here’s the point: the impact is felt from both statements.  Both contribute to a fulfilled series of events, a culmination of choices either intentional or stemming from careless living. Many talk about living a life of purpose. That’s cool. Let’s turn that over to the other side. Are you living in such a way that you will fulfill God’s destiny for you? What’s your destiny statement? Do you know? It’s your choice to impact others or to stay comfortable until you fade out. My intentional commentary is done for now. You already know that you don’t owe me an answer, although you might want to get one for yourself. I’ve said it more than once, and sometime soon I’ll be saying it again…I’m just asking!


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