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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When You Feel Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have our comfort zones. I know exactly the height and width and depth of mine, and I am sure you know yours. But if you are like me, though, the dimensions of that comfort zone seem to keep expanding.

When we're asked to step out of our cozy homes, and we do so willingly, that boundary widens. It's not always easy to step over that boundary and into unknown territory. When we refuse to step out of that zone, however, the perimeter seems to shrink around us.

There are certain lines I've had to cross, to step over an old boundary and into new territory. You've probably crossed those lines, too. Here are some of mine.

Telling my father I went to a Mormon sacrament meeting and that I planned to join the Church.

Stepping onto the back of an unbroken horse.

Being baptized without my parents support.

Going on a mission a year later. Walking through the doors of the Mission Home in Salt Lake, alone.

The first day at a new job (like yesterday!) or the first day at a new school.

Accepting a new calling that scared me out of my wits. (That would be most callings I have had.)

Making a phone call to a complete stranger and asking for something.

Getting released from a calling that I loved. (That just happened to me.)

Every time I step outside of my comfort zone, my stress level always goes up, but I also grow. That's the way it works. My self-confidence is tested, but I always manage to withstand the test. Things look hard at first, but over time, they get easier. 

There is a veil of self-doubt that separates us from our potential.

When I read this in the December Ensign today, a quote from a disabled young woman, I knew I had to include it.
Participating in classes and activities...has pushed me out of my comfort zone.... The gospel is designed to help us become stronger people no matter what our circumstances are. (Ensign, Dec. 2010, 40.)
That is what it's all about: Growing stronger.

Strength comes from meeting resistance, from challenging it. Often, the greatest resistance is within ourselves, not outside ourselves. When we meet that resistance with faith, we gain strength; when we meet it with doubt, we go weak.

In closing, I would like to share a few promises to those of us who have been asked to leave our comfort zones. First, a verse from early in the Book of Mormon:
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7.)
Nephi's faith went way beyond his own tested ability. It went beyond his physical sight. He had willingness and determination and he was therefore able to do all the Lord asked him to do.

And finally, a verse from the last chapter of Moroni:
And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me. (Moroni 10:23.)
If you have faith, you can do anything that is necessary for you to do. Anything. I believe that. I completely believe that.

I believe in you, too. You have strength and wisdom beyond what you imagine you have. Your faith has and will always carry you to new heights. I trust you. The Lord trusts you. He never lets you down. He may test you and even surprise you, but He will never let you down. We are the ones who let ourselves down, not Him.

If we trust Him, He will strengthen our muscles, enlighten our minds, warm our hearts, and lift us higher and higher and higher. That is his purpose. That is how He operates. He has a central purpose. It is to help you become who you really are, all that you really are.

His help is a prayer away. All it takes is a prayer and a step forward. Another prayer and another step forward.

You can do it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you had someone in mind when writing this, but may I just say thank you. I coulnd't have had any other words given to me today that meant so much than the ones I just read. Thank you for being the conduit for the sweet and gentle reminder I needed.

Patty Ann said...

Thank you for this post. I think most of us have been somewhere where we needed to hear it. Stretching those spiritual muscles sometimes hurts!

Sister Brittany Nestman said...

There are so many bounds that we all have to step over to grow and become better. I love your qoute "There is a veil of self-doubt that separates us from our potential". Elder Bowen of the 70 said to "take the lid off the jar". We put a limit on ourselves when we don't have to. Our potential is limitless!