“The good stuff happens outside the comfort zone” – Bryan Halferty

A group of friends and I discussed what our personal comfort zones were. Who is welcome there? What does the comfort zone feel like? We were challenged to live beyond the comfort zone yet we needed a reasonable point of reference.

What is my comfort zone anyway?

One of my favorite movies in the last season of life is Meet the Parents starring Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller. Having recently married off two daughters, I joke with my young Focker sons-in-law from time to time with the “I’m watching you” glare and little jabs about letting them into the Ronning Circle of Trust.

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Then along comes my friend, Bryan Halferty, challenging the congregation of my church with the idea of living life with an openness to beyond! Beyond the comfort zone, expanding the circle of trust to include folks who, perhaps, don’t quite fit my classic definition of comfortable.

I spent the better part of a casual Sunday afternoon thinking about it. I came up with some themes that helped me understand how my little circle of trust works. These are the biggies for me that actually contribute to a sense of comfort.

Convenience. I prefer things to be on my terms. I’m most comfortable when they are. My list here begins with C words…that made me comfortable.

Control. If I don’t have the sense that things are logical and dialed in, or that chaos is here/near, I get concerned. I’m naturally a people guy but I appreciate sensible order.

Competence. If I don’t know how to ‘do well’ what is going on around me, I resort to either a ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy or I’d rather leave (or not show up in the first place)

Care. I need to understand and value the ideology of things, especially when there is passion involved. For example I root for the Seahawks. Others root for the 49ers. I have no idea why anyone would root for the 49ers…I don’t care about the 49ers…just sayin’.

Connection. I want to know and grow with those on the inner circle of my life. I don’t want to be alone.

Relate to any of these? Hope I’m not the only one. I’d be uncomfortable.

I’m a guy who has said ‘yes’ to the invitation to follow Jesus. Following Him, out to the uncomfortable corners of humanity, gosh…it’s uncomfortable. He pursues the unlovely, the despised, the unnoticed. It’s far easier to huddle up in the holy masses of the church and talk about what life appears to look like outside the stained glass windows than to actually choose to go make friends with a non attender.

The consequences of living a cloistered little life are significant. Communities with tall walls and locked gates create fractured citizenship and, frankly, lousy lifestyles. Some of us are born into comfortable communities and have never seen the world beyond.

Life outside the walls of comfort is risky. Don’t go alone. But don’t be closed to following the call to risk going. You could very well start a needed revolution!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose – Jim Elliot

Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it – Jesus

Hopefully we’re not content justifying the morality of comfortable living and move deeper into the actual sanity of it.

How about you? How’s this comfort zone conversation sitting with you today?

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