Why It’s Important to Leave Our Comfort Zones

Sometimes we need to step out into the unknown to discover what God wants for us—our purpose. And sometimes, that may mean making huge life changes.

 But, most of us like to remain in our comfort zones, don’t we? It’s easy to stay with what’s familiar. So, we may opt to play it safe rather than risk failing and feeling disappointed or looking stupid.

But what if we were willing to leave that protected space? What would happen?

In 2005, I found the courage to travel from Seattle to Nashville for my first American Christian Fiction Writers national conference. I hadn’t been a member of ACFW for long, and the only member I’d had any personal contact with lived in Arizona. We shared interest in a particular story topic and had communicated a bit through e-mail. She was attending the conference and had already committed to sharing a room, so she connected me with an author who was looking for a roomie.

This nervous introvert got off the plane alone, determined to step out of her comfort zone and be intentional about meeting people. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. That trip changed my life.

My roommate turned out to be an outgoing person (many writers are introverts) who not only knew tons of people, but who was willing to take me under her wing and introduce me to her friends and professional acquaintances. I had an amazing time, it was a huge growing experience, and the result was that I attended six national conferences after that one. Those events helped me create close friendships with other writers, taught me to network with professionals in the industry, and gave me a strong foundation for knowing what it takes to make it in the publishing world.

If I’d never ventured into that scary territory, I might have given up on pursuing a writing career. 

Instead, I did the following:

  • Challenged myself as a writer
  • Learned how to set up and manage my blogs and websites
  • Taught several workshops at local writers conferences
  • Left one job to start an editing business

That’s just a small list, but the point is, my life would now look completely different. So, I try to be brave and not hold back. I’m not always successful, but I’m getting better.

Zig Ziglar once said, Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret. Profound words, arent they? I don’t want to live with regrets. Do you?

If God is calling you to move out of your comfort zone, take that first step and trust that he’ll help you take the next, and the next, and the next…

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Is staying in your comfort zone keeping you from pursuing your dreams or fulfilling God’s purpose for your life? If so, what do you need to do to change that?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Dreams You Never Knew You Had

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How God Gave One Little Girl the Desires of Her Heart - Janene Durman’s Story

One evening, not so long ago, several of my friends were sharing childhood anecdotes. As I listened to Janene talk about the passion she's held for horses from the time she was a little girl through adulthood, I knew her story needed to be told. As you read how her dream has come true—more than once and sometimes in unexpected ways—take encouragement that God cares about YOUR dreams too. ~ Dawn

How God Gave One Little Girl 
the Desires of Her Heart

It’s been said that “once horse crazy, always horse crazy.” It’s true. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you even HAVE a horse anymore or not, the love, longing, and memories are always there. 

God tells us that He wants to give us the desires of our heart. This is also true! 

My earliest memories of longing for my own horse go way back to when I was a young girl in grade school. My friends had amazing horse statue collections, and we played horses for hours on end. We’d also run and romp in ranchers’ hay and alfalfa fields, pretending to be horses ourselves. 

The sweetest, most beautiful horses in one pasture always greeted me at the fence when I passed on my way to and from school. I originally started sneaking carrots and sugar cubes to put in my pockets so I could feed them each day, because I was sure my mother wouldn’t agree to it. Much to my surprise, my mother was smarter than I gave her credit for. She did indeed notice the missing carrots and the dwindling supply of sugar cubes and became suspicious as to their whereabouts. I finally had to fess up to what I had been doing. From then on, she made sure I had an ample supply for my animal friends. 

Not satisfied with only feeding them through a fence, I decided to ask—no—beg for a horse of my own. It shouldn’t be surprising that I was countered with a hearty, of course not, where would we put a horse? 

After much negotiation, we agreed that I would be allowed to go ride at the local horse stable to see if I even liked riding. That led to many happy visits to the stables where I learned to ride. I wanted to be near the horses so much that I even offered to muck the stalls if I would be allowed to just “hang around.” I mean, what stable wouldn’t want a FREE hired hand?  

That eventually led to becoming a trail guide for paying customers and taking them out for a fun horse experience.  I thought I was in heaven, except I still didn’t have a horse of my own. My mom was quite certain I’d outgrow my infatuation and move on to the next cool thing. That didn’t happen! My love for horses never waned. 

 I was then allowed to attend a special horse camp (two summers in a row) that was located in the beautiful Ruby Mountains. I hopped on a plane and flew there by myself! It was a month-long camp where we learned to do cattle round-ups, ride the mountain trails, etc. I learned so much during those summers, and I was pretty sure I was in heaven, except I still didn’t have a horse of my own. 

FINALLY … Did I say finally? My parents agreed that it was time to allow me the most wonderful opportunity of all time—to have a horse of my own. I was eleven years old. The luckiest eleven-year-old of all! 

We purchased a beautiful Appaloosa and I was in love. The following year we bought our second horse, which was highly trained, and I was even more in love. He soon became my favorite and the apple of my eye. We could read each others’ emotions and feelings. I trusted him with my life. He truly looked out for me in every way. Even when I fell off and I was knocked unconscious, he never left my side, even though he could have easily run away.

Time ticked on, I left home, went off to college, got married, and started my own life. A life that didn’t have a horse in its future. But after many, many years without my lovely, large, animal friends, the Lord granted me the desires of my heart yet once again. He brought a gal into my life who needed help with her horse. She had an injured knee and could no longer ride. She approached me to see if I would be interested in giving her horse some exercise. Well, of course! I was blessed with a wonderful, beautiful Arabian as my new companion until we moved out of the area to another town.

Within only months of our move, once again God brought another wonderful gal into my life who has a horse that needs to be ridden. The day we met, she found out that I rode and called me the very next day to see if I would like to ride with her! We’ve had many, wonderful adventures and times together. I feel so blessed beyond words!

As if that wasn’t enough, God brought yet another amazing opportunity my way. Recently, I met a lovely lady, who like me, was asked to help arrange flowers for a wedding. We became quick friends! It just so happens she also has horses and so generously asked if I would ever want to ride with her. She also uses her horses to minister to and bless children with special needs. And once again I said of course!

My heart is so full of blessings and is so touched by the Lord and His desire to please and bring pleasure to His children. What a benevolent, loving Father we have who is concerned enough about even the smallest of desires we have hidden in our hearts, just to bring us joy and pleasure. He knows our hearts. He dwells there—and this is how He knows us so intimately and completely! May we never take for granted the little things God does for us and the blessings He provides— like only a heavenly Father can!

 This little girl’s “horsey heart” is surely blessed.

Has God given you the desires of your heart? If so, how has He done that? If not, why do you think you’re still waiting?

Meme – Inspirational Quote on Daring to Pursue Your Dreams

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You’re Never Too Old to Pursue a Dream

I remember it clearly. I’d just met her a few days earlier at the writers conference. Her warm and outgoing personality drew people in, and I immediately liked her. Young and beautiful, she seemed to have everything going for her. It wasn’t until she came out of an appointment with a popular agent with great news that I felt a twinge…

It wasn’t caused by one thing. Sure, I was a little envious that she’d garnered the agent’s attention after only writing for a few short years. But I was also thrilled for her. Really, I was!

I think my feelings had more to do with realizing that I was probably 20 years older than my new friend. That meant I had 20 less years to accomplish a goal she’d already reached.

A bit of worry and regret seeped into my thoughts. Why hadn’t I chosen to pursue a writing career sooner? If I’d found the courage to focus on creative writing in college instead of science, I wouldn’t have taken such a long detour to get here.

I experienced several years of writer anxiety. I worried that if I didn’t “break through” soon, it would never happen.

Finally, the Holy Spirit got through to me. I needed to rest in God’s timing, not my own. And since then, there has been a peace at knowing when the time is right, the time is right. I can look back at disappointments along this journey and see how I’ve been spared some desires that would not have been in my best interest.

When you’re just out of college, 60 looks pretty old. But now that I’ll turn 59 before the end of the year, I have a new perspective. You know…60 is the new 40! I’m claiming that! 

I see things differently than what I did when I was a young woman. Now I believe you can accomplish great things at any age. And those dreams that are physically or financially impossible? I encourage you to not let them go completely. Instead, consider altering them a bit.

Maybe you’ll never be a ballerina, but you can still find a way to dance, even in a wheelchair. Take ballroom dance classes or move to music on the radio. Let your imagination go and feel the dance in your heart.

Perhaps a career as a concert pianist is impossible, but why let that stop you from learning to play or providing music for those who would love to hear it?

If you dreamed of being a teacher, but life’s circumstances didn’t give you the opportunity, there are so many children who could benefit from your tutoring.

Traveling the world may not be feasible, but you can experience it by reading, visiting museums and cultural restaurants, and watching movies and TV travel shows. If you have a computer, you can access almost anywhere in the world—it’s all at your fingertips.

I think the important thing is that we never forget to dream…and we never give up on pursuing one. For when we do, I think we risk losing an important part of living.

Are you giving your dream a time limit? If so, why?

To inspire you, here is a short list of women who became successful after forty.

Vera Wang, known world-wide as a designer, was a figure 
skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40.

Julia Child didn’t even learn to cook until she was 40. 
She worked in advertising and media before writing her first 
cookbook and launching her popular cooking show when she was 50.

 Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she 
published the first book in the Little House series.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as 
Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at 
78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

Betty White wasn’t well-known until she got a role on
The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was 51 years old. 
She’s now 93 and still going strong in her career.

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