Posts Tagged ‘Comfort zone’

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’re a failure no matter what you do? Or how about one where you walk away defeated every time a certain person speaks to you? Or maybe you’ve been in one where you feel like you’re just hanging on for dear life and are afraid to let go for fear that you will fall further than you can get back from. I can honestly say I’ve been there. In fact, I can think of at least one situation in my life right now where I feel like that.

The question I have at times like this is, do I give up or do I hang on? The reality is, I could do either one. And either could turn out for my good because there are good and bad to both decisions. Currently, I have a situation whereby I have to decide if I need to stay where I am at or look for a change. That’s difficult for me because I have invested a lot of time and effort into this situation. I have worked hard and have had a lot of successes. There was a point when I woke up wanting to be a part of this situation.

Those days have passed. So now, I have to ask myself, do I stay or do I go? Do I survive or do I live? Do I give up or do I let go? That last question might seem like I’m asking the same question twice. But I’m not. Giving up means I stop trying. I just give up and let things fall as they will. Letting go means, I make a choice to walk away. I’m not giving up; I’m choosing a different path. Giving up means I probably stay in the situation that is defeating me. Letting go means I look for an opportunity to learn and grow and change – and hopefully be built up.

Right now, I feel sometimes like all I do is survive. I do what I have always done because it’s what has worked for me in the past. I’ve probably mentioned I like to stay in my comfort zone. That’s because I know it works for me. The problem is, I think I’ve become stagnant. And that is probably part of the reason I feel frustrated and defeated all the time. I’m tired of doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. That never works for me (duh!). Instead of things getting better, I fall further and further into defeat until eventually, I either am forced to get out, or I fall so far I can’t get myself out.

I no longer want to survive. I want to live. I want to grow. I want to be built up and build others up. I do not want to stay stuck in a place where there never seems to be a win any longer. I no longer want to be in a place where I feel like I’m a failure every single day of my life. I no longer want to listen to all the things I’m doing wrong (and believe me there are lots of them). I want to hear what I’m doing right once in a while. I’m tired of dwelling on the negative. I want to hear and see the positive.

So, the question I pose to myself today is: “Are you going to give up or are you going to let go?”

Your turn! Have you ever been in a situation where you spent each day feeling defeated? What did you do (or are you doing) to better that situation? Do you think there’s a difference between giving up and letting go? I’d love to hear from you!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo Credit:  By Martin Wessely  (Unsplash.com)

Photo Credit: By Martin Wessely (Unsplash.com)

I am not one to try a lot of new things. I prefer to stick with the things I know and like, rather than try something that I might not like. However, lately, it’s been getting to the point where I am tired of the same old thing. I feel like I am trapped in a room, looking out at the world and seeing everything I wish I had the guts to do pass me by. A lot of that has to do with the fear of trying something new and not liking it or maybe even failing at it. I think for me, failure is the biggest fear I have. I think somehow, deep inside, I think it means that somehow I am lacking – that somehow I’m not good enough.

Much of my fear has to do with the fact that I have done so many stupid things in my past. I have a litany of events in my life that would illustrate the extent of how stupid I can really be. And for the past few years, I think I’ve done all I can to distance myself from that failure and make myself out to be this person who seldom messes up. It’s all about the image because if anyone saw who I really had been, they would perhaps not like me quite so much. Forget the fact that my past has taught me so many things. To let others see me as I really am might mean rejection. And I have faced enough of that in my life – at least that’s what I tell myself.

The reality is, my past is my past. I can’t change it, but I can look back on it and see how far I have come. Or rather, I can look back and see how far God has brought me. He took a scared, stupid, insecure little girl and He has grown me into someone who, while still scared, and still able to do stupid things, and often insecure, is also learning to be courageous and strong and to depend on Him. As a result, recently I have started to do things I never really expected I’d be able to do. For example, I went back to New York, where my roots are a few weeks ago. To say that was a step out of my comfort zone is an understatement. I was terrified. But I did it. That’s just one example, but I have others that I can point to. Except, that’s not the point today.

When I refuse to step out and take a risk – whether it be failure, rejection or something else unpleasant – I do myself a disservice. I put myself in a cage. I lock myself up into a tiny little box and instead of growing, I shrink. I go deep into myself and I lock everyone else out. And that’s a lonely life.

Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it (perfection) yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NASB). Paul had a lot to be ashamed of in his past. After all, he persecuted, imprisoned and caused the death of many followers of Christ before he went through is own conversion experience. He could have chosen to hate himself, belittle himself, or lock himself away from other believers. Instead, he chose to do the opposite and as a result started many different churches, not to mention the prevalence of his letters being included in the New Testament.

Paul went on to say in verses 15-16, “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (or mature), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained” (NASB). In other words, live up to who you are. I am a child of God. As a result that means I am sanctified, redeemed, and can rest in God. I don’t have to keep looking back in shame at my past. I can use it as a learning experience, but my life isn’t in the past. I am to be embracing what God has for me in the future, and that is that I am going to get to be with Him someday. And if that’s the case, then what do I have to be afraid of here? What am I avoiding?

With that in mind, I have a few “bucket list” items I am planning on this year, such as kayaking, driving to New York with my kids this summer, taking a chance and entering a couple of writing contests this year, and so much more. And I can do those things because I am free. Yes, I might fail. Yes, things can go wrong. Yes, I can get hurt and it’s going to be a risk. But, in the end, I am going to grow and learn, and most of all, I am going to escape from that cage I have locked myself into.

What about you? Have you locked yourself in a cage too? Are you avoiding certain things out of fear of failure or rejection? What do you do to get past those feelings and live the life God has called you to?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Image courtesy of rattigon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of rattigon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I’m a person who has many acquaintances, but only a small amount of people that I actually call friends. And I’ve an even smaller “inner circle” of friends that I’d call my close friends. It’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve realized just how important having those friends is to my well-being. It’s not that I didn’t know having friends was important, but I think for a long time I just felt like it was easier to be off by myself. I wanted friends. I’d complain that I had no friends. But I wasn’t doing anything to actually be a friend.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in order to have friends, I have to be willing to be a friend. That means, that I need to be willing to listen, give, learn from, and be there for someone else. And those are all things I’ve actually always understood and tried to do. But there is one thing I left off that list. Being a friend means I have to trust. I have to be willing to take a risk. And that’s hard for me. I’m not known for my risk-taking ability. I’m more of a “stay in my comfort zone” kind of person. But the only thing staying in my comfort zone has netted me is a boring life of loneliness. And who wants that?

I was recently contacted by someone from my past from whom I never expected to hear. At first I was a little skeptical. I mean, it had been a really long time. But, I’d been curious about this person for a while, so I decided to respond. And then after a little while, I took it a step further and decided to trust this person. I don’t even really know why I felt like I could or even should. I think I just got tired of always having to be wary and careful not to let too much of myself be seen. Or maybe it was the inherent lack of judgment I felt from this person. Whatever the case, I chose to trust. All I can say is I’m so glad that I chose to do that. For one thing, a very good friendship has grown from that decision. I have someone I know I can talk to, and I don’t have to hold back information for fear that I’m going to be rejected.

But there is another benefit that I have started to see from this friendship. My other friendships have started to become more open as well. I’ve started to become more outgoing. I’ve also started to be more willing to be vulnerable with my friends. I am sharing more of me, and as a result, I am finding these friendships to be more rewarding and fun. It makes me think that maybe my lack of trust because of past issues was unfounded. True there are some people who can’t be trusted. But are they really the majority? Have I been allowing myself to miss out on wonderful friendships because I was too scared to trust?

I don’t want to do that anymore, so I’m making a commitment to myself to be willing to put myself out there more. I’ll trust that even though I might be rejected by some, there are others who will accept me for who I am. I think as time passes, I’ll find that because I was willing to be vulnerable with others, I’ll have a fuller, richer, more fulfilling life. And that’s not bad.

What about you? Do you have issues with trusting others too? Or are you the type of person who is able to be who you are, no matter who is watching? What are your thoughts about trust, risk taking and friendship?

~Until Next Time

Karen Signature

I hate change.  Change means new and different…and most of all, scary.  Change means I have to step outside my comfort zone.  Change means danger, risk, and taking a chance.  It means going out on a limb and hoping for the best.

I know, I know.  Not all change is bad.  In fact there are lots of changes that are good.  Without change we cannot grow and thrive.  I know that.  But that doesn’t make me desire change any more.  And yet, lately, I have felt more and more like God is pushing me to incite change – change in the lives of others – but more in my own life.

I have spent much of my life sticking with the status quo and refusing to change anything because change, to me, has always meant giving up control, and I am a major control freak.  Yes, I admit it.  I am a control freak.  If I can’t control everything around me, that means I can’t control the results of specific actions.  Here’s the thing I’ve been learning most…(come close, I’m going to whisper it)…I don’t really control anything.

Every time I have thought I have been in control, some event or person (or God) has come through and “upset the apple cart.”  And thus, change has swept into my life, knocked me off my feet and onto my behind.  Ouch!

So, when I say that I feel God pushing me to incite change, I don’t say that lightly.  I’m beginning to see that I have two choices.  I can sit here and stick with the status quo, and let change happen to me – which I generally end up hating.  Or I can make change happen, and try something new that I’ve always wanted to try or even step outside my comfort zone.  The question is, do I want to be the one who sits by and lets change happen to her or do I want to be the person who embraces and effects change?

The thing about being the one to effect change is that when I am the instigator of change, I get to have some say in what the change is.  I’m still not in control.  And actually, that’s OK – better than OK even.  Because I am choosing to make a difference.  I’m not sitting there being a victim saying, “Woe is me, my life is being all turned upside down again.”  Instead I get to join in the excitement of making a difference.

I’m tired of being the person who sits on her behind waiting for something to happen.  I want to be the person who makes change happen and the one that leads others to make change happen in their lives too.  I want to make a difference in my life and the lives of others.  I want to do big things for God like I’ve never done before.  I want to touch people’s lives.  I’ve been the victim long enough.  It’s time to become the victor that God has made me to be.

What are your thoughts about change?  Do you feel like you are waiting for change to happen to you, or do you feel like you’re making change happen?  Have you ever felt that there was more you were supposed to do but were too afraid to try?  Share your thoughts with me.  I’d love to hear them!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Today’s prompt asked me to write about something that I am not certain I’d be good at or something I chose not to do because I didn’t know if I could handle it.  This is a tough one because I don’t like to talk about things I don’t think I can do.  I don’t even like to think about things I don’t think I can do.  I prefer to pretend like everything is all good and hope that nobody notices that I bow out when I think I will fail.  Alas, I cannot get away from it today, so I must bare my inner thoughts about this topic, no matter how much I’d prefer not to.

You might wonder why I would even bother if it’s not something I like or want to do.  Well, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been working very hard at getting out of my comfort zone.  I don’t know how much more I can get out of my comfort zone than to share about something that has me quaking inside.  After all, who willingly shares their deepest fears?  I don’t think that I can truly consider myself as getting out of my comfort zone until I am willing to share even those things that are deeply hidden inside of me.  In fact, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I didn’t even know some of the things I end up writing about.  So, without further ado, allow me to expound upon this topic of things I avoid because I might not be good at them.

There are things that I know I am not good at.  For instance, I am not all that good at math.  I don’t mind working with money – that doesn’t seem like math to me.  I am good at using math principles at work because, again, it doesn’t feel like math, since I’m  just doing my job.  I’m talking about math from textbooks – you know the stuff they test you on.  Somehow having to find out how much “C” is, based upon the different parameters of “A” and “B” gets all tangled up in my mind, and I end up with “A+B=F”.  “F” as in “failure.”  Another thing I have never been all that great with is sports.  I had a few things I was good at like – soccer and sometimes baseball or softball, but the majority of sports just left me feeling like an inept klutz.  So, I guess that’s a good illustration of the things I know I can’t do.  But what about those things I might not be able to do, but don’t know because I’ve never tried?

Well, one of those things is, I’ve never really tried to get published.  I’m serious.  I want to be a published author, but I’ve never actually given it a shot.  I’ve never put myself out there.  Well, there was that one time when I had to attempt to get published in an online publication for a class I was doing on Poetry.  It wasn’t a bad poem – just not what they were looking for.  I don’t really count that one because, the reality is, I’d have never even sent my poem in if I had been given a choice.  It was part of my grade to attempt it, or I’d have never done it.  How’s that for pathetic?

The thing is, I know I’m not a bad writer.  I’m really not.  In fact, I obtained almost perfect scores in every college writing class I ever took.  I even got high scores (and won $100) for one of the worst-written papers I had ever created, not because of the writing, but because of the creativity that went into it.  In addition, another paper that came close to winning in that same contest, was one that I was requested to read in front of other students because it was so well-written.  So, obviously, I must have some talent there.  But the biggest thing holds me back is the question, “Do I have enough talent to make money with my writing?”  The answer is, “I don’t know.”  I just don’t know if I have that much skill.  I think I might, but I don’t know.  And because I don’t know, I haven’t tried.

The sad thing is, my passion lies in my writing.  I had forgotten that for a time.  For several years, I barely wrote a word outside of the writing I do in my job, which isn’t saying much because just about anyone can summarize a contract for others to utilize as a tool.  I’ve written manuals and “official” notifications.  I’ve even edited the writing of others in my team.  But I don’t feel the joy and passion for writing at work.  I only feel it when I sit here, writing out my thoughts and sharing them.  My real passion is to write so that others can see it, not just use it as a tool – especially since it’s not even really my own writing, as much as it is making sure others at my work can understand the contract terms.  I have ideas and thoughts and feelings that I want to share with the world, but my fear of failure holds me back and keeps me captive.

So, I’m working on this.  As you might have noticed, I have been writing more and sharing more.  I’ve been trying to get what’s inside of me out.  This is just a way of getting back into the practice of writing on a more consistent basis, so that I can eventually do what I really want, which is to write a book.  My passion has begun to come alive again, and it’s all I can do not to spend all my time writing or thinking about what I’m going to write.  I know that I have something to share deep down inside of me, and at some point, it’s going to come out.  But what if I hold it all inside and never let it out?  Will I find myself at the end of my life regretting that I never even tried?  And how do I tell my children to reach for their dreams if I’m never willing to reach for mine.

So, I’ve begun the process.  I’m working on the research.  I’m practicing up on my writing.  I’m thinking and planning.  But, most of all, I’m doing it.  I’m writing, and I’m sharing.  And really, what more can anyone really ask of me?  What more can I ask of myself?

What about you?  Do you have something you haven’t tried because you aren’t sure you can do it?  Do you have a passion that you’ve been hiding because you just might not be good enough?  What are you going to do in order to start working toward your dreams?

Until Next Time,

Have you ever noticed that when someone says something that seems to give you a “kick in the pants,” you begin to hear about that “issue” everywhere you turn?  Well, that’s me on when it comes to risk.  I have read and heard a lot about the topic of “risk” lately.  I am reading about it in a book I’m going through on healing.  I’ve heard about it on the radio.  I’ve listened to sermons about risk in church.  It seems the last few weeks that all I’ve heard about is risk.

This, of course, got me to thinking.  If I am hearing about risk all the time lately, then perhaps I need to open up my ears and listen.  And perhaps I might just want to take a look at my life and see how I measure up on the “risk meter”.  What I found is that I am seriously lacking in the risk area.  In fact, I am so against risk, I try not to plan anything that I can’t look at from all directions and think of all possible scenarios.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have noticed that just when I think I’ve thought of all possible scenarios and started moving forward, something happens that shakes my world and causes me to realize that once again, I have not thought of everything.

What I’ve read and heard is that life is about risk.  You can’t live without taking a risk.  Life doesn’t work that way.  Just by getting out of bed, I risk injury.  When I get into my car and drive to work, I risk getting into an accident.  With my kids, I risk making the wrong decision.  At work, I risk making an error – that could ultimately cost me my job.  I take risks every single day without even giving it a second thought.

But when it comes to taking a risk to share myself with others or to step outside my comfort zone or even to be generous to someone else, I tend to refuse to take the risk.  I don’t want to risk rejection or discomfort or the chance that I might not have the money to pay a bill or buy a necessary item.  In short, I’m selfish.  To refuse to risk myself is to say that nobody else is worth my time.  It’s probably the most selfish act that I can commit.

You might say that I take a risk because I love my children.  You would be right – but those risks are for their good.  But what about taking a risk that is for my good or for the good of someone other than family?  When does that become a priority in my life?

You might say that many of my recent posts have dealt with stepping out of my comfort zone and into risk, and you’re right.  I’ve written about it and talked about it…but at some point I have to do it.  I have taken steps.  And I know this will need to be one step at a time, but I want those steps to be bigger and faster.  I don’t want to die in my comfort zone – never having lived.

So, I’ve decided to start making a list of those things that I have “always wanted to do,” and I’m going to start crossing them off my list one by one.  Yes, this sounds eerily similar to making a “bucket list”.  And it’s probably close to what it is.  But it’s more than a “bucket list”.  It’s actually a Legacy List.  By this, I mean it’s a legacy I want to leave for my children and their children and their children’s children, and so on.  This is a list of things that I want to do that will make a difference, not just in my life, but theirs.  A “bucket list” is about being selfish.  A “legacy list” is more about being selfless – making a difference in the lives of others.

The scary thing for me is that I don’t know how this is going to end.  I don’t know what this is going to look like.  I don’t know if I will succeed or fail.  But I do know, I have to do this.  I think God is telling me to open up my eyes and look around.  He’s calling me to take a risk – to trust Him.

What about you?  Are you taking a risk?  Are you putting yourself out there?  I’d love to hear some of the ways you are making a difference and the steps you are taking to leave a legacy to those around you.

Until Next Time,