I have this magnet on my refrigerator as a constant reminder that today may be a day to take another step outside my comfort zone.
We are creatures longing for comfort. We like the known, the safety of routine and dependence of stability. We feel safe in our comfortable homes, routines, and lifestyle. Especially with my personality type – Phlegmatic/Melancholic, introvert, follower, perfectionist, no conflict person. I like peace and quiet and security. I don’t like to rock the boat, be the center of attention, or speak in front of a group. It makes me nervous to take on a new responsibility with a huge learning curve, especially when others depend on me to take the lead. I’m perfectly content to spend hours on a project – alone. Or sit and listen to others express their views and thoughts. I’m content to stay behind the scenes. Going to new, unknown places can stress me out and drive me to the edge of anxiety attacks. Fear of failure can paralyze me. So is not having a regular income or knowing what’s around the bend.
But God has other plans.
“He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.” Matthew 14:29
I like having all my ducks in a row before I step out of the boat, and I want all the ducks to go ahead of me and smooth the way. Notice that Jesus said, “Come,” to Peter. He didn’t go to the boat and take his hand, helping him out of the boat. Peter had to be bold and step out in total faith and walk to Jesus. He had to take the first step. Then, as soon as he looked at the wind he began to sink. “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v. 30-31.) As long as Peter had faith and kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water to Him, and when he began to doubt, Jesus was right there to pull him up.
As John Ortberg says, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” The boat is our comfort zone. We’d much rather cruise through life IN the safety of the boat. But how much do we miss when we stay in the boat? We miss the exciting adventures of meeting new people, being set free from life-long fears (lies), or discovering new passion and purpose. We may never delight in learning a new skill and ability, or being a part of God’s fulfilling Kingdom work. A whole new world opens up outside of the boat!
“God is more concerned with conforming to me to the likeness of His Son than leaving me in my comfort zone.”
Joni Eareckson Tada
When we do the personality session at our True Identity events, people often tell me they think I’m a choleric personality type (extrovert, leader, strong, in charge). They see me leading a ministry, up front speaking and sharing, and joyfully interacting with others throughout the event. I assure them what they see now is all God! He pushed me outside my comfort zone years ago and continues to do so, as He wants me to become more undoubting and Christlike. He called that quiet, introverted woman to get out of the boat and become a speaker, ministry founder and leader, writer, missionary, and generous giver. All of which are WAY outside my comfort zones and have required huge leaps of faith and trust.
I look back now and can’t imagine if I’d stayed inside the “boat.” I would never have moved to Amsterdam not knowing a soul, to spend 18 months working on an amazing international ministry conference. I would not have met my awesome Dutch husband in that small print shop. Nor would I have broken through the fear barrier to sharing my story and begin True Identity Ministries. I would have missed the thrill of watching God set women and men free from years of lies and hurt as they embrace their true identity in Christ. I would never have experienced the joy of meeting brothers and sisters in a foreign land and sharing a common faith and treasured friendships. I would have continued to worry over every penny instead of realizing it’s all God’s money and freely giving to His kingdom work. Staying inside my comfortable haven, I would have missed out on numerous magnificent adventures with God that have brought great joy, reward, and growth.
Indeed, God is far more interested in shaping us to be more like Him than keeping us comfortable. Abraham, Moses, David, Joshua, Rahab, the Prophets, Mary, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and more. All people just like us full of flaws and fear that bravely stepped outside their comfort zones to follow God’s call. They give amazing testimony to faith and exhibiting the power of God when we allow Him to use us mightily for His purpose and glory!
What’s keeping you from stepping out of your “boat?” Say a prayer, trust God and step out today. He’s right there with you, and you won’t regret it!
For His Glory,
For more “out of the boat” stories, read the TRUE IDENTITY book. All testimony to God’s faithful work in our lives and life walking on the water with Him.