Me: “No way God, I can’t do that”.
God: “Yes, you can Andrea. Use the money you have been setting aside for tithing and buy as many of Roy’s books as you can to hand out at his Celebration of Life.”
Me: “But I can’t. It will be awkward. Roy’s son is my ex-boyfriend. The last time we saw each other, it didn’t end well. I haven’t seen him in over 15 years and who knows if he even wants me there.”
God: “Andrea, this is important.”
Me: “But I don’t even know where to start.”
God: “Text Bill Sr. and ask him how to get in contact with Roy’s wife.”
Me: “Ok I will try, but I don’t even know if this is you talking to me or if this is some sort of crazy idea that just popped into my head. I really hope it’s not the latter.”
Ever have an idea pop into your head and you’re not sure where it came from? Do you find yourself debating over it and you’re not even sure who the opponent is? Is it God or your conscience?
What do you do with the idea? Is your first thought to swat it away like a pesky fly? That was mine.
I wanted nothing to do with it because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. There were too many unknown variables and I couldn’t predict the outcome. And I didn’t know if it was God talking to me or if I was talking to myself.
Did you know it’s our body’s natural response to stay inside our comfort zone because that’s where familiarity lives? And when you operate in familiar territory, your levels of anxiety and stress are at it’s lowest. Our body and mind naturally gravitate towards our comfort zone because that’s where we feel in-control.
So why then would we ever want to step outside of our comfort zone? What’s the benefit?
Robert Yerkes, an American Psychologist conducted research, which discovered that when you operate with an increased level of anxiety (outside of your comfort zone), your performance is at the optimal level. At this level, your concentration and focus is heightened. This is where the amazing stuff happens.
Think about some of your favorite athletes. They didn’t get to where they are today by staying inside their comfort zone. They had to push themselves, do things that were uncomfortable, things that they didn’t feel like doing in order to achieve amazing results.
In the bible, there are tons of examples of people choosing to step outside of their comfort zone in order to achieve the extraordinary including a man named Naaman. He was the army commander to the king of Aram. The king thought highly of him. He was an amazing athlete and great worrier, yet he suffered from leprosy. One day the maid of Naaman’s wife suggested he should go and see the prophet Elisha from Samaria to heal him.
So with the blessing of the king, Naaman went to see the prophet. When he reached his house he knocked on his door, only to be greeted by Elisha’s messenger. The messenger said, “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:10
Well that didn’t sit well with Naaman. He was expecting Elisha to come out, put his hand on him and be healed. And now the prophet not only didn’t talk to him, but he was told to simply go and dip himself in water. That wasn’t heroic, challenging or difficult. Nothing about the idea felt comfortable so he flat-out refused to go.
“But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him even when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed! 2Kings 5:13-14
It took Naaman stepping out of his comfort zone, humbling himself and listening to Elisha, the man of God, in order for the extraordinary to happen. It wasn’t what he was expecting, nor was it something that he wanted to do. But with some convincing of his officers he did it. And he was healed.
God created you with an amazing and extraordinary purpose for your life. But it’s hard to experience because first you have to realize that it’s not a crazy idea, it’s God asking you to do it. And secondly, it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, which goes against everything your body naturally tells you to do.
So then how do we get there? How do we step outside of our comfort zone and into God’s extraordinary plan for our life?
Mel Robbins, a speaker, TV personality and coach, knows just how hard it is to act on an idea. Through failures and set-backs of her own, she realized that you only have about five seconds from the time the idea pops into your head to act on it before your brain floods with a million reasons why you shouldn’t do it. It’s called the five-second rule. She explains it takes as much physical force to act on it as it would for you to set your alarm thirty minutes earlier than normal and instead of hitting the snooze button, you get up; out of the warm comfort of your bed and into the cold, dark space of your bedroom. She suggests giving it a try to see if you can do it. And if you can, than you will realize how much physical force you need to have in order to take the idea that popped into your head to bring it to fruition.
I was scared out of my mind, heart racing and anxiety through the roof as I was arguing with God why I shouldn’t, couldn’t do it. But within those 5 seconds I decided to tell my husband what was going on. By me telling him, it went from an idea that I would have dismissed to one that I committed to and followed through on.
It was the most amazing, fulfilling and extraordinary experience. Since the celebration of life, I’ve watched and heard multiple stories of how the book has changed people’s lives. And I continue to see how God has used my obedience to uplift, and help others.
God blessed me that day, and it reminded me that those crazy ideas may not be that crazy after all. It may actually be God calling you to fulfill your purpose in life.
Has something been on your heart to do? The next time an idea pops into your head, go and tell someone, or text them, or write it down within those first 5 seconds. Do something physical so that the idea does not stay living in your head. Then pray about it and see if it’s God calling you to do it. Those first 5 seconds are crucial. Don’t let your mind force you to stay in your comfort zone. Because your comfort zone will never allow you to experience the extraordinary!