Leaving that comfort zone

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. (Genesis 12:1-6)

Most of us would admit to having some form of a 'comfort zone' in which we live, work, relate, or drive. We just don't like to get out of that 'zone' all that often, but when we do, we sometimes face fear, a lack of trust, or a bit of overwhelming dread at what we might see or face outside of that 'zone'. Put yourself in Abraham's shoes. The son of Terah, a man who moved his entire family to a foreign land - moving them away from Ur of the Chaldeans into a territory headed for Canaan but choosing to stop in Haran and settle there with his family. So many of us stop before we ever reach our destination - all because we see something more appealing, or we just cannot push that far outside of our comfort zone. One day, God spoke to Abraham that it was time to get up and move - to leave this 'native country' - all his relatives and extended family were to be left behind. The extended family was everything in those days, so this was a drastic move on his part. Yet, he was choosing to follow God - a choice that will oftentimes challenge us to leave our 'comfort zone'.

When God asks me to do something, I have a tendency to want to know the 'what', 'why', and 'where' of his request. How about you? Isn't it hard to just 'trust God' at times? That artificial 'bubble' we call our 'comfort zone' isn't that easy to leave at times, is it? Abraham didn't exactly know where he was going - all he knew was that it would be a 'land that I will show you'. He had to trust God for the destination to be revealed somewhere along the way - or perhaps when he finally arrived wherever he was headed. All he knew was that he was to begin moving in the direction God showed him. There will always be times when God tells us to 'move' and we would rather not go until we know for certain what awaits us along the way. It is called a 'test of faith'! When God asks us to move, do we hesitate? Do we plunge in headlong and just hope for the best? Or do we move, listening and observing carefully along the way, so we don't miss out on what God has planned for us in the journey?

Do you know how far the journey was for Abraham? It was better than 2,000 miles away from where he was that day when God asked him to move. There will be times when God asks us to move beyond our comfort zone, but we could never imagine just 'how far' that movement would take us! If we drag our feet, make excuses for why we cannot go now, or just plain reject the notion of ever moving beyond our comfort zone, what could we be giving up? Give up a job - reach out to a neighbor with the gospel - become part of a new church start-up - the list could go on, but you get the idea. God may ask us to 'leave' something we have become quite comfortable with or within, but if we do so, what are the possibilities we may discover along the way? Leaving our comfort zone requires faith, but it also requires a ton of obedience. Just sayin!

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