Venturing Outside the Comfort Zone

Hi everyone! I just wanted to write a quick note about the content of the post below. I think I’m going to begin posting about a few new subjects besides baking. I’ll still post baking projects regularly, but you may start to see some other content as well. One category of posts will be more focused on writing, and below is the first example of this. I welcome any feedback you have about this or future posts. Thanks for reading!

Venturing Outside the Comfort Zone

Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how important it is to step out of our comfort zones.

This seems important to me because when I look back over my life, some of the most vivid and interesting experiences I’ve had required a decent amount of risk at their inception.

For example, in the fall of 2006 I attended a Discipleship Training School through the Christian organization YWAM. This particular school is about 5 months long, including 3 months of study at a YWAM base and 2 months of outreach in another country.

My team went to Thailand. Those two months were some of the most challenging weeks I’ve experienced, but I was refined through the challenges and emerged from that season as a better person.

I had to step out of many comfortable habits during that time. In particular, I was taken out of my physical comfort zone. To begin with, the humidity in Thailand is almost palpable – I’ve never experienced anything like it! In addition to that, I had to try and sleep in so many different situations – long plane flights, church floors, and the infamous Night Bus. (If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, you probably remember the Knight Bus, which careened wildly through traffic and sporadically lurched to heart-stopping halts? The Night Bus in Thailand was exactly like that. It was almost impossible to sleep, and the minute you finally dropped off the bus would invariably stop at a rest stop, someone would fling on all the lights as well as blaring music, and you were required to get off and walk around.)

It may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not. It was uncomfortable, but it changed me for the better. I am a much more flexible person these days when it comes to physical conditions. When I travel, I don’t often feel stressed when curve-balls occur.

In addition to this, I gained so much life experience through that trip. My worldview was broadened through visiting another country. We visited schools, orphanages and prisons. It was an invaluable experience to step into the world of victims and lonely people whose cries of “Don’t forget us!” will echo in my heart for the rest of my life.

I think stepping out of comfort zones is almost a requirement for those of us who are Christian. When I look back at the stories in the Old and New Testaments, so many followers of God had to take wild leaps of faith, and make risky choices that were often unpopular with their peers. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, all of the prophets…basically anyone who was following God had to do this. I truly believe that walking with God results in a life overflowing with peace and rest, but it is definitely not always comfortable.

I do want to clarify that I don’t think uncomfortableness should be sought after for it’s own sake. I erred to that side for a season when I was younger, and now I’ve learned that it’s more of an occasional requirement when we’re seeking after other things – truly living life to the fullest, and also giving out from ourselves.

So, how am I doing this myself? Well, it isn’t easy, but I’m working on it. I’m kind of bashful sometimes (I get blushy and awkward even when I’m paying for groceries) but I’m trying to be more open to meeting new people. Last weekend, I made my way over to the Dusty Strings in the Fremont area of Seattle with the purpose of joining in a bluegrass jam session I’d heard about. I didn’t know anyone there (and my guitar skills are very rusty), so I was nervous. That particular experience turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic…my heart was beating in my throat as I descended the steps into the shop, but when I got there every room was overflowing with enthusiastic ukelele players. I was informed by the harassed-looking employee that the jam was postponed until next week due to the ukelele workshops. I was a little disappointed, but at least I took the step!

I guess that is the risk of it all – you never quite know what will happen when you do step out. But if there is something you’ve thought of while reading this, and the thought of it makes you uncomfortable and kind of cranky, it probably means you should do it. Good luck!

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  • missa

    Come visit me and we’ll go back to Thailand! :D

    • http://www.jessienextdoor.com/ Jessie

      OK! :)

  • Emily Brotherton

    Great post, Jessie! It’s crucial for us to get outside of our comfortable walls and challenge ourselves to go deeper-whether it’s for spiritual or just practical reasons-we have to push ourselves! I LOVE that you went to the music store! I totally think there are times when just the pure act of going/doing will lead to blessings and open doors we never could have imagined! :)

    • http://www.jessienextdoor.com/ Jessie

      Thanks so much Emily! I completely agree.

  • Angela

    I love that you’ll be sharing more of your writing, while still sharing your awesome recipes! I say…. go for it!

    • http://www.jessienextdoor.com/ Jessie

      Thanks for the encouragement Angela! It was ‘out of my comfort zone’ even to write this post so I appreciate that :)

  • Melanie

    love this, Jessie! :) And Erik goes to that bluegrass jam group with his banjo if you ever need a friend!! -Melanie

    • http://www.jessienextdoor.com/ Jessie

      Are you serious?? Seattle is such a small city sometimes…I think I might go next month so I’ll absolutely touch base with you guys if i do…

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