With Jacob’s Well Minneapolis we’re talking “Because It Hurts” (Sept 2015)
We’re digging into those necessary and important parts of life that unavoidably hurt from time to time. We have no illusions about avoiding the pain, or somehow justifying it, but we do believe that when we help each other live in and through the pain it makes us more alive – even when it’s killing us.
One of the key things we are talking about is the relationship between our Comfort Zone and our Danger Zone. [Last week we called the Danger Zone our “Safety Zone” meaning that this is where my safety seems threatened, but that was confusing, so we’re switching “Safety Zone” to “Danger Zone.”]
When we spend too much time in our Comfort Zone we don’t grow much. And we are also ill-prepared for life outside our it – which is inevitable. And, like the diagram above, we find that when we leave our Comfort Zone we are immediately thrust into our Danger Zone and our reaction is Panic! Anxiety! It’s not fun. Not much growth happens there either. And it hurts.
What we need is to create some space between our Comfort and Danger Zones.
We do it by inserting Personal Practices that help us avoid the panic that paralyzes us. Gaining Perspective about what life is really like and about. How threatening the challenge really is. It’s seeing, and feeling, the big picture. I would say this is bringing God and wisdom into the situation. And inviting People to be part of the experience with you. This is the most important piece actually because it is through people you most often find the strength to learn and practice what you need, and that God gives you glimpses of the larger perspective you need.
When you bring Practices, Perspective and People into your life you interrupt the Comfort<=>Danger Zone chain reaction and develop a Growth Zone.
Sure, your Growth Zone is pretty scary too, hurt is part of the equation of life after all, but you aren’t in your danger zone! You can do this. And you can take that hurting stuff and… grow! In fact while you may be uncomfortable, scared and uncertain in your Growth Zone (with practices, perspective and people at work in it with you) you may find yourself surprisingly, but not so strangely, experiencing peace.
You’ll also notice that your Danger Zone is shrinking – not so many things trigger panic anymore. Your Comfort Zone is expanding – things you could never have done before are now part of what you do everyday. And your Growth Zone is a place that you long for – in it’s bittersweet way you realize that this is where you are most alive.