The “comfort zone.” What comes to your mind when you hear those words? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
I guess it depends.
For me, when I am doing something that is outside my area of expertise, like say, almost anything to do with home improvement projects, I’m outside my comfort zone. And according to my wife, Lorie, it needs to stay that way. Just let me mention tackling some project that involves a power tool and she is picking up the phone to call a professional. It’s okay…I know where my gifts are, and Home Depot is not going to get wealthy off people like me.
Some people have comfort zones in places that they probably shouldn’t. Like, say, Lorie and the mall (sorry dear). You ask me, she is way too comfortable there. While she is in her comfort zone on a shopping spree, I am forced outside my comfort zone when the bills come in. It makes me very uncomfortable to spend money on women’s shoes. Can somebody explain to me what it is with women and shoes?
Then there are those comfort zones that are good things. Things like spending quality time with family and friends. Doing things you enjoy that fall within your area of interest or expertise; be they things like teaching, coaching, cooking and for some even using power tools.
When you go in for surgery it is reassuring to know that the operating room is a comfort zone for your doctor–but not too comfortable. (It’s not a good sign if CNN is playing on the monitor.)
I have another comfort zone. It is a big blue recliner in front of our TV. Put me there and nothing gets done that needs doing.
Ah, yes, doing things that need to get done… Sometimes we avoid doing things we know we should do because they fall outside our comfort zone–they are easy to avoid for that very reason. But just because something is outside our comfort zone, is right to avoid it all together?
Some people don’t go to church because it makes them uncomfortable. I am hesitant to go to certain group events because being around a bunch of strangers makes me uncomfortable–my wife’s company Christmas party, for example.
Doing something–anything–differently can cause a cause a ripple in our comfort zone. I wrote a short play called “The Comfort Zone” about a family trying to come to terms with the worship styles that exist in our culture today. You see, there’s this church in town that crowds their comfort zone. One of the things that makes this family uncomfortable is the fact that this church does drama in their worship services on a regular basis. (I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to get around to talking about drama!)
Drama can cause ripples. It can be uncomfortable to see ourselves portrayed on the stage. It can make us laugh and cry–both things that can make people uncomfortable (especially the crying). Sometimes it contains so much truth that it can unsettle an entire audience‹very uncomfortable–but it can be a very good thing! The very concepts of change and growth are not comfortable thoughts, but necessary and good, nonetheless.
I love it when people tell me they didn’t enjoy my performance. You read it right, that wasn’t a typo. I said I love it when people tell me they didn’t enjoy my performance.
Okay, let me give it some context. Of course I want people to enjoy my performances. However, I like watching people struggle for the right words to say to me–especially after a performance of In His Steps. Here is one exchange that I have heard many times:
Audience Member: “Thank you, I enjoyed that…well, ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word. You are very good at what you do. . . but I didn’t enjoy it. It challenged me. . . made me think. . . made me very uncomfortable…”
Bingo! Score one for God! I feel that I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing when I can make people uncomfortable. Perhaps now that person will be motivated to do something outside their comfort zone in service to God. Yea!
Do you tell your pastor that you enjoyed his sermon? Don’t do it! He probably feels he failed when you do that. Try telling him you hated his sermon and watch him perk right up! He doesn’t preach for your enjoyment. The same can be said for this ministry through drama. I don’t do this for your enjoyment or your entertainment. (Although I do hope that it is enjoyable and entertaining to watch) I do this because I want to encourage, to challenge, and yes, if necessary, to make you uncomfortable!