Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Paula Friedrichsen

One of my favorite family photographs was taken last year at an amusement park while we were on our summer vacation. We were at the top of a ride called "Splash Mountain" and the picture was taken just as we were starting our harrowing decent. Disneyland cleverly designed an automatic camera, positioned at the scariest part of the ride to take a photo of the unsuspecting riders just as they crest a huge hill and are about to plummet straight down. These hilarious pictures are then displayed at the exit of Splash Mountain and are available to purchase.

I love this photograph because it's so real and unrehearsed. Usually, when you know someone is going to take your picture you fix your hair and put on a pretty smile, wanting to look your best. This picture is spontaneous, showing a perfect blend of joy and terror upon our faces. My husband's eyes are bulging and his mouth is open in a scream as he hangs on to me. I'm laughing and hanging on to my husband's arms with a death grip. My son is wearing his baseball cap backwards so it wouldn't fly off; he's smiling, squinting, screaming and hanging on to his little sister. My daughter's mouth is open; her eyes are closed and she is digging her little hands into her brother's strong arms. (And before you start feeling sorry for our youngest, this ride was her idea.)

Every time I look at that photograph, I'm reminded that God has created us for new and exciting experiences. Through this picture, I sense the Lord saying, "Let your life be an adventure, have courage and embrace new experiences all the time."

It's exhilarating to try something new. Studies show that when a person of any age tries something new, the mental stimulation can actually improve brain health. Many people get stuck in the rut of doing the exact same thing, the exact same way, at the exact same time, every day. And while routine has its benefits, it can also hinder us from being open to new things.

I have seen the Lord move in exciting ways in my life when I was willing to take few risks. Just as Jesus beckoned Peter to step out of the boat, walk on water and come to him, I believe Jesus beckons each one of us to step out of our comfort zone and walk by faith. God provides each of us with many opportunities for us to get out of our boat and walk on water. Life can be a continual adventure if we open our eyes to the endless possibilities with God.

But make no mistake, fear will always rear its ugly head, screaming at us to "get back in the boat and stay safe!!"

Fear is that horrible, sick, sinking feeling that can immobilize us and prevent us from experiencing the abundant life that Christ desires for each one of us. Each of us will face the temptation to turn back, tuck tail and run at some point in our lives. The failure is not in being tempted to run, but in the running.

I am inspired by what Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

So, when you feel like you're at the top of a roller coaster with a huge scary drop right before your eyes - that is not the time to retreat. That is the time to advance. That's the time to put a big smile on your face, scream if you need to, hug those you love and advance into the new adventures that God has in store for you.

Paula Friedrichsen is a dynamic Christian Speaker and newspaper
columnist from Mammoth Lakes, California. She has developed “The Abundant Life Seminar” to educate and inspire women toward greater fulfillment – spiritually, physically and relationally. To schedule her for your
upcoming conference / retreat, or to learn more about this presentation (or
other topics Paula speaks on) go to her website – or
call 760-935-4295

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