Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Comfort Zone

No-Comfort Zones

God and I have been having an ongoing conversation. Then again, it hasn’t been so much of a conversation as a monologue on my part. An ongoing monologue centering on my affection for comfort zones.

I like being comfortable. Working with the familiar. The predictable. Okay, maybe a switch-up now and then for a little variety. Still, I prefer those to be enjoyable exceptions, not the rule.

But comfort doesn’t stretch me to grow. The familiar doesn’t necessitate trust. And predictability doesn’t require much exercise of faith. Growth, trust, and faith—all things God intends to develop in me. And 2020 has been way more cooperative with God’s intents than with mine.

As I prepare to begin teaching the book of Genesis in a few weeks, I’m reminded of God’s dealings with the biblical patriarchs.

  • Noah was called to build an ark in the middle of dry land at a time in earth’s history when humanity had not yet experienced rain.
  • Abraham was called out from a comfortable city with all the conveniences of that time, to go to . . . he wasn’t told!
  • Sarah was called to trust God’s promise for a child from her own body long after her body should have been able to bear a child.
  • Later, Abraham’s faith was tested in ways we can’t begin to imagine as God called him to sacrifice his son of promise for whom he had waited 25 years.
  • Joseph’s circumstances led to him being thrown into a pit, sold as a slave, and then falsely charged and imprisoned. All of these events helped shape him into a man who was ready for the responsibility of being second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt.

Each of these people suffered through hardship before they saw the answers they wanted. But in each case, the hardships prepared them for their future, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As much as I like my comfort, what I want even more is to become a person God can use for His purposes. This means stepping out of my comfort zone regularly instead of occasionally. And it means exercising trust and faith—both of which are rarely needed in familiar and predictable circumstances.

Right now, it’s difficult to see how God will use this very unusual year of 2020 for my own growth. But I’m certain He will. For now, I’ll continue to be stretched in ways that are not comfortable for the purpose of being used in ways that will give God the glory.

Will you join me? It won’t be comfortable, but it will be an adventure!


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  1. LR

    I am right there with you Ava. So beautifully spoken. And please know, you ARE being used by Him – for all who read your message – it is Him speaking to us. Exercising trust and faith for our growth. Thank you – as always!

  2. Candice Brown

    I feel like many of us are in no comfort zones lately. I look forward to seeing all God has accomplished in me during all of the difficulties this year; it’s hard to see it while in the midst.

  3. Lisa Quintana

    Can I just stay in my comfort zone, please? (Ha ha Ha.) I can relate to being stretched, and there are moments where I literally so don’t want to go there! However, like you said, God uses all things to grow our character.

  4. June Foster

    As much as I wish it weren’t the case, God does ask us to leave our comfort zones. But His ways are higher than mine and He can use all these things for our good. It’s encouraging that others feel the same as me. Thank you for the post.

  5. Melissa Henderson

    I pray that I will be filled with hope and confidence when God calls me out of my comfort zone. I admit that my usual reaction is doubt of my ability. I need to remember God calls and God equips. 🙂

  6. Stephen De La Vega

    I’m with you, Ava, both in enjoying my comfort too much and in being open to God stretching me. It’s easy, even in ministry, to stay within our comfort zones. I want to keep pushing the boundaries in pursuit of what God has for me. I hope all goes well and that you and your students are stretched during your Genesis study.

  7. Jessica Brodie

    Yay, Ava!!! I’m with you and LOVED what you said here: “As much as I like my comfort, what I want even more is to become a person God can use for His purposes. This means stepping out of my comfort zone regularly instead of occasionally.” Amen! Me, too.

  8. Marcie Cramsey

    I love my comfort levels too. But God is calling me forth, to step out in faith in a big way. I’m excited and a bit nervous. When I’m nervous I remind myself that I’m lacking faith and I need to lean into the Lord all the more. 🙂

  9. Yvonne Morgan

    When we do follow God out of our comfort zone, it can be an incredible adventure for Him. Thanks for sharing these things.

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