The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jim Neal
First Southern Baptist Church 

Pastor's Corner - March 21, 2019


March 21, 2019 | View PDF

Do you long for a comfort zone? Nido R. Qubein says in his little book “Attitude: the remarkable Power of Optimism” that a comfort zone is a place to rest, to be safe and a place to be comforted and coddled. Sounds like a nice enough place to be doesn’t it? However, think about it -- does that sound like a place where a person can grow, strive and change his world? Of course not; rather, it sounds like a nursery, a place full of infants but not for those who desire to change their little corner of the universe or beyond.

What causes us to shrink and slink away to a place of comfort and coddling? What is it in us that seems to sing along with Eddy Arnold as he sang years ago, “Make the world go away and get it off my shoulders”? Is it fear, uncertainty of what is around the next corner or just plain laziness? We see shows like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and think wouldn’t that life style be nice, all the while thinking they must just live in the lap of luxury without a care in the world, when in truth if their lives were examined we would find that to reach the pinnacle to which they have achieved that there were years and years of no more comfort zones!

Mr. Qubein goes on to say that comfort zones are like caves with four distinct attributes:

1. Their darkness makes it hard to see.

2. Their stagnant air grows stale and becomes hard to breathe.

3. Their walls box us in.

4. Their low ceilings keep us from stretching to our full height.

It is only when we examine our lives with full use of our fertile minds and a reenergizing of our dormant pioneer spirits that we will be able to shake loose of the impotent design of life’s nurseries and plunge head long into the fray known as life. It is only when we are creative within ourselves and willing to stretch beyond what others might say is futile, that we will soar live the admonition of the prophet Isaiah, ]“…they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

It is only when we kick loose of the chains that bind and throw back the “fuzzy” blanket of tranquility that we will be able to reach the heights to which we have been called -- to do, to create or to build. Will it always feel good, no, will it always be comfortable, heavens no, nor will it always be safe – but it will be exhiliarating, freeing and fulfilling.” We will shout what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Think about this as it applies to freeing oneself from the confines of a comfort zone. The writer of the book to the Hebrews said it this way: “For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.” (Hebrews 5:13) Maybe just maybe it is time to throw away the “milk bottle,” pull your chair up to the table of life and order a “t-bone.” Comfort zones are all right for some but not for you -- You are never too old or too young to make a difference in your life. Now go for it!

Have a great week chewing on your “t-bone”; and remembering the Chinese proverb, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Jim Neal is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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