Today is the second day of Lent. I am blogging each of the forty days as one of my spiritual practices. I got the idea from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd’s suggestion of forty things to give up for Lent. Instead of the usual chocolate or coffee or meat, giving up things that keep me from God seemed a good challenge. I wanted to share those here.
The second thing to give up for Lent was “your comfort zone.” Now I don’t know about you, but I like my comfort zone just fine, thank you very much. What does it mean to give up my comfort zone? Yet this is the task for day two of Lent.
Moving out of my comfort zone challenges me to look at my life and my spirit and ask if my comfort zone is helping me grow? Is my comfort zone keeping me from becoming all God has created me to be? Traditionally, the first Sunday of Lent begins with story of Jesus’ temptations. In the gospel of Mark it says after Jesus has been baptized, “At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan.” (Mark 1: 12-13 Common English Bible, CEB)
I wonder how hard it was for Jesus to get out of his comfort zone and hang out in the wilderness for forty days? At the river Jordan how wonderful it must have been to come out of the water and hear the voice of God claiming him as God’s beloved. In that moment, the Spirit goes from blessing Jesus, to forcing him to go where maybe he didn’t want to go.
Perhaps Jesus understood that he could not truly embrace his call, embrace his ministry unless he got outside his comfort zone. Jesus’ time in wilderness may have helped him see his weaknesses, his blind spots where he was most likely to be tempted. Facing those temptations strengthened him and it could only happen if he was willing to get out of what was comfortable.
The same is true for me. If I am not willing to think new thoughts, go new directions, try new things and get out of my ruts or my comfort zone then I miss so much of life itself. I miss the possibility that I have not heard the still small voice of God that may challenge me to live differently or more deeply or more faithfully.
I don’t know about you, but I have many ruts. What if I drove a different way to work? Or read a different version of the Bible? Or what a different channel for the news or read a different news source? What if I listened harder and spoke less? What if I prayed, listening for God’s guidance and opening my heart more deeply to the Divine Spirit?
Today, I am going to get out of my comfort zone and open myself to the new possibilities that God has in store for me. With the love of God, I am graced to serve.