So I started a blog yesterday on comfort zones and realized how long it was getting – how many comfort zones I had. Granted in life, many focus on how we should be comfortable, and many believe that the opposite of comfort is misery. However, for me, it is more about stretching myself beyond what I know and have always done, or what I have settled for, and admitting that where “I am” is not good enough. Here are more comfort zones that just need stretched a little – more relationships.
Extended Family (family outside our four walls). If my family needs something they know my phone is on 24/7 and I will be there! I love my family, but it is definitely an area of comfort and growth. I am blessed to have three older brothers, who have married great women, and had families. For awhile, we gathered only in crisis, but thankfully we now get together in the summer for a picnic and a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. After mom and Grandma passed away our paths just seemed to choose different forks in the road. But, that is what happens when we get comfortable, time passes faster than we realize since we last talked or visited. Birthdays past and you try to figure out their age based on how old they were for our wedding. Family is different now, as I remember growing up and everyone went to cousins houses to play hide-n-seek, snowmobile rides, etc. and now cousins barely know cousins, especially my two because they are so much younger. It is definitely something to think about – how my kids miss out on knowing family. Comfortable can be sad in some ways. Mary and Samuel love family. They love to go visit, so I guess it is Jim and I that are the problem. After a week of work, it’s just easier and more comfortable to stay home. Samuel has offered Jim’s family (a total of 4 people) that I would work extra and pay for them to go on a family vacation. We see Jim’s family on holidays, talk on the phone, and some track me on Facebook (and will probably read this). We also see Jim’s parents when Sam wants to sleep with Poppa. However, I am beginning to realize that just may not be enough and have already posed the idea to do better with more family time. My Dad and Karen definitely do not get the visits they should. I try to check in by phone, and they know to call if they need something, but that isn’t enough. I have some intentional plans to work on that relationship too. All of this is not due to a lack of love for our family or a problem with distance for our family. It has just been NOT taking the time. As I said before one of my favorite quotes is “How you spend your time defines who you are.” Well, I want to be defined as a strong family tree.
Friendships. Life takes you through times and friendships change. I believe God places people in your life that you need to be there for that time. However, I also believe that I have not given attention to some friendships and as a result, they have shriveled. I miss those friends. This is one reason that I love about Facebook – to keep in touch with friends. But really, should they learn about my life or I learn about their life on Facebook (well, except for messaging – which I love the most). And do I read between the lines of their posts and see they are truly hurting? Do I pause often when I read a post and say a prayer? Sometimes I get too comfortable with friends and assume they will just always be there. I have one dear friend who was even with me (and just missed) Mary’s birth. She moved and we lost touch, I have tried numerous ways to contact her and have come up empty. Mary knew her as Aunt Tammy and I would love to share what an amazing young lady she is with my friend. I have friends who still live nearby that I have lost touch of their lives. Sure you could say it is a two-way street and they could call me, and well that is true, but they probably just have been comfortable too. And well, if neither of us reaches out, comfort can build a wall. I have some incredible newer friends, but I can’t say I am great a being a nurturer their either. New friendships sometimes take a little more care and attention to grow. However, it is a balance to honor both old and new friends. I know that I could call my friends and they would be there in a heart beat. I also hope they know if they needed me they could call and I would be there. But, whey do I wait for a crisis to stretch the comfort zone? I can drop a card, invite them to lunch, etc… Comfortable can cost me more than I wanted to pay.
Christian Walk. I have said this before, and you may tire of reading it. I was raised in a wonderful Christian home with church and Sunday School every Sunday without excuse. Our only vacations were to a Church Camping Weekend at Camp Harmony in Somerset PA. Oh the memories. I sang in the children’s choir, did the youth groups, and eventually taught Sunday School. Jim and I went to church together from about the third date. However, somewhere along the line I got comfortable. Sure I had a great prayer life during infertility (and a lot of anger too), then high risk pregnancy with Mary and Sam. I knew where God was when I needed Him, because He never moves, but was comfortable only going to Him on my terms. The scary/sad part is that there is still that tendency. Sure I listened to Christian music in the car and learned the words. Last year I resumed really reading and jumped into my stack by Christian Authors. They talked about stories from my childhood and applied them to life now. They challenged me to stop going through the motion of saying I was a Christian, but to put up or shut up. We became more involved in our church and the closer I moved to God the louder was His voice, which of note can be dangerous and/or comforting. (Dangerous because He asked me to move out of my comfort zone). I read more and learned to love my Kindle that read to me when I drove. I heard him, and started the Ladie’s Bible Study and it was the best decision I have made in a long time. I recently purchased several of my favorite chick flick movies and would play them over and over for noise in the background- some scripts I probably even have memorized (interesting how I could memorize movie scripts, but was lacking in scripture memorization). But then I signed up for an online Bible Study to stretch me a little more. I told a friend who introduced me to the author’s webcasts full of Bible teachings. Long story shortened. my ipod is filled with the podcasts, and now the noise I fill my head with is Bible teachings. The other night, I honestly was listening to a podcast and I got goose bumps and sobbed. I am realizing that my Sunday only approach was just too comfortable for far too long.
Being comfortable is not a bad thing when I am talking about shoes, but it definitely does not need to be a descriptive word in my relationships with myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, and definitely not Christ. Life is SHORT, and in a moment everything can change. If I am not comfortable with the intensity and time I put into my relationships… the moment is now. In this year of being intentional, I know that relationships need to be moved to the top of the list!
Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams