Don't get me wrong, being comfortable in some situations is good. But, when we dive into what growth stems from, it is centered around healthy discomfort.
Three circles inside of one another with space in between each.
The inner bubble is your comfort zone filled with comfort-level situations. Examples can be small classroom sizes, having a consistent schedule, only having surface level conversations, and sticking with your current group of friends at social events. Your comfort zone can also include public speaking, spontaneous adventuring, meeting new people and "going with the flow." Everyone has a different comfort zone, mostly based on previous experiences and environment.
Then you have the second bubble surrounding your comfort zone. We can call this the growth zone. This is the area between what you are and aren't comfortable with. When we seek discomfort, this is the area of growth that we can see in ourselves as we expand our comfort zone. When we expand our comfort zone by pursuing this discomfort, we consistently grow into and through this space.
Finally, you have the outermost circle. This is filled with things that are out of your comfort zone. For me, this would include public speaking, starting conversations, and publicly sharing my opinion. After you identify these things, find the root of why they make you uncomfortable. All of mine are rooted in my inner-need to find others' approval. When I go into a situation, I can find that I filter what I do or say in accordance to what I think others would like.
After taking a time of reflection, I realized that growth comes from being outside of your comfort zone. First of all, you learn so much more about yourself like tendencies in situations that you've never been before. Learning these strengths and weaknesses is so powerful because you can experience more, utilize them, and grow through them.
Specifically, I've found the most growth in my spiritual life by getting out of my comfort zone. As I allow the Lord to guide me, I start to embrace that space between my comfort zone and the "unknown." The coolest thing about this is that the Lord does know and we can find comfort in our discomfort. By seeking discomfort, I am putting myself in an inconsistent and new situation. Through this, I am becoming more intimate and dependent on the one thing that is always consistent, the Lord.
Some practical activities that I've found helpful were actually drawing the circles explained above and praying truthfully. Each time I came up with a topic of discomfort, I wrote down what experiences I previously had that shaped this topic to be uncomfortable. I then pray about those specific fears, because discomfort is rooted in fear, and allowed the Lord to break through. I let go of control and let Him lead me through the unknown because He always will know. He is an expert on your future, so faithfully focus on Him because faith is never based on sight.
So, in light of this, challenge yourself this week to step out in an area of comfort to spur on unprecedented growth.