By Faith {The Grove: Enlarge}

Three things I like about my comfort zone: It’s mine. It’s all about comfort. It’s contained within a well-boundaried zone.

My comfort zone is safely in my protective control for my benefit and ease. It’s all cozy and warm and fuzzy. I like it. I like it a lot.

So, when God invades my nice little zone and disrupts my nice little plan…

Well, I don’t have to tell you. You have your own story.

And it probably starts with “by faith”.

By faith, we tread into the unknown. By faith, we plunge headfirst into risky endeavors far bigger than we can actually do. By faith, we leave, grieve, cleave, believe.

By faith, we please God.

A quick drive through Hebrews 11 makes clear the standard for pleasing God is not our success but our obedience. When God asks you and me to do crazy big things, a primary objective of that ask is to enlarge our trust in Him. He enlarges our soul to love Him and love our neighbor. And when we do those two things well, the world gets turned upside down.

Comfort zones are different than limits. Limits are what we bump up against. Limited capacity, resources, and opportunities cause us to posture our soul to see God’s awe-inspiring provision.

He tells you to stretch out your hand, take your mat and walk, go to the river and wash, leave everything you know for a far-away land.

Enlarge your tent, Sweetie, and watch in wonder what I will do.

You are the personal friend of the God who feeds thousands with one little boy’s lunch, turns plain water into fine wine, sets the captive free, speaks life into the dead, creates “wow” out of nothing.

So, take a brave step out of your comfort zone into the wild expanses of God’s plan. Watch Him abundantly provide far beyond the scarcity of your own resources and abilities. Feel Him hang on to you as you cross that tight rope. See Him enlarge your capacity and influence for the sake of others.

Ah, that’s it, right? My comfort zone is all about me staying safe and cozy. His plan is all about transforming the world. Be full of courage, sister, when He says, “Time to go big!” You are part of a bold, audacious, wonder-filled plan.

——

God has asked Velvet Ashes to take a big, audacious step of faith for the sake of you, the Sisterhood of Risk Takers, who have stepped way out of comfort zones to be a part of His big, audacious plan for this world.

If you’d like to be a part of His provision for Velvet Ashes, click here and then join us at The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions

19 Comments

  1. Ruth November 26, 2015

    I love how you described the difference between limits and comfort zone! “Limited capacity, resources, and opportunities cause us to posture our soul to see God’s awe-inspiring provision.”  I’m writing a newsletter related to this season of limitedness and I just might quote you!  It’s such a good distinction too because I think those can get blurred.  When we recognize the extent of our limits though, it really does allow us to see the bigness of God and allow him to work through and in us in big ways.  I guess the difference is getting stuck at recognizing our limits and just dwelling on and in that place, and embracing our current state while looking up in expectation of how God will work.  I will have to think more about this. 

    1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

      Ruth, I like the way you think!  When Paul talks about delighting in our weaknesses, I think he could be talking about embracing the limits outlined for us in a particular season.  Those are the places His power rests on us.

      And comfort zones are those places we get stuck because they don’t require much of us.  But who really wants that kind of life – one without challenge and purpose?  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying I want to live an eternally significant life, showing off His power and glory!

      Thank you for serving in faithful obedience in this season, Ruth!

  2. Daveen Wilson November 27, 2015

    Thanks so much for this – planning a move to the Alentejo in Portugal and grieving at leaving my precious grandson and soon-to-be-born granddaughter – never mind church community, family, comforts – so good to be reminded that it’s worth it and I can trust a good God, and that it’s about faith.

    1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

      Daveen, your big, bold “by faith” move is not without sacrifice.  May your trust in Him be strong and sweet.  And may you experience Him as Your Comforter in new ways in this season!

      1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

        P.S. I love your photo!  🙂

        1. Daveen Wilson November 27, 2015

          Thanks – and sorry about size of photo – thought it was going to be an avatar! And no idea what to do about it.

          1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

            Well, it’s lovely!

  3. Jennifer November 27, 2015

    Comfort zones… where we are comfortable… are in lots of ways not something I have seen much of in the last couple of years. I know more of stretching and challenge and being drawn into things outside of what I considered part of who I was or how I saw myself, or even perhaps more significantly how other people looked at us. One thing that can make life more “comfortable” at times can also be doing things which fit into the box other people can put us into as well, but when it is not how God sees us, what God wants us to do, then the comfort is a very transient thing. I have made that mistake at times in the last few years, and looked at myself more through the eyes of others than God’s eyes. Taking on in the process things which were not even really true in the first place. It wasn’t comfortable either, because on one level I knew it was wrong. My focus was also quite simply in the wrong place. I was focused at times far more on trying (and failing) to achieve peace and comfort on the outside, with others, focused on what was not right, on what was happening around me, rather than upon the God who is is control of it all, who is the person I should be focused upon, not just a little, but completely. A question I find myself confronted with a lot recently, is whether at a given moment, my eyes are on God or on the storm, which is raging around me? This is my challenge.

    1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

      Jennifer, you’ve hit on some key questions: Are my eyes on God or on the storm?  Am I focused on God or on others?  Do I believe what God says about me or what others say?  Good questions for us all to think through! May you experience His grace in the stretching and challenge.

  4. Spring November 27, 2015

    wow this post hit home for me.  What God has called me to do this year has been far from comfortable and I am actually not speaking about culture or moving.  It is such a comfort to know that as I obey, I am enlarged. He provides, I trust.

    1. Patty Stallings November 27, 2015

      It is such a comfort to know that as I obey, I am enlarged. He provides, I trust.

      Yes, yes, yes!  May your courage and obedience catalyze your trust in Him today, Spring!

  5. Anna November 27, 2015

    I like my comfort zone, too.  I think it’s changing through experiences, though.  I’ve grown and learned through the things that pushed out of my comfort zone.

    Thank you for mentioning the difference between comfort zone and limits.  I had trouble with that confusion for a long time, and I don’t think I could have articulated the difference in the things.  I think you gave me a tool to use now. 🙂

    1. Patty Stallings November 28, 2015

      Hey Anna, the subtle differences are often the most significant ones!  May you be blessed today in some amazing way by our amazing Father!

  6. Jenilee November 28, 2015

    Loved this sentence “Enlarge your tent, Sweetie, and watch in wonder what I will do.”

    1. Patty Stallings November 28, 2015

      Maybe that’s specifically meant for you, Jenilee!

    2. LW November 28, 2015

      I loved that sentence too! Reminds me of Isaiah 54:2

      1. Patty Stallings November 28, 2015

        Good catch on the reference, LW!   It might be interesting to do some reflecting on what it means to let the curtains be stretched out, cords lengthened, and stakes strengthened.  Blessings!

  7. Grace L November 28, 2015

    It’s interesting to think about “comfort zones”. I am finding that my comfort zone is where we live on the field. When we have to leave to travel in Asia or back to the US, that is when I leave my comfort zone, and I long to go back “home”. So it’s a different take on being in a comfort zone because it seems to be where God has planted us and helped us to be able to thrive.

    1. Patty Stallings November 28, 2015

      Hi Grace. Thriving in the place you are called is wonderful! Sounds like you are learning the secret of contentment. Blessings!

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