The need for a comfort zone …

The title of this blog may surprise you, since I’ve often spoken and written about the negative aspect of our clinging to our comfort zones.

But that’s the key — clinging to them.

Insisting on wallowing in our comfort zones has a debilitating affect on our lives. Oswald Chambers once wrote, “God, who made the birds, never made bird cages. It’s men who made bird cages and after a while we become cramped and can do nothing but chirp and stand on one leg.”

The fact is, though, we all need a “comfort zone,” a place to retreat where we can rest ourselves in quiet and peace, or pursue recreation and refreshment from the daily bombardments of life’s troubles and trials.

Like today, a Saturday morning, which will find many of my readers sleeping in later than they do during the week, spending much of their morning lingering in their PJ’s over cups of coffee and getting a much slower start to their day.

In spite of the chores and errands to run, some will also go for a workout or run, have brunch with a friend, or meander through the mall and decide to catch a movie at the theater. Others will get lost in a novel or wear out themselves and their DVD player with a video marathon of their favorite movie series with friends. And still others will make sure to catch their favorite sports events, get outdoors for some fun in the sun, or spend long hours lingering in the Word and prayer.

We need times when we can move away from our work to play, pray, and rest.

But comfort zones are places to refresh and renew ourselves in order to get back into the daily rhythms of service in God’s kingdom. Kent Crockett noted insightfully how God helps to motivate us to regularly move back outside of our comfort zones …

“God places many of his blessings outside of our comfort zones, then asks us to come get them.”

So don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty about getting some rest, having some fun, and making time on a regular basis to renew and refresh yourself. Jesus Himself had the habit of withdrawing from the crowds to pray and rest.

Let’s add in a BUT here … two of them, as a matter of fact. Don’t forget to use some of your time for refreshing for re-energizing spiritually. Extended time for prayer and lingering long in the Word of God is as essential as rest, exercise, and recreation. And don’t use your need for rest and recreation as an excuse to over-indulge in these things and neglect your responsibility and opportunity to serve well in God’s kingdom.

A final word is directed to CHURCH LEADERS … don’t think that every moment of “free time” that people in your congregation have is supposed to be soaked up in commitments to church programs. Just as you need time off from your ministry work, the people you lead need time off as well. Keep this in mind BEFORE pushing people to make commitments to activities, programs, and events.

With that said, enjoy your weekend!