Comfort Zones are Overrated

I would be ignoring a large part of how God has been growing me and prepping me for New Zealand if I did not talk about my time working for Gordon College's Adventure Camp. It's a side of the La Vida program I had never worked with before, but on a whim back in January I felt like I should see if any jobs were available for the summer. Little did I realize that I would be hired as an assistant director for the camp!

The theme for camp this summer was "comfort zones are overrated," and it quickly became a catchphrase applicable to all aspects of life. Especially in the beginning of the summer, it felt like every day I was doing things that were outside of my comfort zone, like driving huge trucks and buses around, sometimes with a trailer full of canoes being pulled behind it. Or leading talks during training week about camp things I had never actually experienced, like what to do on a rainy day. Or figuring out how to gain the respect from my staff, especially those who were returning counselors or my age or older. I knew they had so much to offer in teaching me about the camp, so I struggled initially in knowing how to be confident despite my newness to the program, and how to step up as a leader. But despite waves of feeling inadequate or insecure in my capabilities, my staff and boss gave me so much grace and trust; grace for when I messed up or made mistakes, and trust in continuing to give me responsibility and the space to grow as a leader, not just giving me easy things to do that I was comfortable with.

That's where the theme for this summer really came into play. It certainly was not in my comfort zone to climb a 20 foot ladder to set up an element, or to try and get the attention of thirty odd staff members who are all talking at once. But being uncomfortable was never a valid excuse not to try something. If my staff and I wanted to actually teach this theme of going outside of comfort zones to our campers, the best way we could teach that was by demonstrating it, and living it out. That's why outside of camp hours I tried to join my adrenaline-loving staff in their cliff-jumping or climbing adventures. A safe life isn't going to grow you as a person, and definitely not going to grow your faith. And I realized how much trust is essential to that growth. I had to trust those I went cliff jumping with that they would help me out of the water back onto the rock, and I had to trust my ladder holder whenever I climbed that 20 foot ladder, or trust my boss that he wouldn't give me a task I couldn't handle. And when those things became too comfortable I tried to continue to push myself, and tried on the role of counselor for one week. It was hard; harder than I expected. But without that final challenge I would have missed out on many more valuable lessons of learning and growth.

It wasn't an easy summer. Far from it. But I learned so, so much, and gained so much confidence in myself, my identity and in my leadership potential. I know I have much to offer people, but also a lot I still need to work on. I'm not afraid of those challenges though, both known and unknown. Because who would want to live a safe, comfortable life anyways?

Come, let's adventure together. Let's do something radical, something spontaneous, something you would have never thought you'd ever do, like ride donuts in a parking lot or climb up on rooftops or tackle each other on the beach in a game of "duck, duck, abuse."* And once we do that, let's do something crazy and radical for Christ, like be abnormally generous, or unorthodox in our forgiveness and compassion, or listen to friends without passing on judgment. Let's pray big, for not only ourselves and our close friends, but for whole communities of people, or for our enemies. Because that, my friend, is a life worth leading. Or as some would say, a life worth following.

*(like duck duck goose, but lots more tackling)


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