Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiritual Comfort Zone

Everyone has a comfort zone. It's a place where you feel comfortable and secure. You never feel weird about being in it, but sometimes you wonder what it would be like the break out of it and try something new.

Well, today I did just that. With Dan being out of town for a flying competition, I was unsure about whether I wanted to go to church or not. Sure, I feel comfortable there, but I was pretty certain that at least 80% of my comfort came from having my sweet fiancé there by my side, holding my hand. Instead of being the Janelle of 2012, however, I decided to give it a try. After all, what could it hurt?

Boy, oh boy, did it feel good to break out of that comfort zone and grow some wings! As I sat down alone, I thought to myself, "What am I doing? Why am I here?" But as soon as the worship band started playing, I stood up to sing along, and it felt like I was meant to be there. (Back story: this is the first church I have ever felt comfortable in -- ever). After three songs and saying hello and good morning to some people, I sat down and waited for the sermon to begin.

Now, Dan and I have been going to this church sporadically for the last two and a half years. We have been consistent so far in 2013, not missing a Sunday (well, he missed today because he's away). I know the two pastors that alternate, and I spoke with each of them this morning as I entered. The person who walked up to the front to speak, though, was not either of them. "Oh no," I thought. "I hate change." I did recognize the man as the youth pastor at the church, and while I was skeptical about it, I opened my heart to something new. After all, this experience was all about breaking out of my comfort zone and achieving my 2013 goal of "being fearless".

When he started talking, it seemed as if he was speaking straight to me. He talked about video games and getting rid of the old to bring in the new. He then started speaking about things that get in the way of us talking to God. Since I'm new to all of this, I listened intently. He gave sleep as an example, stating that sometimes he would rather press snooze and sleep in than get up early to read the Bible. I can relate to that, as I love sleep. He picked up a large piece of glass and placed it on an easel. He then gave the offering for anyone who wanted to share what stood in the way of them spending time with God to come up and write it with a crayon made for writing on glass (which were super cool, by the way, but that's another story).

I sat there and watched people walk up to the front. Not everyone was getting up, so I thought, "Well, I can just watch. I don't need to go." But then something inside of me said, "Janelle, you are here on your own already because you can do this. Get your butt up there and write what you're feeling." I stood up, surprising myself, and walked to the front of the room. I grabbed a yellow glass crayon and wrote one word: "FEAR". I looked at other words and phrases that were printed on the glass. They said things like "technology", "Facebook", "school", "business", "work", "doubt", and one other said "fear". I felt good knowing that someone else in that room of only 25 or so people had the same answer as I did.

I went back to my seat, proud of myself for once again breaking out of my comfort zone. I was hoping to get a picture of the giant piece of glass covered with words. What happened next, though, made me jump, as I was not prepared for it. The pastor grabbed a hammer and smashed the piece of glass so hard that it broke into several small pieces all over the floor. My heart was racing because it was unexpected. Then, he explained how God was taking all of our sins and things that get in the way and breaking them up so that we can get rid of the old and start fresh with the new. Throughout the entire sermon, I felt as if it was meant for me, as I am on a spiritual journey.

The pastor also quoted a verse that has been sticking out to me all week. It is possibly my favorite verse in the entire Bible, and as soon as he said what it was, I felt a jolt of energy rush through me. It may just be a coincidence, but I like to think it was God speaking straight to my heart. The verse is Hebrews 12:1, and it says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." I may have a special place for that verse because I was a runner for so long and attempt to continue to be one still, but I also think it applies to life, in everything that we do. It stuck out to me, and it made me want to share my experience this morning, the one in which I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned a lot.

Next Sunday, one week from today, Dan and I are joining this church. It is another new experience for me, as I have never belonged to one before. I am nervous, but more-so I am excited. I know that this is something we need to do together, and it feels GOOD. 

Have a great week, everyone! 


  1. Really beautiful post -- what an amazing experience.

  2. Thank you. It was a really great experience to have today. :)

  3. Wonderful post! Thanks for visiting my blog, and I am glad we are connected now.
    My husband is a West Point graduate, my brother-in-law is a Naval Academy graduate, and my cousin is an Air Force Academy graduate!
    Again, this is a wonderful post! I am so glad that you went, opened your heart, and that the experience spoke to you.
    ~ Tia

    1. I'm sorry that I'm just now seeing this comment and replying to it, but thank you so much. It was a wonderful experience, and I'm thankful to have had it. That's also awesome that you ave so many connections to service academies! I hadn't even HEARD of them until Dan go in to the Air Force Academy... oops! I'm looking forward to getting to know you through blogging! :)