I remember the first time I ever called My husband,

We were in high school and I had a major crush, I was so shy, apparently he liked me but he couldn’t tell I liked him (I wonder why)

So anyways we didn’t end up dating then but I always knew I wanted to marry him, and of course we did end up getting married and I’m very blessed to be his wife…

But that call…

He messaged me once on MySpace and gave me his number, and I sat there in my room for about an hour trying to work up the nerve to call him, I needed to do it….

But for me this wasn’t easy at all I didn’t know what to say, what were we gonna talk about? he probably just thinks I’m weird, why would he want to talk to me? he probably doesn’t even like me, I’m gonna ruin it, but I have to call, because I really like him…

How!?

I was so scared…

I wasn’t the type to call up my friends for advise, or ask my mom, or even my sisters, I didn’t want anyone to know I liked him this much and I didn’t know what to do…

This song kind of became my song, because, of all the things that helped me work up the nerve it was this song….

I hope you dance,

I had to replay it about 10 times before I decided to call.

I wasted about an hour in worry, but it happened I talked to the love of my life..

But this is not a post about our love story this is a post about comfort zones, and EXIT-ing them, because we all know that there is so much more behind that door that we fear to open ,about finding strength and courage when you feel like you don’t know how or why or what, this is a study I did a few years back and I hope that maybe you could gain something from it:

Let’s start with courage, What is this word anyways and what does it really even mean?

Courage is the quality of mind that enables a person to face the uncomfortable feelings, difficulty, danger, pain, or maybe even love, without fear…bravery

We can find many bible stories in both the Old and New Testament with stories of acts of courage! Courage was not a lacking quality in our bible hero’s, those who set an example for us to see that when you take your faith and trust in God and mix it with some courage, and remove the fear of man that stops you from action…you have yourself an unstoppable man or woman of God!

Now quite the contrary, you can’t help but relate this to that little place we all hold within us called our comfort zone,

How many of us actually really like it there?

I think if we were all actually honest with ourselves we wouldn’t even call it comfortable, I think we would call it the place where we settle, because we are too afraid of change, and a possible uncomfortable situation that might come when we exit. That exit door labeled: courage.

Now let’s take a look a Jesus and His use of courage in teaching others, and this may actually surprise you…

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well. Matthew 9:22

And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here. ” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” Mark 10:49

“Take courage”

…the healing stories of Jesus, most of us focus on the fact that these people had such great faith that they were made well by Jesus, but what I notice is what Jesus tells these newly healed people

“take courage”

Now Why do you think take courage is the first thing Jesus told these people who were healed? …I wonder if it was maybe because they were entering a place that was suddenly new to them, a paralytic walking, a sick woman made well, a blind man seeing. Sure, this was a happy time for them but it had to be scary too the person they thought they were had suddenly been changed by their faith yes, their choice, yes, but changed and now that they were a new person, they were about to face new challenges, I’m sure new obstacles and they had a responsibility to take courage, as they entered this new life,

this obviously better new life.

To take courage, not be afraid of the things ahead of them, to move forward with an understanding that Jesus saved me I have a new life and an opportunity now so take courage!

I kind of know what that feels like, being defined a certain way for so many years of your life, I always thought I forever would be a “shy” person. My negative self talk was loud, and I let the fear of what I assumed others might think of me controlled my own voice! Physically I was not sick but mentally there were days that it would eat me up inside.

But what if it doesn’t work, what if people don’t like what I have to say, what if people make fun of me, what if they think I’m weird or don’t like me…those were always my worst fears…

I do believe we all, as humans desire to be approved of, to be accepted, to be liked and loved, and there are very few people who surround us who probably know us for who we really are!

But God knows you…

He actually knows exactly who you are, who you are meant to be, and everything you are capable of becoming.

He sent no better example than His very own son, to lead you through this life, and fulfill every desire of your self and more than I think you or I can fathom. But to get there it, takes courage,

It’s quite scary to open the door that so few will go through, it’s scary to go against the grain, separate your self from what you have known, and or been, or have been surrounded by for your entire life.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Revelation 3:20-21

The path where very few will go has always been narrow because not many are willing to trust and obey, we want to pretend to be “Christian” for the likable benefits of Christianity, but when we become possibly “unlikeable” or things get a little tough, scary, or just maybe out of our comfort zone, we exit that door as quickly as we can, and let me tell you I don’t want to hear these words one day…

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM M E, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.””

Luke 13:24-30

We fear God the way we want but not the way He would have us to, because the way He would have us to, pushes us beyond our personal safety nets and boundaries, outside of our comfort zones, and humbles us to where we must fully depend on God for Love and support and let me tell you he won’t let go of you there! But it requires courage, because surrounding us we don’t have many that will hold our hands through what we are about to enter. The spiritual battle grounds are rough, we have an attacker the devil who is the biggest liar on the planet, all those comments you tell your self about how you will never be good enough, they don’t come from a good place, pretty much anything he can think to twist he will, which has led this world into such a dark place of pain and sorrow which we have gotten quite good at masking as a society.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH

Ephesians 6:10-14

Now how about taking courage with Truth?

Preparing yourself with truth to step out of your comfort zone, pulling up your comfortable tunic preparing to step into battle, stepping into battle with Gods word, with truth. With every piece of His word. His truth!

What do you think would happen if they went into battle without girding up their loins? They would most likely trip and fall because they were not prepared.

But what if it doesn’t work, what if people don’t like what I have to say, what if people make fun of me, what if they think I’m weird or don’t like me…

well let’s see what what happened to Paul and Timothy

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.”

Philippians 1:12-14

Well It looks like people didn’t like what they had to say….Sending them to prison!….oh but what about those that did though?

so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.”

Philippians 1:14

When we are working for the Lord to better our lives for him, to grow closer to Him, to know Him and to understand His word, and to have a hope of eternal life with Him we must understand that in order to have growth we need to have challenges. Whether we challenge ourselves out of our comfort zone or we are challenged by someone else out of our comfort zone to practice Gods word it is important to take that courage. Not to be scared, but to understand that God will work through you as you face every challenge as long as you follow Him.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.””

John 16:33

Follow the lead of Jesus who has overcome the world!

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

Psalms 27:14

Be strong and let you heart take courage…. it takes the strength with in us to act courageously, with all of the verses found within the Bible we can find many verses about courage that first say be strong, clearly courage is something that takes strength…

I want to go back to Ephesians 6

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

Ephesians 6:10

The very first verse tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:10-17

He gives us all the tools but the first thing He asks is that we be strong in Him…

Strength Is built up, strength gets stronger through exercise, but first strength takes commitment. To be strong means to first have the strength to start, and then continue.

True strength can only comes from God. So I will conclude with these verses

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.””

Joshua 1:8-9 NASB

What an encouraging verse!

Encourage to infuse courage into our souls!

“Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

2 Corinthians 5:5-10

My friend if you have made it to the end of my long blog post I thank dearly for reading! My goal is to help and I pray that it may help someone somewhere, I’m very thankful for the internet and the ability to share Gods word and my thoughts. If you have read this and don’t own a bible I would love to help, if you have read this and own a bible but not sure where to go from here I would also love to help. Please do let me know… I know from experience, because I still have a difficult time asking for help, which is why this was so important to me because taking courage may also mean to ask for help..Or if you have read this and have been encouraged, I pray that you would continue on, strong and courageous!

Thank you as always,

Beverly

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