Are you staying in a comfort zone or self-inflicted prison?

I know how tempting it can be sometimes to create a safe haven. I did this. I stayed home most of the time, didn’t want to be around lots of people, and ate the same kinds of food. Even when I ventured out to a restaurant, I ordered the food I knew I would like instead of trying anything new. 

Every day, in an attempt to protect myself, my world continued to get smaller. And my anxiety intensified. In trying to protect myself, I created a prison filled with fear partly because I focused on the fear. I lived with a fear-based mindset and thought something terrible was always about to happen. 

While everything was fine then, I worried about what might happen. My doom-and-gloom thinking kept me stuck in a cycle of fear and pain. It was horrible to live with such fear.

I took three pills a day for anxiety, but instead of helping me, it seemed to get worse. And with every panic attack, I was convinced I was going to die. It was everything I could do to survive my days. 

Every day, a battle took place in my mind. My default reaction to every thought was the worst-case scenario. For example, if I had a headache, it was undoubtedly caused by a brain tumor instead of from all the stress I was inflicting upon myself. 

I experienced daily trauma, and yet none of it was true. 

I made myself sick, worrying about what might happen. Sweet friend, if you can relate to any of this, I want you to know that it is possible to overcome it. 

I feel like Satan targeted my mind. When I paused and listened to him, I gave him control over me. He knows the exact place to hit us that will inflict the most pain. And once he gets us in his clutches, he keeps attacking. 

Usually, it is one of the primary thoughts that causes our pain. So, if we can uncover that thought, we can work on it. We can ask God to reveal it to us if we are unsure what it is.

My anxiety-riddled thought was, “I’m not good enough.” As long as I believed that thought, I sought evidence to prove it. I focused more on my faults and failures than my gifts and strengths. 

I lived a very defeated life. I didn’t give myself anything positive to focus on. I constantly beat myself up and talked negatively to myself. It was like I lived up to the expectations I had of myself.

Everything changed when I started focusing on the things I could control and giving myself little victories throughout my day. I learned that we need to make progress each day. 

Exercise was a perfect way to step out of my comfort zone daily. It pushed me to the edge of what I could do and allowed me to push through. When I completed my workout, I felt good about myself. It was a beautiful feeling that no one gave me, but I earned it. 

I learned to focus on what I could do and celebrate those wins. I went through this when I couldn’t work and stayed home all the time. So, I started looking at my daily chores differently. At that time, I didn’t really enjoy cooking. I just went through the motions. But I decided to give it a little more effort, and seeing my family enjoy it was a beautiful reward. 

With every effort, I fought back against the enemy’s lies. I also learned how to work on getting out of my comfort zone. Exercise helped me push through my comfort and into discomfort. One of the first times my heart rate increased and my breathing labored, it mimicked a panic attack and scared me. But taking a break helped me calm down and see that I could survive beyond my limitations.

Do the thing that scares you: this might sound absurd, but it works, and it’s so powerful. 

When we start paying attention to the negative voice in our minds, not us but our enemy, we will see how he attacks our minds. He wants us to stay home and hide from others. If others can’t see us, they can’t see the light that shines beautifully in us. 

We can’t serve God fully in our comfort zone. We must be willing to follow the Lord wherever He wants us to go. In doing so, we will find the peace we desperately wish for. 

I’m so thankful I followed God out of my comfort zone and allowed Him to use me. Sometimes, it was tough, and I even cried about it. But I did it anyway, and God rewarded me with the joy, peace, and love that only comes from Him.

If you enjoyed this, please share it with someone else. 

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