Today as I was puttering around on Facebook, I saw an illustration. There was a small circle with the words 'your comfort zone' inside it. Near it was a much larger circle that said 'where the magic happens'. These two circles did not overlap. It was meant to be an illustration about why we should challenge ourselves—because if we never leave our comfort zone we will never make it to where the magic happens.
Most of us like to stay inside our comfort zones. We don't all have the same comfort zone, but whatever it is, we rarely stray from it. We don't like to do things that scare us. We are afraid to test the unknown. But when we cross that line, when we take a chance, sometimes magic happens.
When I talk about the importance of taking risks, most people think I mean little things—try a dish you've never had before, take a class on a subject that's unfamiliar to you, introduce yourself to the people around you even if you're shy, give $5 to a worthy cause even if your budget is tight. And in part, that is what I mean. These little risks are worthwhile. But please don't stop there. Do something big from time to time. Something that terrifies you. Something that's just too hard.
Trust someone with your deepest most vulnerable secrets, even if you're afraid they might let you down or break your heart. Spend time and money you aren't 100% sure you can afford to give. Stand up against injustice even if you seem to be the only one speaking. Go see something you've never seen before and share that experience with the people around you. Invite people into your life instead of shutting them out. Tell the truth when a lie would be easier and safer (and a cop-out). Learn new things. Struggle with your convictions and tangle with ideas you cannot fully comprehend. Fight on the losing side. Embrace joy. Stop being embarrassed about what others think. Live abundantly, and share that life with others. Watch, listen, and pray—and then act.
We feel like plain old regular people, and we are. But we can also be extraordinary. We can do anything through God. We can perform miracles, save lives, change the world. But not if we are too afraid to try. We were not put in this world to be safe. We are here to live and to learn about joy and pain and the nature of God. We are here to earnestly seek that which we cannot imagine, to journey towards a heaven we cannot see. We are here to serve a God who is invisible and yet present in everything we see and inside our very hearts. We are here to be more than mere humans—we are to be children of God.
It's tempting to focus too much on probability. If we don't think something is likely to work, we don't even want to try it. And yet when were odds ever a problem for God? What was the chance that a carpenter and a bunch of fisherman could spearhead a religious movement that would be one of the largest in the world 2,000 years later? Probably pretty small. Plus, there was absolutely zero chance that Jesus could successfully walk on water or feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, and yet... Earthly rules don't always have to apply.
We are so afraid to trust each other, to give what we aren't sure we can spare, to open ourselves up to rejection, to risk rejection or pain or even death. Even when the reward could be so amazing: saving a life, discovering joy, changing the world, seeing God in the world around us. Most of us will take these crazy risks when we feel we have no other choice, but what about before then? What about now while we're safely sitting on our couches surfing the web on our laptops? What will we do today, when we could easily choose to do nothing? Will we tempt fate? Will we fight the odds? Will we trust God and each other?
Do it. I want to see your face when the magic happens.