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The Christian Life

Leaving Your Comfort Zone – Learning How To Thrive On Challenges

By Carol Harrison

How do you feel about accepting a challenge? Carol encourages us to step outside of our comfort zone and be adventurous with God’s help.

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Trying Something New

Comfort zoneChallenges are part of the puzzle pieces of our lives. We all experience challenges of many different types – some because we choose to try something new and maybe even exciting. At other times a challenge is given to us by someone else. Then we must decide whether we will accept it or walk away. Have you ever been challenged by another person to try something new?

How adventuresome are you? Do you thrive on these challenges either ones which you thought of or someone else hands to you? Do you love the thrill of learning something new? Are you always on the lookout for new information, new ideas and new experiences or do you attempt to stay with what you know and attempt to thrive only in your comfort zone?

If I am honest I have to admit there are times I would rather hide out in that comfort zone even when it becomes a little stale and dated. Yet recently I accepted a challenge from my grandson, Nathaniel, to try and write fiction. He tells me he never realized the impact his words would have nor where they would take me. In many ways, the conversation from his point of view was simply that a conversation and question for me to think of rather than truly a challenge gauntlet thrown.

I remember that time vividly. His statement, “Grandma you should try writing fiction.”

My response, “I don’t write fiction. I write non-fiction – true stories – family stories some of which end up published.”

The conversation continued for several more minutes with neither of us changing our point of view. I tried to convince him I would not have any idea how to begin a piece of fiction, even though I love to read it.

He suggested I simply take a bit of family history where all we know is one little tidbit to entice us and let my imagination figure out what might have happened around that true story. Then he added, “Grandma there is no such thing as can’t. You just need to try.”  He believed I could write anything if I only tried. He challenged and I thought about it.

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

comfort zone

Oh, how words of advice we’ve given our children, grandchildren or friends can come back to haunt us and yes even challenge us. I knew I had a choice after that conversation with a very wise 17-year-old young fellow. I could ignore it and continue in my comfortable space or I could try moving beyond the known.

A year passed and Nathaniel asked me if I had tried writing fiction. My answer had to be truthful and I shook my head as a no escaped my lips. He encouraged me to try. When we left their home at the beginning of January, my husband echoed our grandson’s challenge and added a bit more of his own. He told me he that for his birthday in the middle of February, he really wanted one chapter of a fiction book. It did not have to be a polished chapter but it needed to be written.

For a moment I felt like the family was ganging up on me, challenging me too much and yet I thought about it – seriously thought about it and an idea began to form in my mind.

I delved, with much trepidation, into attempting to write a piece of fiction to give my husband for his birthday. I accepted the challenge and stepped outside my comfort zone.

It meant reading some of my favourite authors more carefully. What made them readable? Why do I like them? What has the author done to capture and hold my attention?

It meant I needed to learn more about writing skills and then practice them. Yet I also needed to discover my style and what it will take to hold the reader’s attention. I also need to be willing to have help with editing to make it the best possible piece of writing I know how to do. The more I learn, the more I observe, the more I am willing to take the advice of more experienced writers, the better my writing will become.

I did complete more than one chapter in time for my husband’s birthday that year but it remains unfinished. There is still work to do on it. Other life events and challenges interrupted the writing. Other short pieces with deadlines I wanted to meet put the harder fiction writing on hold. But I needed to return and take up the challenge. I wrote a short – very short piece of fiction that was accepted into an anthology, Christmas Stories and More published in September 2017 by Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship and my grandson was very proud that I had accepted his challenge.

Accepting A Challenge

Comfort zoneIt may not be easy to accept a challenge. I found it intimidating, frustrating at times and yet I kept going. I am still working on this particular challenge and maybe someday I will have the full-length fiction book completed.

What challenges are you experiencing in your life because you chose to accept and try something new and maybe very difficult for you? Do you have someone, or maybe even more than one person who is your encourager, your cheerleader?

I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, try something new or pick up a project you have put on hold. Be adventurous and learn new skills, but don’t just learn them for the sake of learning them. Put them into practice. You never know what might happen. You may find yourself expanding that comfort zone, thriving on the challenge and feel a huge sense of accomplishment.

Be brave. Try something new. You can do it, with God’s help and the encouragement of a friend.

 

Carol Harrision

Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.

Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.  Visit her website carolscorner.ca

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