[Oh goodness, I'm averaging one post a month now... yikes! Must blog on!]
A few Sundays ago, I caught Bo Sanchez in a telecast of the Kerygma Feast (see www.kerygmafamily.com for more details on the Feast) in which he was preaching about how we all live in either of two "zones" -- the Comfort Zone or the Courage Zone. He explained that it is only in the Courage Zone that we can achieve all our successes in life... that in order to reach our dreams and goals, we need to take a step outside our Comfort Zone (i.e. take some risks!) and move into our Courage Zone. However, he warned that we should also never step too far out, thereby leaving our Core Zone -- which is defined by our core gifts, talents, skills, knowledge and inherent characteristics.
Here is the full article which he wrote (and based his preaching on): "Everything You Want Is Found In Your Courage Zone" (I recommend you take the time to read this later -- it's quite lengthy, but it's really inspiring and makes a whole loooot of sense!).
* * * * *
Hearing Bo's talk got me thinking and reflecting on which zone I am currently in, specifically with regard to my ministry life.
In light of mission or ministry work, one's first instinct is to think that "stepping out into your Courage Zone" necessarily entails going off to a far away, distant (or even dangerous) place -- such as a very poor area of some remote province; or to the mountains (where the indigenous tribes live); or even to other countries experiencing extreme poverty or war. Or it means leaving all your material comforts to go live with the poorest of the poor.
Of course, there are some people who are called to actually do this kind of missionary work. And I will always admire those who take on this challenge and persevere in their missions. However, we are all called in different ways -- and geography or distance should never be a measure by which to judge anyone's (especially your own) "Courage Zone."
* * * * *
At first glance, one might say that I've somewhat settled into a Comfort Zone -- considering that I live, work, and serve (in ministry) all within twenty minutes of each other! The furthest I regularly travel to once or twice a week is to Tagaytay, where I study and also do a bit of volunteer work. Admittedly, it's all very convenient, logistically. There are days when I do ask myself if I've indeed stopped "pushing" myself to get out into this so-called Courage Zone, which I know God constantly calls all of us to do. However, as I reflect on where God has led me over the past two years and a half, I can definitely say that He has pulled me quite far out of my Comfort Zone!
It was certainly never in my life plan to work at a school or for that matter, go back to school myself (to study)... but this is where I found myself after deciding to leave my job at the top of 2009.
And after two academic schoolyears, I am still struggling to get a good "foot hold" at my school job (five-minute walk away from home!) -- trying to figure out how to do my work best, how to reach out to the kids in the flock that God has put under my care. Everyday is a day in the Courage Zone -- a challenge to be more creative, more engaged, more attuned, more involved with these children.
Likewise, in my ministry work with the hearing-impaired (this is the one that's twenty minutes away!), God continuously calls me to new things, to come up with fresh, exciting activities for the kids.
with the students of the Joseph Gualandi School for Hearing-Impaired
As for studying again -- while it has been quite a challenge (you know, having to use my brain like this once more, haha!) -- my once a week classes have definitely been a great source of energy and joy (aside from knowledge and hopefully, wisdom!). Studying God's Word equips me in more ways than one, to face the challenges that the Courage Zone brings day after day.
* * * * *
Anyway, the point of this post is really just this -- we don't need to go very far to discover or explore our Courage Zones. We don't need to make drastic moves or go far away to say that we have "stepped out of our Comfort Zones."
Sometimes, it is literally just around the corner. Going out of your way to help a neighbor in need is already "stepping out." Giving up your precious time to serve in your parish is already "stepping out." Spending your weekends in outreach activities is already "stepping out." In fact, serving your own family in the very confines of your home is already "stepping out."
There are countless of ways of stepping out --- and they will differ for each one of us. Some will be called to do more, others less.
"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required;
and from the one to whom much has been entrusted,
even more will be demanded."
- Luke 12:48 (NRSV)
The important thing is, that we do TAKE A STEP -- big or small, it doesn't matter!
The important thing is, that we GIVE BACK -- because we all have been BLESSED, one way or another.
The important thing is, that we don't let our lives go by WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING -- that is, in service of Him and of others.
So, whatever your Comfort Zone is, get out of it!
And wherever your Courage Zone is, get to it!
Remember -- "STEPPING OUT" also means "STEPPING UP"!
p.s. - don't forget to read Bo's article, if you haven't yet!