Trusting God to Bust Me Out of My Comfort Zone Even When I’m Scared

I have this cat, Peanut. And she’s really sweet and affectionate and gentle with children. But she is also just about the most annoying thing on the planet.

She talks a lot, but that’s not really the problem. In a house full of big talkers, I can hardly complain about that. (And just so you know, I’m not a completely crazy cat lady. My cat does not, in fact, talk like a human. But she sure chatters and squeaks and meows … pretty much every minute she’s awake.)

The thing that drives me up the wall about Peanut is that she is stubborn. Or lazy. Or both—I’m not really sure where the issue stems from, and I don’t have time for kitty therapy. All I know is that when I try to make her move —off my spot on the couch, off the dining room chairs at dinner time, off my leg when I’m trying to sleep at night—she refuses.

I know! She’s a cat! How can she refuse to do what I tell her? [Yes, friends, this is indeed sarcasm, because even cat lovers know that the feline species pretty much does whatever it wants to do, end of story, amen.]

I might not be crazy, but I do really like cats—especially my own. So when I want Peanut to move, I’m gentle. I nudge her with my foot or pat her nicely on the back. When she won’t even deign to open more than one eye at my request, however, I move onto more urgent communication.

Still, nothing moves that cat. In fact, when I attempt to do so, she often raises her head and yells at me. “MROWWWW!” she shouts, indignantly, as if I’m severely inconveniencing her by WANTING TO SIT ON MY OWN COUCH.

Obviously I’m the human and she’s the cat, and eventually she’s forced to move. But she makes sure—every single time—to let me know how Very Unhappy she is about it.

It’s annoying. And … it’s a lot how I behave when God asks me to move.

Get up early to read my Bible?
But, God, it’s just so hard!

Reach out to that person who makes me feel uncomfortable?
But God! It’s so awkward! And I don’t like being awkward!

Apply for that job? Quit that job? Start that project? Move to that city? Stay here?
But, but, but … GOD! Do I HAVE to? It’s so HARD!

Try this new thing? Go to a new place? Talk to a new person?
Oh, I don’t know. I like how things are now. It’s comfy here, easy even. No, thanks …

It doesn’t really matter what God asks of me. From small changes to big risks, my first instinct is to dig my claws into the couch and stay put, so to speak. Change is hard, and my comfort zone is soft and safe. So when He asks me to follow, my immediate response isn’t always one of obedience.

Nope, I can be as stubborn—and, let’s be honest, as lazy—as my cat.

Of course this metaphor only goes so far. Because right now God is asking me to move, sure, but He’s also asking me to stay put in some situations—situations where I’d much rather run, move, change, go. See, our comfort zone isn’t always defined by a lack of movement. Sometimes it’s the other way around.

But no matter what feels safest to me in any given situation, my calling—to follow Him, to trust Him, to obey Him—is more important than my comfort.

And so when God begins nudging me, gently because He loves me, I do my best to keep my scaredy-cat instincts in check. But I also tell Him how I feel. I’m pretty sure He can handle it. So those conversations are [slowly] starting to look a little different:

Get up early to read my Bible?
Oh, man, that’s hard. But … OK. I’ll set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Help me find the energy to get up when it goes off?

Reach out to that person who makes me feel uncomfortable?
Her? The one I had that awkward conversation with? Um … all right … I’ll start with an email … today.

Apply for that job? Quit that job? Start that project? Move to that city? Stay here?
Wow. Really? REALLY? OK. I trust you. Help me trust you …

Try this new thing? Go to a new place? Talk to a new person?
Whew, I don’t know. I was just settling in here. What’s my first step? Will you help me?

I’m trying to listen right away and move—or stay—the way He’s asking. It’s not easy, and sometimes I still act like my grumpy, stubborn cat. But hopefully this way I can move WITH God … instead of making Him resort to pushing me off my proverbial couch. (After all, I might have something in common with my cat, but I’m not sure about always landing on my feet!)

Have you ever struggled to respond to God’s nudging? Do you have a hard time leaving your comfort zone when God calls?

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Mary Carver
Mary Carver is a recovering perfectionist, wife, and mom of two daughters who blogs about family, faith, food, books, and sometimes her favorite TV shows at her blog, Giving Up on Perfect. For more Mary, you can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.