What is Your Default?
Most of us have a comfort zone, that place where our life feels safe, in balance, in control. This is the place where we come to rest and feel most normal. Even in physics a comfort zone of sorts is referred to; as Newton observed, an object at rest stays at rest. We can be like that. We all have our go to’s. I like my spot on the couch; and I don’t like when I’m ready to kick back for the evening and someone is sitting there!
In life we have our go to’s as well. I’m talking about the things that go beyond a favorite pair of slippers or the meal we always order at our favorite restaurant. I’m speaking about the defaults we tend to in our life when we are faced with things like speaking in front of people, going on that missions trip, pursuing an education at night school, or making that financial investment. These are the things that require us to move out of what is comfortable to us and move into what we see as risk.
Interestingly, Newton’s first law of motion also states that the object remaining at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by a force. We are like this. Sometimes we need a little shaking in our lives, a force outside of us that will cause us frustration and discomfort and move us outside of the boundaries that define our comfort and into the great unknown.
That can be difficult; and unsettling.
I don’t think any of us enjoys being uncomfortable, but I think it is especially difficult to us as Americans. We’ve been programmed for immediacy in our wants and minimal discomfort in our daily doings. From appliances to medicine, from comfort foods to complaint lines. A message has been given to us – suffering is bad and comfort is king. Please understand, this is not a bash against modern conveniences and products that provide relief. This is simply an honest observation. And an honest question; could our great comforts be insidiously lulling us to sleep and keeping us from the great adventure God has planned for us?
If someone were to describe your default, what words would they use? Gutsy? A homebody? A risk-taker? Always playing it safe? Can that change? Can you become more than your default? I believe it can. I believe you can.
There were influences in my past, strong inclinations that influenced me to play it safe. And there was a reason for that. And there is a reason we default to certain behaviors. But we don’t have to stay there; I truly believe the words Paul used to encourage Christian believers – you are a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away, all things are new. I know this to be true. I’ve seen it in my life and in my family’s life.
Playing it safe brings regret.
My grandmother told me a story of how when she was growing up (during some very tough financial times), her mother offered to send her to nursing school. My grandmother had always wanted to be a nurse. But times were tough and she decided not to take the risk. She decided she would not incur any expense to her parents. Even though her mother said they could make it work, she didn’t want to risk the possible financial difficulty that this would cause. She later told me how she regretted this decision. You could hear it in her voice. “I could have been a nurse”. It would have changed the course of her life. She bore that regret for many years.
So what is your default? Do you stay still until God says move, or do you move until God says stay? One thing I can tell you is that nobody wants to bear regret in their lives. No one wants to look back on their years and say, “What if I had …” It is much safer to walk into the unknown than to stay in the safety of that which is familiar. Remember, when we jump into the unknown, we are jumping into the safety net of His ability and strength, not ours.