by R.A. Weigel, Ed.D, CCC, CLPC, and President of CCNI
It truly is exciting to consider how each of us was designed by God so uniquely. Within each of us lies some dreams and hopes that defy imagination and I believe God designed his people that way in order to do incredible things for his glory. Yet, there are no such things as risk-free faith, risk-free dreams, and risk-free vision. You’ll never experience great successes for God’s glory without risking failure. At some point in time, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone in order to realize a godly vision for your future.
Faith is often a record of the risks you took to realize a godly vision.
A favorite exercise that I’ve done with groups over the years is called ‘Zones of Comfort.’ I’ll draw three large concentric circles on the floor and ask everyone to stand outside the circles. I explain that the outer circle is their ‘comfort zone,’ the middle circle is their ‘risk zone,’ and the center circle is their ‘danger zone.’ Then I present different scenarios and ask the group to move to the circle that best describes how they feel about that scenario. For example, I’ll say, “singing at church,” and nearly everyone steps into their ‘comfort zone.’ Then I’ll say, “singing in front of the congregation,” and suddenly several people move out of their ‘comfort zone’ into their ‘risk zone.’ Finally, I’ll say, “singing at a church in front of over 1,000 people.” Now… nearly everyone has moved into their ‘danger zone’ with just a few who moved from their ‘comfort zone’ to their ‘risk zone’… but nobody is still in their ‘comfort zone.’
This can also be referred to as “The 2% Mindset.” It refers to the reality that less than 2% of people are willing to step out of their comfort zone, take a risk, chase their dreams, embrace the unknown, and act in spite of their fear. When I do the comfort zone exercise, I always tell the group, “…there is no growth in your comfort zone. Personal growth only happens when you’re in your risk zone, when you’re stretched, you’re willing to explore, and you act in spite of your fears.”
The cure for the fear of failure isn’t success. The cure for the fear of failure is failure in small enough doses that we build up an immunity to it. ~ Mark Batterson
Any godly vision worth pursuing will demand some risk, some stretch, and an embracing of the unknown. You have to leave behind that which is familiar and jump into the circle of the unfamiliar. And when you’re in your risk zone there is no guarantee of success, but there IS a guarantee of personal growth. Many times, that personal growth is just the catalyst you need to get you to pray more, build greater trust in God, and provide another platform for your next step along the journey of making your personal vision become a reality.
As you travel the journey of your personal vision, you’ll be moving away from the comfortable roads with established rules, sustainable speeds, and clear signs, to another type of road where the rules are not always clear, the speed is varied, and the signs along the path are often few or far between. Yet, traveling off-road is where the great rewards of life abound. Traveling off-road is the adventure where the Lord will light your path. (Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.)
Think about all the great men and women of the Bible who stepped away from the road of normalcy and took a risk in order to bring their godly vision to reality. Do you really think Noah, Moses, Ruth, Esther, Joshua, or Paul thought that the road ahead was going to be without risk? You certainly won’t find any Bible stories about people who had a godly purpose to maintain the status quo. As a matter of fact, didn’t Jesus confront a few people who wanted to maintain their comfort zone?
Vision Without Action is Merely a Dream – Action Without Vision Passes the Time – Vision With Action Can Change the World. ~ Joel Arthur Barker
When I was a teenager in the ’60s, there was a quarry where we would go swimming. At one edge of that quarry, there was a zip line that hovered high over the rocks and dropped steeply down to the water. From every angle, it was scary, but even scarier when you climbed the platform, saw how far below the water was, and realized you’d have to hold onto the handle and let go at the perfect time in order to hit the water. It’s a location that can’t be done today due to how dangerous it really was. But I also remember taking that leap of faith, the exhilaration of facing the danger, and the thrill of jumping down into the water. Sometimes there is no middle ground. You either do it – or you don’t. A godly vision is like that. It can be scary but when you’re ready to trust God and take that risk, there’s no turning back, and the ride will be one you’ll remember all your life.
Whenever I have the privilege of working with someone on their vision, I often remind them that what they want for their future is not something that they could do today. A godly vision for the future always requires stepping out of your comfort zone, taking a risk, and trusting God.
A godly vision shouldn’t put you in harm’s way, but it will require risk. The Bible says that you should count the cost before you begin to build the house – or follow a godly vision. (Luke 14:28-33) Yet, once you’re persuaded to take your leap of faith and begin your vision journey, you’ll find the road becoming more and more exciting. After all, God wants you to do great things throughout your life. He wants you to trust him, step up, take a risk, and move toward that vision he’s been inspiriting in you. A godly vision always has some risk involved but it’s also an exciting adventure of faith and trust.