On Comfort Zones and Thinking Out of the Box (Part Two)

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mick Turner

(continued from Part One)

God did not create you to rest on your laurels. Instead, he hardwired you to keep on moving – keep on growing. So beware of settling in for too long. “But wait a minute,” you might be saying. “We all need to rest. All work and no play makes for a dull boy.” Yes, that’s true. We do, indeed, need to take time off from time to time in order to rest, recuperate, and recharge our spiritual batteries. However, these periods of recuperation were never meant to be a career. No, we have to keep on moving.

Although our comfort zones serve a useful purpose by giving us at least some areas of life that are predictable, nurturing, familiar, and, to some extent, under our direct control, these patterns of habitual behavior, feelings, and thinking can also be a prison. What’s even more baffling about our prisons of comfort, they are all too obvious to those who know us and completely invisible to ourselves. Often, when a friend loves us enough to confront us on our inability to get outside our comfort zones, our response goes something like this:

“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. No way am I like that.”

The idea here is clearly obvious, our comfort zones not only imprison us; they also create “blind spots.” A blind spot is simply an aspect of our thinking, feeling, behaving, and/or relating that we don’t see. It is also important that we recognize that many of our blind spots related to our zones of comfort are associated with our thinking. Habitual, familiar, and especially treasured ways of thinking are among the most tightly held comfort zones that we have. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most debilitating.

We create our comfort zones and rigidly live within their confines. Any attempt to dislodge us from the walls of this comfort zone meets with great resistance. I know in my own life, the pattern depicted in this epic poem plays out in pretty much the same way. I first begin to feel a bit anxious. After this, a voice within me tells me that if I am to reach my goals I have to get back into the desert, even if it is unpleasant.

Sometimes, I heed the voice and get moving. At other times, I require a divine nudge to get me moving.

So, what is the answer to the dilemma of imprisoning thinking and resistance to out of the box thinking? What can, more than anything else, get us off the dime and into action? What kind of solution, short of a sandstorm of divine origin, can get us back into the game of life?

I am of the belief that the answer(s) to these questions involve a degree of personal specificity. In other words, these answers are individual. What gets one person moving might make another person dig in more deeply. What works for the goose may not work for the gander. With those ideas in mind, however, I believe that something else must take place before we can find the answer that applies to us. What each of us has to do is conduct:

A fearless, thorough, honest, and relentless search for truth.

 

Within the parameters of this search, we must thoroughly evaluate the answers we arrive at. On a personal level, I admit that such a search can be both intensive and confusing. Still, if we fail to do this, we end up pursuing one of two potential courses of action, neither of which are productive or personally satisfying. Unless we conduct our personal evaluation of the potential answers, we run the risk of:

Letting someone else decide what is true for us or we abandon the process of seeking answers entirely.

 

Unfortunately, each week church pews are packed with good, decent folks who have opted for either of these empty options. Perhaps this reality again points to the subtle but no less dangerous aspect of the heresy of doctrine. In Christianity, doctrine is to be accepted on faith and not questioned. It is to be swallowed whole, and never masticated. It is easy to see how this sort of thing can lead to a bad case of metaphysical indigestion. There is a solution, but it is going to require a good bit of work on your part.

At various places in my writings, I have mentioned the importance of clarifying one’s world view. The importance of understanding your world view cannot be overstated. By “understanding your world view” I mean basically two things: having a vital and practical insight into the role your world view has in your life; and second, getting down to the brass tacks of defining your world view.

Both of these aspects of your world view are equally important and cannot be ignored. The fact is, your world view is the matrix through which you perceive and explain the world you live in. Additionally, your world view informs your decision making process. Ideally, we make choices and decisions that are in harmony with our internalized values and those values generally flow from our world view, whether we know it or not.

With those things said, I have also stressed the importance of setting aside time on a regular basis in order to check up on your world view. Chances are, over the course of time our perspective might have changed on certain things. We need to take a look at those changes and see how they fit in with the overall schema through which we interpret our world.

I have come to the conclusion that few endeavors in the life of a Christian are as important as the process of “worldview development.” The fact is, many Christians have never given thought to the significance of one’s worldview and, of the few that have taken up the subject, most quickly put it aside in favor of more tangible and practical pursuits.

The reality is, however, there a few items in the life of a Christian that are more tangible and practical than the development and implementation of a biblical worldview. Granted, putting together a workable worldview involves dealing with intellectual abstractions, but even these cognitive pursuits have their base in every day living. For it is our worldview that gives our lives meaning, purpose, and direction. Further, it is our worldview that forms the basis for our decision making process. Few things are more “down to earth” than these issues.

The fact is, we all have a worldview whether we realize it or not. And it is therein the problem arises. Chances are, if we are unaware of the dominant worldview we operate from, then it is a good bet that we are also unaware of how our worldview was formed. Once you realize how vitally important a worldview is, hopefully you will come to see that you can no longer leave this process to chance or random development.

Christian researcher George Barna makes the following observations regarding worldviews:

*Everyone has a worldview. Relatively few have a coherent worldview or are able to articulate it clearly.

 

*Most people don’t consider their worldview to be a central, defining element of their life, although it is.

 

*People spend surprisingly little time intentionally considering and developing their worldview. More often than not, their worldview development process is one of unconscious evolution and acceptance. They allow it to evolve and sum it up this way: “Whatever.”

To be continued…..

(c) L.D. Turner 2008/2012/ All Rights Reserved

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One thought on “On Comfort Zones and Thinking Out of the Box (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Get your Head In The Game « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

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