Comfort Zone DeceptionBlog / Produced by The High Calling
One circle contained the words “comfort zone”; the other circle contained the word “faith.” Then, the challenge: “Which circle do you want to live in?” As part of our series Risk Averse, John E. Waters wrestles with the impact this decision had on on his career, his marriage, and his family.
Years ago, I accepted a challenge to draw two equally sized circles on a piece of paper. One circle contained the words “comfort zone”; the other circle contained the word “faith.”
Then, the challenge: “Which circle do you want to live in?”
For the next twenty years of my life, I would wrestle with this exercise and its impact on my career, my marriage, and my family.
Being an engineer, I logically knew what it meant to live in the “comfort zone” circle. I knew if I worked hard enough, persevered through challenges, and accomplished closure, success would likely follow—success in career, relationships, finances, and legacy. I also knew I could pursue and accomplish these objectives in a “comfort zone” of life without any supernatural need or assistance from a Creator God—a God who has demonstrated repeatedly in the Scriptures his deep desire to pursue, bless, and romance his beloved mankind.
I also realized that I am steeped in a culture that motivates and stimulates me to strive for comfort or contentment. How many times have I sought contentment to avoid the “faith” circle? How many times have I heard a voice whispering to my soul that money can solve all my problems? If the voice of our enemy is strong and consistent in these matters, where is God’s voice and why don't I hear it?
The “Comfort Zone” Deception
It’s night. It’s storming. It's loud. And there are twelve scared men in a boat of rough waters. Then they see a “ghost.” It is in this setting, this “un-comfort zone” of life, that Jesus enters with eagerness on His face, an extended hand, and succinctly says, “Trust me. Everything is okay.”
Eleven scared men don't dare move as they cling to the “comfort zone” of their familiar boat. All the disciples see and hear the Son of God say, “Take courage. It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” But only one of the men, Peter, exits the boat and enters his “faith zone.”
It is in this moment that Peter moves from knowing Jesus to experiencing Jesus. It is here that Peter enters a supernatural life. It is here where abundant life begins, and walking on water is a common event for a faith-based follower of Jesus Christ. And it is here the “comfort zone” is exposed as one hundred percent deception.
The event described above is not a story or fable. It is life. It is history. It really happened then with Jesus and Peter, and it really happens now with you and me.
Due to the effective work of a fierce and cunning adversary, however, the false reality of the “comfort zone” has become an obstacle to experiencing the supernatural power of God in our lives. As we strive for the illusive “comfort zone,” we find it difficult to see his presence, hear his voice, and trust in his words, when the one hundred percent reality we inhabit right now, at every moment, is this: his hand is extended, his expression is filled with love, and he beckons to us “don't be afraid.”
But I Am a Business Person …
After thirty years in the professional ranks of engineering, business, entrepreneurialism, and pursuing the “faith zone,” I have finally understood there is no dividing line between the secular and sacred aspects of life. In fact, it's all sacred, and the “comfort zone” circle is simply an illusion, even in “business.”
Viewing life from heaven’s perspective (the “faith zone”) turns every relationship, every event, and every result into holy and joyful activity. The Bible says we, as followers of Christ, are saints, heirs, and adopted sons of the Most High God—we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for great works in his kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. To me, this sounds like the best career path on earth and applies to all occupations, including stay-at-home moms, dads, and caregivers.
Our lives are a gift, and we have been created with unique passions, talents, and destinies to serve the King of kings. The Lord has given us unique assignments to serve in his kingdom, and we serve at his pleasure in whatever setting he has placed before us.
Once we experience his goodness, we can place our trust in him and step out of the boat and into his joy-filled calling in our lives. While living for the “comfort zone,” I considered my career, my relationships, and my life as under my own doing and control. In the “faith zone” everything belongs to God and his will works in and through me for his own good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), and I go along for the supernatural ride of life!
I used to think I could accomplish some level of earthly comfort or contentment, but the eternal surprise came from living in the “faith zone,” where I found true comfort and complete rest. Faith can be as comfortable as a simple hug from a righteous, loving Father who has called me to walk with him through the storms of life. Maybe this is why the apostle Paul said:
… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:11-12)
Mystery Unfolded—Heaven in Business
I have had the privilege of working for large corporations and medium corporations, and over the past fifteen years, I have launched multiple start-up efforts with the ultimate goal of helping people with technological solutions. In 2010, I transitioned from founding and leading a $2 billion start-up company to becoming a professional consultant, not really knowing what was next for me. So, I prayed something like this:
Lord, I have only so many days left on this planet. How can I serve You in Your kingdom to have the greatest impact possible? What can you do with an engineer who knows something about electric automobiles, batteries, energy supply systems, and the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Since this time, I have found myself in several “storms” of life where the “comfort zone” circle has been completely exposed and painfully, but lovingly, removed. I have entered into—or, more accurately, been catapulted into—the world of supernatural living with Jesus Christ. My former Christian experience seems cerebral and distant now, as it was filled with deceptive “comfort zone” pursuits.
The Faith Circle
Every day we have the opportunity to spend intimate time with a Savior who not only walked on water, but created it. He is the ultimate business partner!
Our King has me on an assignment to bring sustainable energy solutions, and the gospel, to 1.5 billion people around the globe. I have sat with the awe and wonder of a child as he has literally brought nations to my driveway. God is arranging the financing, placing a dream team of men and women of integrity around me, selecting our first countries for trials, and finalizing the technical plans for launching the enterprise that will re-define energy for the planet. The Father is doing his work and he is busy (John 5:17)!
In the midst of the storms of life, I have never known our Savior more intimately than I do now. Knowing him and his power and faithfulness calms all the storms and the waves. I can visualize his glorious face, and he’s smiling at me. His hand is extended; his expression is filled with love; and he beckons, “Don't be afraid.”
Our Heavenly Father has spoken to me, revealed his calling on my life, and moved me from the “comfort zone” to the “faith zone,” where I am experiencing his courage, his presence, and his peace beyond measure. It’s like a supernatural walk on water. Some might even say I am comfortable living in the “faith zone.” I think it’s called abundant life, and it’s another of the incredible promises Jesus made to us:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)