As of late I have found myself in a constant state of discomfort. I mean this spiritually, emotionally, and physically. From a spiritual perspective, I’m on a never ending quest to become the best possible version of myself. That requires me to try to walk out the Word of God daily. As anyone on this Christian journey knows, that is no small feat. I have to continuously analyze my actions, behavior, and reactions.
Emotionally, I’m checking my feelings about critical relationships in my life. I’m assessing who I want in my life, as well as what I want and need from people in my life.
Physically, it’s two fold. First, I’m not currently satisfied with my body/weight right now, so that’s uncomfortable. The second part to that is I’m challenging my physical limits as I’m preparing for an upcoming sprint triathlon. I believe this physical aspect to be the greatest level of discomfort of them all because it’s magnifying the other areas. The physical challenges reveal a multitude of spiritual lessons.
On the physical level, my triathlon training is the hardest thing I’ve attempted in a long time. It scares me the most. It’s requiring me to do things I’m not yet physically capable of doing. In conjunction with the triathlon training, I’ve been preparing for a half marathon. Each week during my runs I add miles to my long run distances. Two weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles. I haven’t run that far since I participated in my first half marathon in 2007. It was intimidating, scary, and down right painful. The last three miles felt impossible. By the last mile I was in excruciating pain from my waist down.
Regardless of how hard it was, I refused to stop. I didn’t want to stop running because I was too close to my goal. I adjusted my course. I reduced my speed, but I wouldn’t stop. When I hit my distance I felt relieved. I felt proud of myself for keeping at it. But I still felt awful.
What I’m holding on to now from that ordeal is the experience of not giving up. I was so beyond my comfort zone during those last few miles. I didn’t know how I’d finish. What I eventually realized was if I had any shot at reaching my goal, I had to get okay with being uncomfortable. I’d never felt that bad before on a run. It was a foreign feeling. I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. That’s when real change happens. It happened for me that day. I shifted my mindset. I go back to that day even now as I’m about to do something I don’t want to do, especially a hard workout. That run is now my barometer. I tell myself, “if I could run 13.1 miles, I can do this.” No workout I currently do is THAT hard!
To really get this lesson in my spirit I have to start practicing it –being in the “dis-comfort zone.” I have to do this in all areas of my life. When I’m overwhelmed with all of my projects and I get to the point where I want to give up, I have to remember that I’m in unchartered territory - I’m outside my comfort zone. Eventually, I will get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Question: When was the last time you were outside your comfort zone?