Saturday, February 23, 2013

Comfort zone vs. gift zone vs. danger zone

Dave Kraft:
We should be open to the challenge to move out of our comfort zone, but careful about moving out of our gift zone into the danger zone.

Think of three concentric circles. The inner rim is my comfort zone, and the outer rim is my gift zone. When I move out of my comfort zone, I allow God to stretch me, challenge me, and give me experience to believe and trust him in areas that are new or uncharted. This can be and should be exciting and stimulating.

But when I move beyond my gift zone, I could very well be violating God’s plan and purpose for me. This can be draining and conflicting. There is a big difference between saying, “I don’t feel comfortable in doing (this or that),” and saying, “(This or that) is just not me—it is in violation of how God has designed me (Ps. 139) and gifted me (1 Cor. 12).”

Now I know we need to be careful not to confuse gifts and responsibility. “I don’t have the gift of evangelism” is no excuse for not participating in sensitive and meaningful outreach. Understanding “I don’t have the gift of intercession” is no excuse for not praying for others.

But still, my experience has taught me that when a Christian leader is spending large portions of his or her time in activities that are “not me” by design and gifting, it’s just a matter of time until something gives, resulting in breakdown, burnout, or destructive anger.
How’s your joy in your work?

Where are you in all of this? Are you safe and comfortable? Has the joy disappeared from your work? Are you allowing God to move and stretch you beyond your comfort zone? Have you moved too far and find yourself outside of your gift zone? Are you tired a lot, losing motivation, discouraged, or depressed?

Could it be that a lot of what you are doing is not a reflection of how God made you?
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