I enjoy watching TV programs that push humans in mind and body to new experiences and out of their comfort zones. It’s so easy in life to settle into the same routines and settle for much of a muchness. This morning Giles Brandriff was talking about learning poetry as we did when we were children and that the brain is a muscle that needs exercising, a challenge to ‘use it or lose it’. It got me thinking about my own life and how often I push myself out of my comfort zone, which of course by nature is an uncomfortable place. Sometimes of course life throws things at us that give us no choice other than to be where we are uncomfortable.
It seems to me that it is in these places that we find our coping mechanisms and build our strength and so often our faith. But then if that is true why don’t we intentionally choose to go out of our comfort zones more often? They say an elastic band is only useful when it is stretched! I have been challenged by watching on TV, ‘Freeze The Fear’ where celebrities face a series of daunting, cold challenges designed to push their minds and bodies to the limit, all under the guidance of Wim Hof, a Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, he is known as The Iceman. I watch as they are challenged by jumping into ice cold water, abseiling forward down a cliff face and being challenged that by the end of the series they will have built up the courage to face their fear of bungee jumping of Colossus Bridge in Northern Italy standing 152 above the gorge floor below. All this action, whilst I sit in the comfort of my home watching and wondering what I do to push myself in body and mind and what I would be willing to do. [Don’t try any of this at home is the warning.]
You may be reading this thinking you don’t want to be challenged in life let alone your faith, you want to remain just as you are, yet as Christians it is part of the DNA of what Christ calls us to be in our life as his followers. We only have to read in scripture what challenges the early church in Acts and beyond faced to spread the good news of Jesus, under intense and life threatening conditions and whilst still in grief of being without the physical presence of Jesus. Yet they rose to the challenge and were inspired and motivated in the power of Holy Spirit to go and live out Christ’s call in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. We too hear that same call in a similar world that in the main does not know Jesus and are commanded by Him to give the Commission and Commandment equal amounts of energy and time. Unlike the TV program we are encouraged to try this at home, at work, in our leisure activities etc and indeed in our church.
As we move from Easter towards Pentecost may we prepare ourselves in talking and listening to God in prayer and hearing and sharing in conversation over his Word, to face our ‘Colossus Bridge’ of sharing the Good News in service and talking.
In the words of Wim Hof we are called as individuals and church to ‘Activate Your Potential, Transcend Your Limits’.
Your friend, servant and colleague in Christ