Have you noticed as you being doing this work, that people are reacting differently? Just as you are moving out of your comfort zone, the way you have been for so long and now you are changing is affecting someone’s comfort zone.
Our comfort zones are a way of operating and understanding our world within which we feel safe and everyone’s comfort zone is unique.
Some things which might be safe to one person will strike fear into the heart of another. In the same way changes will stretch the comfort zones of some people and might be hardly noticed by others.
Are your changes comfortable for you and receiving Celebration from others or causing conflict for someone else?
One of my changes was not to respond to everything – just keep my mouth shut. For a few people, it went unnoticed ( they probably stopped listening to me a long time ago lol) For a few, it was ” are you okay”; ” you feel alright”; the classic one – “did you hear me”. I took a deep breath and said, “I am very well, I want to hear what you have to say.” One person started sharing more, which was a change for her and it was such a delight. Another person got silent and crossed her arms. I then asked “are you okay?” and in what was perceived by me, I do not know the intent, it was my perception, I was told ” well you always have some contribution, what is wrong with you?” I gently said, “I need to listen.”
My change was too sudden and it appeared to have caused some stress and anxiety. I cannot begin to tell you all that she was thinking or feeling, but clearly, from my perception, there was something there.
You noticed I said perception – that is key – we can not write the end of the story because of what we think and that is the same with us making changes. Changes can be disorienting and even as we are changing for our good and we know our who, why and what, we still need to consider likely reactions and responses, EVEN from ourselves!
Remember in the valley of Dry Bones – that was a communal resurrection and victory.
It is generally acknowledged that some stretching of people’s comfort zones is healthy. Indeed some gentle challenge may build confidence as people realize they are capable of more than they realized. For instance, you have always done the grocery shopping and now have decided that the other adults need to now assist. You may be positively surprised that those things that we always we did, can be done just as well by some one else. Change does require us to give up our control as well – we don’t always have to be in charge.
For some, there have been some sudden changes and it may have caused some challenges. Unfortunately, this may have resulted in persons retreating to where they feel safe and may have become very reluctant to adapt.
Pause and pray, pray and pause. You can not think for someone else, but you can pray for release and ask God to provide you with a joyful spirit through this time. Some of the changes you are making needed to be abrupt – no one needs to be verbally, mentally or physically abused. However some changes are gradual even for us – Hey, we still got old tapes in our heads, that are just itching to turn up the volume so it takes time.
For you and others, be gentle with yourself, gradually and , gently stretch boundaries, building your confidence to grow as well as in all relationships. Remember this change is like diet number 591 zillion that we have said we were going to do and then we go back to old habits – being gradual will stick.
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.