Written by Sukma Sari Cornelius, originally in Bahasa Indonesia
“There is no comfort in growth zone, there is no growth in comfort zone.”
I cannot help but think about pearls when I read this statement. The beautiful gems are formed not in the midst of comfortable situations. Instead, they are formed from many layers of mineral substance produced by the oyster to cover any uninvited visitors (like a grain of sand) which enter and irritate its little comfortable shell.
I too have my nice and comfortable shell. My own little world. As the only child in the family for the past 19 years, I have built my own world, comprising me, myself, and I. I have no siblings, just busy parents. I am not required to share anything with anybody. I enjoy my own little world, and I love it just like that!
During my university years, I found out that life is so much bigger than my own little world. I met people who have different views of life, different ways of thinking, different habits and lifestyle, and I am not comfortable with that. I cannot understand why people cannot see things the way I see them, or handle things the way I handle them. But anyway, why should I care about what other people think about my own little world? So I decided to limit my interaction with others. Besides, “sharing” is just not found in my dictionary.
But it was also during those years, God led me to know His saving grace through Jesus Christ. That was a major turning point in my life. Being a small-group leader in my campus forced me to come out from my shell. I had to meet people (some seniors, some juniors) regularly. I have to share my life with them, listen to them, and seek to understand them. It was not easy. It felt like the whole world I had built carefully for more than 19 years collapsed. For example, in my own little world, I never think of loving people who disagree with me nor those who have hurt me with their words and deeds. But, in Matthew 22:39, Jesus commanded: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Years later, I thank God for drawing me out from my own little world. It helped prepare me for the working world where I have to interact with many imperfect people (myself included). I had to share my life with them. Dealing with people with different visions, passions, and attitudes was something I learnt to expect most of the time. It is also a constant reminder of how much I need to learn from my loving Savior.
“We are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” cried prophet Isaiah when he confessed to God the sins of his nations and himself (Isaiah 64:8). Before turning into a beautiful and useful pot, the clay must go through a series of processes. Firstly, the potter will remove all dirt and impurities, then he will push the clay back and forth until it is soft and ready to be shaped. Then he will heat the shaped clay at a high temperature. The process is extremely uncomfortable. But without it, the clay will remain a piece of clay and not transform into a beautiful pottery. This is what I experienced in the growth zone.
Do you find God is pulling you out of your own little world? Maybe He has shown you some areas of life in which you need to grow. Maybe He is pointing you to some disciplines that you need to cultivate to prepare you for the next phase of your journey. Trust Him as He leads your way, even though you may think it’s impossible to change because of how you have lived all these years. The Potter knows the beauty of His final work.
There is no comfort in the growth zone, but His grace will strengthen you as you grow to become more and more like Him. As you continue to grow this year with all of its challenges, keep reminding yourself: “Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet!”