“We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
I don’t know if any of you feel the way I do, but some days I want to change and push to be the best version of myself, and other days—well… let’s just say I’d rather not. But not necessarily that I do not want the change. I do. I really do. It’s more like I find it exhausting and just want to give up. I often wonder, am I the only one who just wants to watch life go by, stay in her comfort zones, and stop trying?
I know for me I am often tempted to just stay the imperfect, flawed, and insecure girl I am who never tries to challenge herself to grow in any way. Someone makes me upset, I just take it out on them instead of forgiving and forgetting and moving on. I snap at someone who did nothing–psh, I am not going to apologize because my pride is more important than admitting wrong. I have a mountain of work I should do–I’ll just sit and do nothing and be lazy. People don’t say hello to me, I don’t say hello to them. People don’t talk to me, I don’t talk to them. It becomes this endless cycle until all you are thinking about is yourself and not allowing yourself to grow into a better person. Not allowing yourself to grow.
I have a vision of who I would like to be. This person is someone who is energetic, fun, bold, exciting, honest, real, kind, and hard-working. Someone who isn’t afraid to be themselves all the time. Someone who isn’t afraid of being very honest and real, but kind and warm. Someone who is really THERE in the moment and seeing people. Someone who isn’t consumed with herself. Someone who loves herself and who she is.
This is only a very small, itty-bitty, tiny version of the person I wish I could be. The person I know is too hard to become without the help of God. (Let me say—it seems impossible, but Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” So, maybe God can save this weak, self-centered person and help her to be the person He calls her to be.)
One thing I struggle growing out of are my insecurities. I know there are many people in the world who struggle with insecurities. Actually, everyone is insecure about something. Some insecurities are different. Some are the same. I, for one, struggle with so many insecurities. I often wonder if all insecurities come from something that happened in our past or if some insecurities just appear as people grow up. I cannot think of why I have my insecurities or where they originated from.
I just remember one day people were telling me I was quiet. And I started wondering how not to be quiet. However, I did not think I had anything to offer, so I did not want to open my mouth because I felt I had nothing to say. Since then, I have been in this swirling mess of hating being quiet, feeling stupid that I did not know what to say even though all my teachers my whole life said I have a lot to offer and needed to speak up more.
Suddenly, I was afraid of being unseen, unheard, forgotten, and that I would never be able to do anything I wanted to do because I was too afraid to do it. I prayed every day for years for God to give me boldness. Every year, I was further disappointed in myself.
I have an actual memory of me thinking about how I wanted to go to Asia to teach English and live there when I was like thirteen or fourteen years old, but I was afraid of teaching. I did not know how I would do it. I did not know how I’d get over there. I was afraid that if someone told me I couldn’t, I wouldn’t go. I did not think I could travel alone. I did not think I could live alone in another country. I was not sure if I could stand in front of kids and teach. All of it terrified me. (This is just one example.)
Even now, I struggle some days with wanting to step out of my comfort zone to talk to people. I often feel like people think of me as this boring person who can’t make jokes, who can’t talk, and who would not be fun to be around. I feel awkward talking to people I don’t know well and even people I have known all my life. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to act. I feel silly, awkward, and ashamed that at twenty-four, I still am just a girl who listens to conversations and feels invasive if I manage to interject.
Every few months, I’ll be in my bed crying because it is uncomfortable to try to talk to people. It’s hard to say something when no one is expecting you to speak. And I want to give up trying to grow. Because growing is uncomfortable.
One thing I learned is that if you try to do something outside your comfort zone, often you feel excited that you successfully stepped outside it for once. You feel victorious. And if you are like me, you want to hear someone say, “Good job, Kaitlyn! You did a great job sharing your thoughts even though you did not want to.” Or “What you said may have seemed juvenile to you because it sounded different outside of your brain, but it really was not! I enjoyed hearing your perspective!” or “Wow! You started a conversation with a complete stranger and had a decent conversation! Way to go!” However, that step, which may have felt like a huge accomplishment to me, actually may have looked small or insignificant in others’ eyes. So, I would feel joyful that I actually said a sentence or two in class discussion, but then get confused or discouraged when, again, my evaluations say I needed to speak up more. I thought I did speak up more. I tried so hard to say those two sentences.
It’s a little funny to think about it now, but also helps me remember to not get discouraged just because someone did not see the effort it took you to step out of your comfort zone for that brief moment. It helps remind me to keep trying. Maybe, one day, the difference will be so big that someone will notice. Maybe, one day, you’ll find yourself further than you ever thought you would be and doing things you thought you never could do. Trust God with the process even if it is uncomfortable and hard. Don’t give in to the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’m done trying. People will just have to deal with it.”
It is so hard some days to fight that voice and not curl up into my turtle shell. It has always been hard. Especially in unfamiliar territories. In South Korea, I remember struggling with it, but then deciding I was not going to let it bother me. Here in Oregon, I find myself fighting it extra hard.
Maybe your struggle or insecurity that you are trying to overcome is something else entirely. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult or hard to push yourself out of your comfort zones. It doesn’t make it any less hard to not let them rule your life. When your insecurities become the force guiding your life, they become an idol and replace God. You begin to be defined by them, and not by how God sees you. You begin to give into them and follow their leading instead of God’s leading. You become your insecurities’ slave if you don’t ask God to help set you free from them.
While I am often tired of pushing myself or tired of following God’s voice out of my comfort zone, I am even more tired of being governed by something that makes me feel hopeless about myself and my life.
That is why I keep pushing myself to try, even if I feel like I fail most days. That is why I keep fighting even if I sometimes feel like I’m going backwards instead of forwards. That is why I keep following God’s leading to places that seem uncertain and trust He knows better.
And I know, that if he can take that little girl who was too afraid to be anything and take her to live alone in South Korea to teach for a year, then nothing is impossible for Him. I can trust He can use this timid, self-seeking, and discouraged girl to be a light for Him in this dark world in a way only He could.
He can do the same for you. No matter what you struggle with, He can turn it around.
“Open different doors, you may find a ‘you’ there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen.” –Mary Poppins
—The Adversity Rose—
DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.
This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.