Confession: I played on what might have been the worst high school soccer team ever. We didn’t score one goal my junior year. We lost one game 0-21. That’s a bad football score.
So it was with great joy that I watched our daughter’s team leave a trail of wins in their wake as they blazed through the spring season undefeated. Girls from the other team sometimes walked away crying.I felt sorry for them – I was one of those girls back in the day. Our team worked well together. It came easily. The question wasn’t, “Will they win?” But “By how much?” If the other team managed a goal, our girls were disappointed.
This fall, everything has changed. They’re the same team, with a few new girls. There’s not a weak member on the team. But they’ve moved up to playing club level, and since they’re the only U-11 team around, they’re playing U-12 teams. They’re suddenly out of their comfort zone.
We keep trying to convince them this is a good thing. I read this blog post by Josh Irby about discomfort zones recently that encouraged me we’re right. It’s hard to believe when they’re spending most of their games simply trying to fend off the other team. Their games are so intense I’m thinking I need to start bringing valium. (For me, not them). We tell the girls, “You will grow from this. You’ll be better players. This is how it happens.” Easy wins are fun, but they don’t stretch us.
It’s a good reminder for me too. When I’m tempted to say, “easier, please, God” I know that it is not the easy paths that strengthen me, stretch me, move me closer to where I want to be. To quote from Josh’s post, “In the Discomfort Zone there is insecurity, fear, pain, confusion. But, from the Discomfort Zone come life, hope, change, passion.”
The discomfort zone in our lives is where God is at work. He pushes us there out of His great love for us; He loves us too much to leave us where we were. My challenge is to be content to stay in that place while He shapes me.
What about you? Are you willing to be in places of discomfort in order to grow?
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