Have We Become Addicted to Our Comfort Zones?

by Mark Votava


I have found myself trapped inside of my comfort zone so many times in my life.  It seems I have an addiction to my own comfort.  Kind of sounds weird.  But I am learning the wisdom of risk and the dangers of being addicted to my individualistic comfort zone.

Working my way out of my comfort zone is difficult work for sure.  But it is worth the risk involved.  It seem that we are taught to pursue the construction of our comfort zones in our North American lifestyles.  Maybe this is what freedom is to us.  I find myself not believing in it anymore.

  •  Living on the ground in humility

We need to learn how to risk our lives in the parish.  Our everyday lives need to embrace the practice of living on the ground in humility towards one another.  Nothing is scarier than the practice of humility, because in humility we lose all our techniques of control and escapism.  We are pushed out of our comfort zones.

  •  New experiments around local ways of living relationally

Our relationships become fashioned by a new paradigm of valuing one another’s humanity.  We can no longer walk past someone without regard for their wellbeing.  This calls us to a new and disturbing degree of risk that will shake us to the core of who we are.  This calls for new experiments around local ways of living relationally.

  •  Risk is about stepping into the unknown

Risk is about stepping into the unknown and being shaped by what we experience there.  It is more mysterious than anything we have ever known and shatters all our propositions of preconceived ideas.  The communal imagination lives by this kind of risk.  It takes humility to live into authentic risk as a way of life.  Is this not the call of Christ in the gospels?

  •  Honoring and valuing our neighbor

How does change take place within us?  It takes place through relational practice in the parish.  We are shaped through the ongoing practice of humility toward one another.  We are shaped when we risk seeing the humanity in another.  We are shaped when we honor and value our neighbor.

  •  Having some empathy for others

We need the humility to risk just being in our humanity and having some empathy for others who seem different from us.  We need to risk seeing the commonality in one another.  We need the humility to risk opening our lives to others relationally and trusting one another.

  •  Relationships don’t work without humility

Relationships don’t work without the risk of humility.  Our imaginations are inspired by the intuition and creativity that risk cultivates within us.  We need to cultivate the imagination to live into relationships differently than those we have known in the past.

  •  Relationships need gratitude not contempt

Relationships are to be valued and not taken advantage of.  Relationships need gratitude not contempt.  Relationships need honor not objectification.  To have a new imagination for relationships involves risk, and it takes a lot of humility to sustain them.

  •  Risking new ways of being and doing

Mark Scandrette notes, “If we want to change, we have to risk new ways of being and doing …”

How can we risk more in our lives?