Growth Zones

reclinerI was listening to KLOVE the other day and heard a profound quote shared by a caller:

There’s not much growth in a comfort zone … or much comfort in a growth zone.”

Wow! That hit me right between the eyes because I am deep into a “growth zone” and have experienced very little comfort lately. This saying brought it all into perspective – that there’s a reason for the discomfort, and God is working all of this for good.

I have been in physical discomfort for weeks now. To make a long story short, I am severely allergic to Urushiol, which is the “poison” in poison ivy, oak, and sumac. My dog got some Urushiol oil on his fur, rubbed against my leg, and gave me a tiny patch of poison oak – literally three tiny blisters. That was enough exposure to trigger systemic hives. After three weeks, a nine-day prescription of Prednisone, prescription steroid cream, and more over-the-counter anti-itch products than I can count, I’m still dealing with itching, and it’s not been fun.

Of course, there’s a part of me that does not understand why God won’t simply heal the rashes. If He could raise Jesus from the dead, then He has the power to stop hives, right? However, I have been learning in this Growth Zone a very difficult lesson – that life is not about me.

Interestingly, I am finding that the more I focus on my physical discomfort, the more miserable I become. However, when I focus on someone else, I “forget” about the itching for a while. That reinforces my point from this blog entry about how whatever we focus on magnifies. Magnified pride makes us miserable, but magnified compassion toward another person leads to joy.

I have been leaning heavily on what Paul wrote about the thorn in his flesh, trying to remember that

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” ~ 2 Cor. 12:9

I don’t like to feel weak, as I am sure is true for most of us. However, how else will I learn the power of God’s strength?

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sleeping in a recliner. Courtesy Bitmoji.]