Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-8 (NIV)
On our team-building challenge course here at Athletes in Action, we ask people to step out of their personal comfort zones and enter their growth zones. It is called the growth zone because we are able to do some things that we are NOT comfortable doing, but that we know are within our ability to do. And in reality, it is good for us if we grow into a new ability.
The participants rely on the encouragement of a partner and others on their team. Most people don’t like to be in their growth zones because it’s uncomfortable, but the more that they are there, the more their comfort zones expand so that growth becomes normal.
The past two years I have been taking steps out of my comfort zone and seeking personal growth in my life, relationships and work. Each month I meet with a group of people who encourage me, challenge me and support me.
I typically go with hesitation, yet deep within me, I want to be stretched, challenged, and in some cases, broken, so that I can be all that God has designed for me to be.
I go because I WANT and need some changes in my life which will require me to take some steps on my own. On the challenge course, we always have safety equipment which protects us on the course. I know that I have safety from my group who will speak both truth AND grace into my life!
While I’m driving in the early dawn, I ask the Holy Spirit to search me and reveal areas in my life where I have gaps so that I become aware of them and can start working on them. It’s a scary invitation to ask God to reveal things in my life that need to come to the surface, yet I’m seeing the life changes that I’ve been wanting and needing, relationally, emotionally and in maturity.
Where are you? Are you willing to enter your growth zone and ask our loving Heavenly Father to begin to work in your life?
Athletes in Action