Comfort or Courage?

This quote really struck me the first time I read it. I originally shared it on my personal FB page, and received a few 'likes' and a also a few comments in agreeance. But I think for the most part, people saw it and thought, "There goes Deb again, sharing one of her deep and meaningful ideas. Pass." (And yes, I'll admit that I have a tendency to be drawn to deep and meaningful, rather than small-talk and just scraping the surface. But that's just me.)

The thing that stuck with me about this quote is that 'courageous' (or as a noun, courage) is my word for the year. "Yeah, yeah," I hear you say. "Another one of those people." Well, normally I pray and umm and ahh over what areas I should be focusing on for the year, and then end up with about 6 words to be intentional about (obviously I'm still a work-in-progress). But this year was different. I decided not to start the year with a 'word', but rather just wait and see. A few days into the new year, I felt 'courage' was my word. I have chosen that word before, and obviously it's something I lack and thus need to work a lot on. And so, I decided, that 2015 would be my year of being courageous. Little did I know that this would be the year I would be needing courage in more ways than I could ever have imagined. 

But that's another story.

So, about comfort.
I like being comfortable. I like it when everything goes to plan. I don't particularly like it when life sends curve balls and upends my status quo. Smooth - that's what I like. Smooth, and straight ahead. But the thing is, and we all know, life rarely goes that way. It's bumpy, with plenty of twists and turns thrown in. When we get unsettled, when life really sucks - it's not comfortable at all, and we long for that warm feeling of familiarity and comfort to return. 

But if we constantly choose comfort - if we constantly remain in our 'safe' area, and choose the easy road, we have the potential to become complacent, and even apathetic. And I believe, that after a period of time, being comfortable can be very self-limiting, not to mention selfish. Unless we give ourselves permission to step outside our comfort zone, there is no room for growth.

And that's what takes courage.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to remain comfortable - I don't always embrace change and challenge with open arms. Because, let's face it, trying times are extremely hard to endure. But I know without those hardships, without being stretched, without pushing myself, without any sort of challenge - I would stagnate. And over time, that equates to boring, and sets the foundation for a life of regrets.

On the other hand, courage allows opportunities to arise that we may never have thought possible if we remained in our zone of comfort. Courage is strength in the face of fear, or pain, or grief. It is the chance and the choice to get up and fight. Courage affords us the opportunity to grow into all we were meant to be. It's scary taking that step into courage. It often means that we feel awkward and vulnerable, and all the fears and doubts we have, suddenly become very real. And that's certainly not comfortable. 

But just like everything in life, there are seasons. Ebb and flow. Comfort - courage - comfort - courage. We just can't be both at the same time. 

Courage is not easy by any means, and it can be very hard to leave the familiarity and our place of comfort. But I think it's also just as hard to remain in the same place and wither away. 

Dare I say that a life without courage, without stepping out and being vulnerable, of trying new things or of tackling our circumstances head on despite the pain, is a life with a very lack-lustre story.

And I know what I would rather.