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Gains and Growth


Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Joleen Johnson, in sharing the story of her dad’s physical therapy, reflects on the positive impact of growing beyond your limits of comfort.  

A few weeks ago my dad had his right knee replaced. At a recent physical therapy session, the physical therapist said something that got me thinking about growth. 

Although some physical therapy exercises cause pain, they also produce results, namely,  gaining the ability to bend the knee several more degrees. At one point, the physical therapist pushed my dad’s leg for him, and stretched it further than my dad had the ability to on his own. He explained that with another person pushing it, the knee could bend much further than ever before, thus, unlocking more mobility and movement. Though this hurt intensely, pushing the knee past it’s comfortable limit allowed it to grow, gain,  and further heal. 

I reflected on this concept of how pushing past the limits of comfort could open up the opportunity for new growth, and perhaps healing. A former professor once said, “You can’t grow while you are inside your comfort zone”. We must be outside of our comfort zones in order to grow because the comfort zone is already comfortably full, and there is no room for further growth inside of it.

Although being outside of the comfort zone is uncomfortable, when we decide to step out and experience that new thing, or take that new risk, or die to that pride that’s holding us back, or push past what we think our limit is, we unlock the opportunity for new growth. We can safely sit inside our comfort zones for as long as we want to, and do the same things that we always do, never changing and barely gaining, while looking out at the invitation to grow. But, when we step out, we step into the new life and lessons that God has in store for us. 

Perhaps an encouragement could be to think of the person that you desire to become; what growth is required to get to be that person? Or think of when you are 100 years old, all the things you will have learned and gained because of growth by courageously stepping outside of your comfort zone.  

Reflection: Is there an area of your life, or even one small thing, that you might be invited to further grow and gain in?

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Joleen discovered her passion for overseas service during her first mission trip in 2012 to Guatemala. Since then she has served in Haiti and studied abroad in India, teaching English in an elementary school, after which she began to feel the call to longer term overseas service. Joleen is excited to see what God will teach her through FMS, and looks forward to living out His call for her. She is inspired by FMS’s humble and relational approach to ministry.