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Trapped in the Comfort Zone

By Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” — Carl Sandburg

“I don’t know how much longer I can take this job,” Craig said wearily to his wife. “The so-called temporary extra hours and responsibilities now are just expected.  And, bottom line, I just don’t care if I sell this stuff or not. What difference am I making in the world? I know that teaching would be a great fit for my skills and interests. I’ve got a list of action steps to get going with making a career change. But each day I procrastinate, telling myself I should just be satisfied with the job I already have. And each day I feel more trapped and miserable. Why do I seem to be so stuck?”

Costs of Staying Stuck

Have you ever felt this kind of internal push-pull going on in your life? As in the above quote, perhaps you want to soar, but find yourself stuck in the mud. Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life, but found yourself unable to get going? If so, you may be trapped by your “comfort zone.”

Your comfort zone is made up of the people, places, things, and habits that are familiar to you. Many of us get scared when we even think about moving outside of our comfort zone. We cling tenaciously to the known, and choose familiarity over risk. The problem with choosing to stay in our comfort zones is that it can come with a terrible price tag—one with eternal consequences.

Discovering and living your calling is an adventure that entails risk. Responding to God’s call to fulfill your mission in life will undoubtedly require you to journey beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Jesus never seemed to hesitate in telling people to leave their familiar lives for the unfamiliar path of following him, did He?

Each time we blockade ourselves further within our comfort zone, it becomes more difficult to hear God’s callings in our lives. Living your calling is possible only when you are willing to be obedient to God’s voice and risk stepping out to follow Jesus. Living the adventure of your calling requires courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to confront new and unfamiliar challenges.  

Confronting the "Calling Blockers"

Getting stuck in your comfort zone can be a sign that you have come up against a “calling blocker” in your journey. Calling blockers are things that get in the way of your seeing who you have been created to be, finding out what you are gifted and called to do, and/or taking the needed actions to live your calling. Some of the most powerful calling blockers are fear, money, busyness, negative thinking, childhood wounds, and isolation from others. Each of us has our own calling blockers that can get in our way when we are trying to make changes in our lives.

Your calling blockers can get you stuck or “off-track” on your journey to discern and live your calling. They can keep you trapped in a life that is far less than the one God intends for you.  What differentiates those who are successful in discovering and living their calling from those who are not is the ability to overcome their own personal set of calling blockers.

The most common indicator that people are wrestling with calling blockers is resistance to following through on what they believe God is calling them to do. Often, they try to rationalize or re-shape God’s summons: “He couldn’t really want me to do that. It’s too much of a change. Instead, I could stay where I am and do that on the side. Or maybe I’ll do it sometime later when things are different in my life.”

Catalysts for Overcoming Your Calling Blockers 

Those who successfully discover and live their calling have learned how to recognize and overcome their own individual calling blockers. To live your calling, you must master yourself. “Calling catalysts” are strategies for overcoming and transforming those barriers so that you can experience the life God created you to live.

Fear is one of the most common calling blockers. Calling catalysts for overcoming fear include:

  • Learning to break a goal into bite-sized, “do-able” steps;
  • Asking for help from others; and,
  • Practicing “biblical affirmations,” which are Scripture verses that embed God’s truth in your mind and heart. For example, you can memorize verses such as:

    -- “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

    -- “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, paraphrased).

The more you focus on your fears, the less you focus on God. The more you focus on God, the less you focus on your fears!

As you seek to discern your calling, ask the Lord to help you see any calling blockers that may be hindering you in becoming the person He created you to be and doing the things He designed you to do. You are not alone in the journey of discovering and living your calling, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). Ask the Lord to give you the courage and power to move forward in your life. He has created you for a purpose, and will enable you to conquer your calling blockers and fulfill your mission in life.

Adapted from Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck by permission of Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.

Kevin and Kay Marie BrennfleckKevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life.

If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design, you can schedule a free consultation session at

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