The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Going Back to Egypt

In a fit of rage Cindy screamed, “Just leave me alone! I know what I’m doing and I know what’s best for me. If I die, then I die!” This scene was all too common and familiar with Cindy’s husband. Cindy had been in recovery for several years and was doing so well. Tony believed the worst was over and they could finally live a normal life. Cindy was a drug addict and an alcoholic. She had been clean and sober for 3 years then out of nowhere she fell back into the darkness and misery of this horrible existence. Tony cried out to God, “Why Lord, Why!” Things had been going so well and Cindy had actually seemed happy for the first time in her life. So, why now? What triggered the relapse? Did something horrible happen to cause her to give up and return? Not necessarily.

The problem with each of us is that we don’t have to have a tragic circumstance in our life to drive us to our desires. In fact, many times when nothing is going wrong we may create something to justify running to our dark desires. The power of sin is just that…Powerful! As Paul said in Romans 7, “That which I don’t want to do, I do and that which I want to do, I do just the opposite.” (paraphrased) Even though we know the misery, pain and guilt of our desires, we still return. Why? Because even though it’s miserable we have become comfortable with our misery. This is what we have always known and believed therefore this perpetuates the cycle. What we believe we are in our hearts is what we will become.

This is nothing new and has been going on for a long time. Let’s go back a few thousand years and look at the all familiar story about the Exodus of the Israelites led by Moses. These people had been in slavery for 400 years and were living a miserable existence. That had cried out to God for years to free them and He finally granted their request. These people had barely cleared the city limits before they started whining about going back and they continued to do this throughout the remainder of the trip. To Moses I’m sure it sounded like children whining, “Are we there yet?”

So this brings up the “Comfort Zone.” So how do we escape the twisted comfort of the comfort zone? Well, the first thing that needs to happen is we have to really want it. This desire to escape usually comes once we have hit rock bottom and until we have, it’s unlikely that we’re serious. So exactly what is the comfort zone?

I want you to imagine yourself standing in the middle of a circle. This circle extends about 4 feet from you in all directions. The circle symbolizes your comfort zone. Now I want you to see this concrete wall bordering the circle. The concrete wall symbolizes fear, but what will it take to break down the wall and remove the fear?

Well, before we go any further you may be asking, “Why is it so important to leave our comfort zone?” because the comfort zone is a counterfeit or replacement for your heart. The comfort zone is based on happiness not joy, lack of stress and problems not peace, infatuation and lust not love, religion not faith. The comfort zone my have the appearance of your heart, but it’s not real.

Fear is one of the greatest barriers to break through to escape the comfort zone. So how you do break through the fear? Well, as I’m writing I realize this would take a lengthy explanation that you probably don’t want to read. It’s also explained in the Passion Seminar.

Some say leave me alone. I’m just fine right where I am. I know because I’ve made that statement as well. I made that statement as I slipped slowly into serious depression. I made that statement as my relationship deteriorated with my wife as we headed for divorce. I’ve made several stupid statements. However, I now know the comfort zone is something I shun and avoid, but sometimes I find myself in retreat there. Once you have tasted the freedom from your comfort zone you will never want to return. Even if you find yourself in retreat there, you will always look for the way out again.

I began to refer to the comfort zone as Egypt. Even though we may be in slavery and misery, at least we know the rules and where we stand. What we forget is the promise land. The promise land in this reference was not referring to heaven, but abundant life. Do you have a life or are you just living? Do you want more or do you want to settle? I hope you choose life.

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