“The appetite of the sluggard craves but has nothing, but the appetite of the diligent is amply satisfied.” (Proverbs 13:4) It’s so easy to just sit on our sofa at home! We feel comfortable, nothing or no one can bother us, we can prevent unwanted situations… anyhow, everything is under control. Why go out and risk that things don’t go our way? We can think, “I’m better off staying at home, I’m fine here.”
We are generally afraid of the unknown. We consider ourselves incapable of changing or improving a particular situation, or we simply opt for what’s most comfortable: it’s the law of minimum effort or “do” nothing. Why do we act like this? Saint Paul didn’t understand this either, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want” (Romans 7:19).
Imagine what would have happened if the person who invented the phone or the wheel, the printing press, buttons or the car; or the person who discovered fire, electricity, or the cure to a disease would have opted to stay home on the sofa… Our world would be completely different from the one we have now! Don’t you think? First, you wouldn’t be able to read this article, but you’re doing it thanks to people who chose to step out of their comfort zone in order to add their grain of sand to make this world a better place. It should be clarified that “the sofa” shouldn’t only be understood literally, it can also be understood in the way that we close ourselves off from the rest of the world.
Now, you may be thinking, “This all sounds nice, but where do I begin? There’s too much to do!” It’s true, there is a lot to get done, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to do nothing.
9 tips for making your unique contribution to the world:
1. Start with yourself: it doesn’t make sense to want to change the world if we don’t start by changing ourselves. In order to do that, Pope Francis recommends that we take care of our heart every night before going to bed.
2. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Keep in mind this advice by Saint Francis of Assisi so you don’t despair in situations that seem above your capabilities. If you want to run a marathon, the logical thing is to start by training slowly. Be realistic and be patient.
3. Grab a pen and paper: Keeping in mind the second point, plan out your week. This will help you to create a habit of those things that are hardest for you to complete. In addition to applying this to actual activities, you can also implement this for attitudes you would like to change. My father always says, “you can train your character.” Come on, you can do it!
4. Go to the ant, O sluggard, study her ways and learn wisdom. (Proverbs 6:6) Learn to look around you, observe things calmly and notice in detail what inspires you to act in a good way. Think of your Creator. Can you imagine a lazy God after contemplating His creation? It’s amazing that we can even learn through nature.
5. What side is the scale tipping to? Focus on all the things that you would leave undone if you remain on your sofa, instead of thinking of the effort it takes to do those things What would you gain if you stepped outside of your comfort zone? What would you lose if you stayed in?
6. Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang the best. ~ Henry Van Dyke: Think of all the qualities and talents you have, recognize these are gifts from God and try sharing them with others so you can change or improve things today. If you practice this everyday, with time, it will become a habit.
7. Pray: Prayer is the best weapon we have, a key that opens the heart of God. ~ Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Without prayer you can only depend on your own strength. But with prayer, you can depend on strength from up high. Little by little you will begin to set aside that which you want to do, to listen to what God wants you to do.
8. We’re pots made of clay: The latter point helps us to better understand this concept. Do everything you can to recognize you are nothing more than the instrument through which God acts. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (Jn 15:5)
9. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9): If you don’t see results, God asks you to continue trusting in him because he better than anyone knows the work of your hands.
Go on, get out of your comfort zone and step out into the world sharing your much needed talents and witness of faith, because someday we will all find ourselves in front of God’s merciful gaze and he will ask what we’ve done with what he’s given us. Hopefully we will hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21)
Can you think of any other ideas that can help us get out of our comfort zone? Let us know!
This post originally appeared in Spanish on Catholic-Link.com. The author is Ailín Fessler.