Lessons from Nature

Written by Bryan Holmes

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10

What comes to your mind when you think about enlarging your territory in today’s life?

I think part of enlarging your territory in today’s time might look like getting out of your comfort zone. I think your territory consist of the things you do or are involved in. What keeps us from leaving that comfort zone? Fear! Many of us live within the dictations of our fear and it can be crippling if we allow it to. Did you know that if you have turned from your sin, asked for forgiveness, accepted Christ and His work on the cross and been filled with the Spirit of God, you have everything you need to accomplish the work God has called you to? Yet so many of us still live within a mundane Christian life that lacks actual life. We have become so accustomed to our normal routine that any deviation from that routine is unthinkable.  

I went on an overnight backpacking trip just a few days ago and it was awesome. Over the past few years, our family has completely fell in love with the outdoors and have gone on several day hikes and now also a few overnight trips. This kind of thing has not always been the case though. When I thought about going into the middle of the woods on a trail, I would also think of all the things out there that might want to harm me. I thought of snakes and other things that crawl on the ground. I also thought of spiders and their webs that I might run into between the trees. There are also the flying things that sting, and if you are in bear country…well I don’t have to say much about that. Having these kinds of fear has kept me from going on trails for many years, and man have I missed out.

Several years back I had this interesting idea for a New Years resolution. I was going to try something new that I have never done each month in order to expand myself and push my boundaries a little. This was a great thing because I was constantly in a battle with myself. Fear would rise up on one side and the desire to expand my boundary would arise on the other. Which one would win? I forced myself to have a “take no prisoners” type of attitude when it came to accomplishing my resolution and my fear ended up taking a back seat. Through this journey, I also learned to face my fear of what I might find on a nature trail. I have now been able to experience all sorts of beauty that I would not have seen otherwise.

One of the other things that happened with “enlarging my territory” has been the Men’s group on Monday evenings. If you would have asked me to be the leader of a men’s group several years back I would have laughed at you and called you crazy…but here I am.  My fear of inadequacy has led me to dig deeper in the word and lean on God more often to be the actual leader of the group. This would have never happened though had I not made a decision to face my fear and pray this same prayer of Jabez.

I wonder…what might God have planned for your life if only you would be willing to step outside your own comfort zone and take some steps of faith? My challenge for you today is to stop saying “no” to those things that scare you. Start with just one of them and see what happens.  You might find yourself down the road doing something you never thought was possible.