By Lauren Schwerdtfeger
Expanding Our Comfort Zone Is Good!
ABEE (Adventure Based Experiential Education) is a leading company that knows very well about combining risk and adventure! This is the same company that Camp Sonshine hired to build our one-of-a-kind Aerial Park at Camp Solaris. We specifically wanted a challenging activity like the Aerial Park to provide campers the opportunity to expand their comfort zone and find success when doing so!
ABEE provides training to those who facilitate the course and a portion of this training involves providing participants with the proper understanding of the risk involved in the activity as well as the competence needed to be successful with the challenge.
According to the “Peak Adventure” model they use in training, a participant can grow and be successful at any challenge when they possess the appropriate amount of competence and an appropriate amount of risk is provided.
As you can see in the diagram, if the risk is too high for the competencency of the individual, misadventure may occur; or worse, devastation & disaster.
On the opposite side, if there is no risk provided to an individual, the individual will never move past exploration and experimentation and will eventually experience boredom.
The “Peak Adventure” can happen for an individual when the risk, or challenge, presented matches the level of competency.
We are human and we, more often than not, like to stay where we feel comfortable and confident. Other times we don’t even realize that we are capable of more and we need someone else to encourage us to allow higher levels of risk in certain areas of our lives (someone who understands the balance of encouraging healthy risk that matches the level of our competency).
A physical challenge, like climbing on the Aerial Park, allows individuals to experience this “Peak Adventure” phase and to grow their comfort zone a little bigger.
We Grow Our Capacity for the Future
Why is it important that we grow our comfort zone?
Because in life, we will come across more than just physical challenges like the Aerial Park.
We will come across moments in which we may not have yet developed the competency to handle the risk in front of us, possibly physically, but most likely emotionally. But by being proactive in growing our comfort zone, we grow both our physical and emotional skills, allowing us to better handle the next thing that comes our way.
When we attempt and be successful at something that challenges us a little, we gain confidence and believe that we will be able to handle the next challenge that comes our way, even if the risk of the next challenge may be a little higher than the past one.
We are growing our capacity as an individual to be able to handle more in the future. We are able to meet a challenge and, though it may be difficult or uncomfortable, it does not throw us into “devastation & disaster,” whereas it might have done so before.
There’s Something To Be Said About Sharing In Jesus’ Sufferings
There is also something to be said as a Christ-follower about sharing in the sufferings of Jesus. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “I say these things that you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble; but take heart, for I have overcome the world!”
Jesus does not want us to live in the “devestaton & disaster” or “misadventure” realms. But does occasionally happen because we live in a sin-fallen world and we tend to not always make the best choices; and Jesus knew this (“you will have trouble”).
But his desire for us is to live in the “Peak Adventure,” to experience the fullness of life that a relationship with him brings. And we can take heart (have courage) because he has “overcome the world!”
In Jesus’ relationship with humanity, he suffered a great deal so that through his payment of our debt, we could be restored to a right relationship with God the Father. Restoration and new life could not be had without suffering. Sometimes in life we find that, for whatever reason, challenges and suffering come hand-in-hand. It is during these challenges, when the suffering or risk seems too high, that we can turn to Christ.
He has already walked through whatever it is we are experiencing and he knows the way out of the “devastation & disaster” and “misadventure” and back into the “Peak Adventure.”
Surrendering to him and allowing him to walk us through will not only increase our capacity to handle more in the future, but will also grow us immensely in the process. When we walk with the one who has been through challenging times, we are able to learn from him and model his characteristics throughout the challenge. This ultimately brings about lasting change in our lives and through this change, we are able to better face challenges as well as encourage and help other individuals who may also go through something similar.
Are you allowing yourself to learn from challenges that come your way? Are you taking calculated risks in order to grow your capacity to handle more in the future? And most importantly: Have you surrendered your life to Jesus, the one who gave up his life for you? He will always be your most trusted guide through any challenge you may come across in life!
Lauren has been working at Camp Sonshine in some capacity for 12 years! She likes meowntains of cats almost as much as she loves her son, Jack, and husband, Kyle! She isn’t a huge fan of vegetables, but is a huge fan of dancing. Because of that love, she has an awesome side-hustle as a REFIT instructor! Lauren is a huge fan of cheering on Camp Sonshine staff and campers to “do hard things in Jesus name!” and to help them become/grow into more of who God created them to be!