Comfort Zone

I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort. I’m not a lover of winter, and I’m beginning to hate the cold more and more. My hot tub has become my new best friend. It warms me up and brings comfort to my sometimes-aching body (thank you, running partners, for getting me up at 5 am!). It’s undemanding, relaxing, and requires nothing of me.

When I think about entertaining – immediately my mind goes to comfort. Comfort is easy – it makes you feel good. It soothes, consoles, and reassures that everything is okay. We all love comfort.

I want entertaining to come easy – I want a perfect meal with ideal guests, a beautiful table setting with ambience that is surreal. I want conversation to flow and guests to leave refreshed.

With entertaining, I often find myself being stretched outside of my comfort zone. This happens when it doesn’t go exactly the way I think it should. There are often glitches when I have to learn to move through the situation with grace and ease.

To all of us, being stretched means different things. To some it might mean gaining enough courage to invite people into your home! To some it might mean stepping up your cooking a little bit. To many it means taking the risk of asking people to come into your non-perfect house?

I know what God requires of me, and that is sometimes to be stretched outside of my comfort zone. The beauty of hospitality is that it flows differently to each individual, so there is no certain way that something has to be done.

It’s not easy for me to leave my comfort zone, but I have to determine in my mind that it’s actually helping me grow when I leave it! I’m still learning to become more courageous and flexible.

I’m wondering if you, too, struggle with leaving your comfort zone?

(Read more posts here on "flexibility” and “courage.” Photos: table setting from dinner a couple weeks ago.)

A beautiful act of kindness: A woman locked her keys in her car while visiting our neighbor next door, so my husband took her home. One week later she delivered this HOT apple pie to our front door! Delicious! Were we lucky, or what?


Nadine said...

Stretching is good for us, even if it's uncomfortable at times. It's how we grow. If always do things in our comfort zone we wouldn't grow. Another good post Sandy.

Yummy looking pie...boy you guys were blessed.

Myrna said...

Good Morning! I love description of comfort--and the hot tub. Enwrapped is how I often want my guests to feel. When my guests are comforted/comfortable, joy comes to my household-and follows them home! Achieving this sometimes requires 'stretching' and sometimes 'releasing'. I'm remembering hospitality extended to me that was so precious. I showed up on my girlfriends' doorstep in tears, she wasn't expecting anyone, toys and laundry were strewn, breakfast and lunch dishes piled high---but she whisked me inside, cleared a spot on the couch, brought me tea and a sandwich, and listened, cared and prayed with/for me.
And another sweet memory; The first family to invite my family to their home when we moved to Oregon were so gracious. They were a family of 6 living in a small 2 bedroom house. The dishes were mismatched, the food simple (I'm sure having us over challenged their grocery budget) But they were so generous and genuinely happy, we felt so welcomed and honored. We became friends, a friendship that has grown in the last 22 years. Everything rarely (if ever) has to be "just so". Relax a bit, watch for joy.
Blessings everyone!

momrn2 said...

We were talking about our "comfort zone" this weekend in our own home. There are some situations and decisions coming up that may usher us right out of our comfort zone and stretch us. We are seeking and praying... but oh how I know what you are talking about!

Fabulous post!

~j~ said...

oh my... you read my heart Sandy.
thank you,

Dawn said...

Thank you for sharing such wise thoughts. That pie looks delicious, what a sweet act of gratitude from the lady who made it.

Rhonda said...

I've been in 'hibernate' mode, and I know it's time to come out. I've been craving the comfort food lately. Better get back to 'counting points'!

That pie looks like a lovely thank-you for a kind gesture.

OKGardners said...

Another "comfortable" post from you. You always have such insight and just the perfect words to describe your feelings.

What a blessing to get the unexpected pie! That was a wonderful gesture from the lady.

Thanks for inspiring all of us! Thanks for caring for and loving your Balcony Girls, too!They are truly blessed by you.

Betty in Oklahoma

linda t said...

I'm heading up an "Elegant Evening of DInner & Dancing" at our church on Friday night, for 40 couples! (sponsored by the marriage retreat ministry that we teach at)
Talk about being out of my comfort zone! I am so nervous but SOOO excited! Thank God I am not doing the cooking, but I am the hostess for the evening, which I love to do!
Thanks to you, I am inspired to stretch myself and let the Lord use me in ways beyond what I think I am able! Thanks Sandy!

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I am quite fond of my comfort zone... unfortunately I would be very lonely and stagnant if I stayed there. But, it's not always so easy to leave even though I know the benefits. My biggest hurdle is inviting people into my home right now... with a new baby and two other children to care for on top of being a wife, I feel like I have little time to entertain. Coupled with my house not being up to par with how I like it to be. Ugg. But, those are just excuses.... I must have the company of others as life is all about relationships!!


Tiffany Stuart said...

Entertaining is definitely out of my comfort zone. Yet when I do invite others in, I love it. It's moving past being afraid of how I cook, what I make, and the whole presentation of it.

I like simple best.
Thanks for the challenge.

Bettsi McComb said...

Hi Sandy! Great post! Even if I don't always comment, I do appreciate your thoughtful posts. Hope you are having a terrific day!

see you there! said...

Your husband showed such kindness and there it was - handed back in the form of a delicious pie. We never know what our actions are going to bring do we?


:..Rebekah..: said...

I'm so glad you commented on my blog because now I know of yours! I love, love, love having people over to my home and cooking for them. I love your blog and I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about comfort. I also love making my home a place that is warm, cozy, and inviting to anyone who enters the door.

I think I will be greatly encouraged and learn alot more about hospitality by visiting you here.

Terri said...

The table looks lovely. I prefer the darker, richer colors too.

What I really need is to learn to relax when I am the hostess. I usually am so worked up about what the guests think that I don't enjoy things myself.

God bless