Stretching Beyond My Comfort Zone

March 14, 2013 — 33 Comments

I am so excited to share guest blogger Eileen Knowles.  Eileen guest posted here back in July 2012 while I was in Guatemala (Living the Lessons).  Today, she shares about a recent STRETCHING experience in which she references a recent blog post – Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone…My First Vlog.  Please read her post, answer the questions, and stop by Eileen’s blog for more great writing.

(I’d love to share your STRETCHED story with The Stretched Community.  Let me know if you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger here by leaving a comment.)

Last week, I tried something new and scary on my blog. I stretched out of my comfort zone. I came out from behind my computer screen and recorded a video post. And, not only that, the Lord was prompting me to share a portion of my journey in recovery and freedom from addiction.

I’ve shared my story before on my blog, but never in front of a camera. I sometimes find it amusing how God decides to work when He prompts us to move beyond the familiar. He didn’t call me to simply show my face and talk about something lighthearted and safe.

If God had left it completely up to me, I would have LOVED to talk about coffee.  I love coffee.  Other people I know love coffee.  Wouldn’t being in front of a camera talking about something like this be a nice place to start when we choose to follow God out into unknown territory?

But, God had a different plan for me last week. And, His plan didn’t involve a small timid step. His plan involved a bigger leap of faith.

Eileen…share what I’ve done in your life. Encourage people to not give up. Remind them that they are not alone in their struggles. Tell them about freedom!

I was reminded last week that God never calls us out in order for us to play it safe. There will always be risk involved when He invites us to take a leap of faith. Yet, if we choose not to trust Him or to follow His lead, we risk something far greater.

As I stretched beyond my comfort zone last week, it was this beautiful what-if question that carried me forward.

What if by taking this risk God uses me to help just one person move from captivity to freedom?

God desires to use each of us in a unique way…and, most likely, the journey will involve some scary stretching!  [Click to Tweet]

Take a moment a think back on your most recent trip out of your comfort zone.
What was the result?
What did you learn?

Eileen Knowles is a small town Arizona girl who studied English at The University of Arizona a long, long time ago. She now lives in small town North Carolina with her husband, Roger, their nine-year old son, and one quirky dog named Bisbee. When she is not working part-time as a Virtual Assistant for eaHelp, she thoroughly enjoys drinking coffee, running, playing Scrabble, and writing about how cool it is to journey through life with Jesus holding her hand.

Eileen is passionate about leaving a legacy for her son and encouraging others along the way who might need a dose of hope poured into their weary lives.

You can find her taking at The Scenic Route


Jon Stolpe


Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • Caleb

    Eileen I love your perspective! I have often thought of how we tend to move towards safety, ease and comfort in our lives. God wants us to move towards faith and every time we take a step of faith we must risk something! Thanks for sharing!

    • Eileen Knowles

      I agree, Caleb. My knee-jerk reaction has always been to play it safe…especially if I end up stepping out and failing. But, I know from hindsight that failure has grown me in ways success never has. Constantly trying to remind myself of that!

  • Pingback: A Stretching Experience | The Scenic Route()

  • Jean Wise

    Stretch is my one word for 2013 so have been praying and seeking this this year. Wow have been thinking about a vlog too…..mmmm, coffee would be safe. LOL really enjoyed reading this post! thanks

    • Eileen Knowles

      Let me know when you post a Vlog, Jean. I would love to watch it!

    • Jon Stolpe

      Love that word!

  • Larry Carter

    I love Eileen’s story. I read her everyday (I don’t comment often enough). Great thoughts here today. I went to a Christian rehab center recently with my church. That is a bit out of my comfort zone. Looking for more.

    • Eileen Knowles

      Nice stretching story, Larry. We learn so much about ourselves and those we come in contact with when we do take the risk.

    • Jon Stolpe

      Yes, she’s definitely one of the great ones in the blog world.

  • David Paul Stolpe

    Thanks Eileen, I am not sure it I have an immediate answer on what risks I am being called to take at the moment, butt this is probably something I should give some thought to and have the courage or maybe obedience to take those risks.

    • Eileen Knowles

      Yes, David. Courage and obedience. It certainly takes a mixture of the two.

  • Sele Mitchell

    A great reminder Eileen. “God never calls us out in order to play it safe.” This is so true and something that we need to remember every day. Too many times we ignore the call because it is so far out of our comfort zone.
    It’s also great to read another Tarheel blogger!

    • Eileen Knowles

      Well, nice to meet you! I’m over in the Great Dismal Swamp. Whereabouts are you?

      • Sele Mitchell

        Not too far away, I’m in a small town outside of Greenville.

        • Eileen Knowles

          Nice! We’re practically neighbors.

  • Deborah K. Anderson

    Way to go, Eileen. God will use you to help many. What you went through will not be in vain.

    • Eileen Knowles

      Very true, Deborah. Each trial becomes an opportunity.

  • Carol Peterson

    Thank you for the reminder, Eileen. I agree that God purposely wants to use us in ways that are outside our comfort zone, more often than He wants to use us in a way that’s easy for us. Growing pains are sometimes tough but it’s nice when we sprout up and shine.

    • Eileen Knowles

      Nicely worded, Carol. I want to sprout and shine too. :)

  • David

    Eileen, as I was reading your post today I could sense within me that I too am being called out of my comfort zone. With the new year (well, not so “new” anymore) I’ve been writing more, mainly through posting comments on blogs which is something I never did prior to the fall of 2012. I’ve never been one to “put myself out there”. But I sense that there is something bigger that God is calling me to do as I wade through and take inventory of the skeletons in my closet. I’m trusting God will show me which one(s) I need to pull out of my closet and show the world and then, of course, I’ll have to find the courage to jump …..

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Eileen Knowles

      Thanks for sharing this, David. It’s an exciting and yet terrifying spot to be, isn’t it? I know God will continue to reveal whatever that next step is for you. I have no doubt that when we step out in obedience, He is faithful to use it!!

    • Jon Stolpe

      Keep us posted and where this goes. I would definitely follow your blog….

  • Eileen Knowles

    Thanks again, Jon! It’s been a pleasure to be here today!

    • Jon Stolpe

      Thank you! It’s been a great day here. Thanks for sharing your stretch story and for being active in the comments!

  • chris vonada

    Oh gosh, I don’t like it when God asks me to be stretched but I do appreciate people who are real and authentic. That, I guess, is part of His message, that we don’t really need to be superficial. Whether we’re just talking with our children, spouse, in a small group or even here on the internet, we can and should be “bold” and just be ourselves. Hats off to you Eileen for stepping out in faith and for your first vlog, they get easier after the initial leap of faith :-)

    • Eileen Knowles

      I agree, Chris. I am drawn to authentic. Great advice…just be ourselves!

  • Lynn Mosher

    Always scary, isn’t it, Eileen? Writing still scares me since God called me 13 years ago! May the Lord bless you for stepping out! Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

    • Eileen Knowles

      Yep, there are times it still scares me too!

  • TMZ

    Such a great, simple post of ‘stretching’ beyond our comfort zones. Good stuff!

    Would love to guest for you someday, Jon. Could certainly think of a few ‘stretching’ experiences from the last couple years especially…

    • Jon Stolpe

      I’d love to share your stretching story here. I just you an e-mail.

  • Terrie

    Nice site Jon – Love the concept. Thank you Eileen for sharing your story – I hope for many blessings as you continue in faith. I always get those preemptive butterflies every time I am called to do things a little different and I wish I could say that I face them head on, but no I whine a bit and ask “Are you sure?” then I move out- It is ALWAYS good for me and the new blessings I receive are overwhelming. All I can say is keep on going no matter what – the Lord has a special thing in mind, that we get to participate in – WOW

    • Eileen Knowles

      Thanks, Terrie!

    • Jon Stolpe

      Thanks, Terrie!