Monday, February 26, 2024

克服走出舒適圈的恐懼── OVERCOMING FEAR OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

去年12月,我寫了一篇週一嗎哪,是關於在生活、工作方面讓我們感覺安全熟悉的「舒適圈」和其優點與受限之處。我們在「舒適圈」裡很安全,但是一直待在那裡可能會阻礙我們個人和專業的發展。我們為什麼會留在舒適圈?我想這是因為我們認為舒適圈外是「恐懼區」。

如果我們做了放棄舒適圈的重要決定,就會發現自己進入了一個陌生、未知的領域,使我們失去自信。我們害怕遇到前所未見的挑戰,我們可能會被他人的觀點壓倒、影響。我們沒有大膽地冒險進入未知世界,而是躲在藉口的背後。

恐懼不一定是壞事。它讓我們處於警覺、腎上腺素激增的狀態,為周遭的威脅做好準備。但是恐懼也會使我們癱瘓,讓我們無法採取任何行動,甚至無法採取積極措施來成長以及發展職涯。多年下來,我了解到這是我們屬靈仇敵——撒但的詭計,正如聖經警告我們的那樣。有人告訴我們撒旦「如同吼叫的獅子,遍地遊行,尋找可吞吃的人」(彼得前書5章8節)。使人動彈不得的恐懼會讓我們變成牠的獵物。

恐懼有很多種:害怕出錯、害怕沒有做出正確的決定、擔心別人會怎麼想、對未知的恐懼。這使我想到以色列人在埃及為奴被釋放之後,儘管埃及對他們來說是逆境,但仍然是一個「舒適圈」(就是大家都知道和熟悉的地方)。對未知的不安變成了恐懼。他們開始合理化說:「埃及其實還算不錯。」他們想放棄並回頭,至少埃及有「洋蔥和大蒜」。令人驚訝的是,他們得出的結論為:死於埃及比在沙漠中生存更好。

焦慮症被稱為「本世紀的邪惡之一」,這種疾病困擾著各個年齡層的人,包含兒童到老年人。我們會擔心還沒發生或可能永遠不會發生的事情。我們應該如何面對恐懼?聖經提供了寶貴的指導:

上帝的命令。上帝吩咐以色列人說:「我豈沒有吩咐你嗎?你當剛強壯膽!不要懼怕,也不要驚惶;因為你無論往哪裏去,耶和華─你的 神必與你同在。」(約書亞記1章9節)無論是離開我們的舒適圈或是面臨巨大挑戰,面對恐懼都是神的指示。我們可以將它看作第十一條誡命:「你不要害怕……」(詩篇91篇5節)。

得勝者的心。使徒保羅是年輕的門徒提摩太的導師,提摩太發現自己被猶太領導人不想離開舒適圈的障礙所包圍。保羅挑戰他要堅持不懈,勝過這些:「因為 神賜給我們,不是膽怯的心,乃是剛強、仁愛、謹守的心。」(提摩太後書1章7節)

即便不確定仍有信心。恐懼通常是不可避免的。環境、問題和障礙會攻擊我們的信心,但是,詩篇作者大衛根據自己的經驗寫道:「我懼怕的時候要倚靠你……我倚靠 神,必不懼怕。血氣之輩能把我怎麼樣呢?」(詩篇56篇3-4節)

即便面對死亡也不恐懼。生活有時會讓我們陷入絕望的境地,似乎注定了不好的結局。但是神的話語能給我們無與倫比的力量:「我雖然行過死蔭的幽谷,也不怕遭害,因為你與我同在;你的杖,你的竿,都安慰我。」(詩篇23篇4節)

你是否發現自己正走出舒適圈進入恐懼區呢?因為全能的上帝確實與我們同在,所以我們可以正視恐懼,恐懼區是值得面對和克服,正如我在未來的「週一嗎哪」會寫:「下一階段就是學習區!」

©版權所有 為賽爾吉澳․佛提斯。他是一位策略管理顧問,專長是企業領導。他也是巴西聖保 羅市CBMC的會員,他協助複審週一嗎哪和將其翻譯成葡萄牙文已經有20多年的時間。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想閱讀更多,請參考以下的經文(因經文較長,考慮到篇幅和新舊約經文,您可以自行參閱未列出的經文:馬太福音6:25-31)

以賽亞書26章3-4節
26:3堅心倚賴你的,你必保守他十分平安,因為他倚靠你。
26:4你們當倚靠耶和華直到永遠,因為耶和華是永久的磐石。

以賽亞書41章10-14節
41:10 你不要害怕,因為我與你同在;不要驚惶,因為我是你的 神。我必堅固你,我必幫助你;我必用我公義的右手扶持你。
41:11 凡向你發怒的必都抱愧蒙羞;與你相爭的必如無有,並要滅亡。
41:12 與你爭競的,你要找他們也找不著;與你爭戰的必如無有,成為虛無。
41:13 因為我耶和華─你的 神必攙扶你的右手,對你說:不要害怕!我必幫助你。
41:14 你這蟲雅各和你們以色列人,不要害怕!耶和華說:我必幫助你。你的救贖主就是以色列的聖者。

耶利米書29章11-13節
29:11耶和華說:我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。
29:12你們要呼求我,禱告我,我就應允你們。
29:13你們尋求我,若專心尋求我,就必尋見。

耶利米書33章3節
33:3 你求告我,我就應允你,並將你所不知道、又大又難的事指示你。

馬太福音6章31-34節
6:31 所以,不要憂慮說,吃甚麼?喝甚麼?穿甚麼?
6:32 這都是外邦人所求的,你們需用的這一切東西,你們的天父是知道的。
6:33 你們要先求他的國和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了。
6:34 所以,不要為明天憂慮,因為明天自有明天的憂慮;一天的難處一天當就夠了。」
以弗所書3章20節
3:20 神能照著運行在我們心裏的大力充充足足地成就一切,超過我們所求所想的。

反省與問題討論

  1. 根據你的經驗,你會如何定義「舒適圈」?你的舒適圈是由甚麼構成的?你覺得自己很難突破舒適圈嗎?
  2. 本篇作者認為當我們決心踏出舒適圈時,便進入了「恐懼區」。你認為恐懼在維持熟悉和舒適的環境中所扮演的角色是甚麼?
  3. 你最常面對什麼樣的恐懼?你用什麼方式克服它們?
  4. 聖經中有很多應許,能幫助我們克服冒險走出舒適圈外的恐懼。你覺得它們有幫助嗎?如果有,是用什麼方式?如果沒有,為什麼?

OVERCOMING FEAR OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

By Sergio M. Fortes

Some time ago I wrote about the benefits – and limitations – of living and working in the “comfort zone,” areas we find comfortable and familiar. We find security there, but staying there may inhibit our personal and professional development. Why do we remain there? I believe it is because of what we might call “the Fear Zone.”

When we make the important decision to abandon the comfort zone, we find ourselves entering an unfamiliar, untested realm characterized by an absence of self-confidence. Fearful of challenges we have never faced before, we might feel overpowered and influenced by the opinions of others. Rather than boldly venturing into the unknown, we take refuge in excuses.

Fear is not necessarily bad. It puts us on alert, adrenaline surging within us to prepare us for threats that surround us. But fear can also paralyze and disable us from taking any action, even positive steps for growth and professional advancement. Over the years I have learned this is the strategy of the enemy of our souls – Satan – as the Scriptures warn us. We are told he “roars like a lion looking for a victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Immobilizing fear can turn us into easy prey.

There are many kinds of fear: Fear of going wrong. Fear of not making the right decision. Fear of what others might think. Fear of the unknown. This brings to mind the people of Israel after they had been freed from slavery in Egypt. Despite the adversity they had left behind, it still represented a “comfort zone” for them – the known and familiar. Discomfort with the unknown turned into dread. They began to rationalize: “It wasn’t so bad back there.” They wanted to give up and turn back, to return to the “onions and garlic” from Egypt. Amazingly, they concluded that dying in Egypt would be better than surviving in the desert.

Anxiety has been called “one of the evils of the century,” something that afflicts all ages, from children to the elderly. We fear in advance things that have not yet happened and may never happen. How should we deal with fear? The Bible provides us with precious guidance:

A divine command. Addressing the Israelites, God instructed, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whether leaving our comfort zone or facing a big challenge, confronting fear is a divine directive. We might regard this as the 11th commandment: “You shall not be afraid…” (Psalm 91:5).

Spirit of a winner. Paul the apostle was mentor to his young protégé, Timothy, who found himself surrounded by obstacles imposed by Jewish leaders who did not want to leave their own comfort zones. Paul challenged him to persevere, to win: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, pf love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Confidence despite uncertainty. Fear is often inevitable. Circumstances, problems and obstacles attack our faith. However, drawing from personal experience, the psalmist David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you…in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).

No fear, not even of death. Life can put us into situations that appear hopeless, when it seems our end has been decreed. But God’s Word comes to us with unbeatable power: “Even though I walk through a dark valley like death, I will not be afraid of anything. For you, O Lord God, are with me; you protect me and direct me” (Psalm 23 4).

Do you find yourself outside your comfort zone and into the zone of fear? We can stare it down, because of the certainty that Almighty God is with us. The Fear Zone is worth facing and overcoming, because as I will write in a future edition of “Monday Manna,” the next stage is the Learning Zone!

Sergio Fortes is a mentor and consultant in logistics and corporate strategic business. As a member of CBMC in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, he has coordinated the translation of Monday Manna into Portuguese for more than 20 years. He is committed to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to make disciples.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. By way of review, how would you define the “comfort zone”? What makes up the comfort zone for you? How difficult do you find it to venture outside this comfort zone?
  2. Mr. Fortes suggests a “Fear Zone” confronts us if and when we determine to step beyond our comfort zones? What kind of role do you think fear plays in encouraging us to remain with the familiar and comfortable?
  3. What kinds of fear do you find yourself dealing with most commonly? In what ways have you been able to overcome them?
  4. A number of biblical promises are presented for enabling us to overcoming the fear of venturing outside our comfort zones. Do you find them helpful? If so, in what ways? If not, why?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:

Isaiah 26:3-4, 41:10-14; Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians 3:20


32