When you’re out of your comfort zone

Summer is my favorite time of year. I usually go to a camp for Christian Scientists. I’ve made some of my best friends at camp, and I wouldn’t trade my summers there for anything. My experiences at camp have also taught me what to do when you feel out of your comfort zone.

One summer, for example, I was trying a new camp for Christian Scientists that had more rugged activities than I was used to. I didn’t feel I was as athletic as everyone there, so I was worried that I would struggle a little. 

The day came for us to peak a mountain, and about halfway into the hike, I started to feel lightheaded and told the group to stop. All the others in the group had done at least three of these climbs and were at ease, but even after that first stop, I had to keep asking if we could take another break because I didn’t feel great. I felt bad for stopping the group so many times and eventually told them it would probably be best if they went ahead without me. 

I felt bad for stopping the group so many times and told them it would probably be best if they went ahead without me. 

That’s when one of the adults who was with us asked me what my favorite hymn is. I told him that it’s Hymn 500 from the Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430–603. This was the first hymn I ever heard at a camp hymn sing, and it’s stuck with me ever since. One line that means a lot to me says, “I can walk with Love through the valley of fear” (Susan Booth Mack Snipes, © In Our Field Productions). Well, this definitely wasn’t a valley, but our chaperone said I could still walk with Love, God, rather than with fear. 

There was still a voice in my head saying I was never going to make it to the top, but whenever I had that thought, I reminded myself that I wasn’t walking alone; I was walking with Love. I stopped giving in to the thought of defeat and started feeling more confident that divine Love was supporting me.

And yes, all of us did make it to our goal of 13,000 feet, where we fell to the ground in extreme happiness. It’s a tradition to take a candy bar with you and to bite into it after you’ve reached your goal, and that was a very sweet finish to walking with Love. 

I stopped giving in to the thought of defeat and started feeling more confident that Love was supporting me. 

I felt very accomplished, and after that climb, I didn’t get stuck in the valley of fear again for the whole rest of the summer. For instance, I had never done a high ropes course before, but I did one the day after our hike and ziplined without any difficulties. I also took another hike up 11,000 feet. I did lots of things outside of my comfort zone, and I learned that real comfort comes from doing things—even those things that seem scary at first—with Love.

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Stuck on the ski slope
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Teacher trouble
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Getting along
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“The best thing I could do was pray”
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Batting down fear
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When I lost my AirPods case
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A quick healing of a fractured wrist
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Sailing with strength
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A healing of my own
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Pray about sports? Really?
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Horse trouble. Horse triumph.
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In the middle of the woods, God was there
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My relatives saw that I was healed
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The strength to run my race
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Keeping up at camp

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