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I know, right? What an interesting picture to use for a piece of writing that is supposed to uplift, empower and ignite a strong fire in you. Yeah, I know. THIS isn’t that piece. At least not at first. Prepare to get uncomfortable. EXTREMELY uncomfortable! Why? Because your comfort zone is the place of enslavement that has held you back long enough. It is the place where your thoughts and your excuses have held you captive. It is the place where you have grown accustomed to NOT GROWING- to NOT STEPPING OUT ON FAITH with a DREAM…with a VISION…with PASSION to leave the world better, even if only slightly, for having had YOU in it. Your comfort zone is the place where you have allowed the past to define you and rob you of your GOD-GIVEN right to prosper and to soar beyond heights of anyone in your family or in your generation. Your comfort zone is the place where the “I cannot do this” and the “What if I fail?” resound so loudly in your mind that the still small voice that says, “But I am with you” has been drowned out and mistaken for noise. So yeah. I want you to get uncomfortable. I figured I might as well tell you what you were in for before you kept reading, because this ride won’t be a smooth one. Strap up and GET READY TO GET UNCOMFORTABLE…..

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If you are reading this, and you are in a perfect place in your life where you are fulfilled, walking in purpose and everything– your relationships, financial status, career, your spiritual self and your health- are all in tact and Pleasantville perfect, then you can skip to the next article or wait until next Sunday when a “softer, more friendly” article may come from my keyboard. But…if you are in need of increase in ANY area of your life, keep reading. THIS one is for YOU. Are you uncomfortable yet? Not quite? Keep reading.

If you want INCREASE in your life, you must create it. Wait. Stop. Reread that. I need you to understand why that statement is as powerful as it is. That statement implies that YOU have the POWER to create increase in YOUR own life. In other words, you don’t have to wait on your spouse, your boss, your children, your Cousin John or ANYONE to put in a good word for you or recognize the fact that you are special (because believe it or not YOU ARE SPECIAL, and God made only ONE of YOU). The power for change has always been right within your grasp. The power to increase and grab abundance and make it yours is SOLELY up to you. Now for some of you, that is scary. Why? Because, well, let’s be honest, you are lazy. You have gotten this far in life by blaming your current circumstances in life on what “they” did and what “they” said- what was “supposed” to happen who did you “wrong”. I would venture to say that this type of thinking, blaming and excusing has not gotten you very far. For others of you the idea of increase being in your grasp is exciting! You have been wondering what to do next, and you have had every confidence that if you only knew the right thing to do, you would do it, and it would yield a harvest that is unspeakable, undeniable and unshakable. It boils down to this: what are you thinking? What are the most pervasive thoughts in your mind? Do you really think you are amazingly and uniquely talented and put on this earth at this time for a specific purpose? Minding your mind– AKA paying attention to HOW you think- is crucial to breaking out of your comfort zone and going boldly towards breakthrough into the life that you have only dreamed of. You BREAK OUT then BREAKTHROUGH.

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In order to INCREASE in any area of your life, you must increase your capacity to endure delayed discomfort. Endurancenoun– definition- the power to bear pain and hardships; the ability or strength to continue or last despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions. Imagine this: a runner trains for years just to run a two-minute race. He is ahead of all of the other competitors, running his best time ever then- he stops right before he crosses the line. Do all the years of training matter? NO. Does the fact that he was beating his competitors, brutally I might add, mean anything to the man whose duty it is to announce the winner? NO. The fact is he did not endure. He did not last. He did not finish, so he did not win. If every time you get a little uncomfortable or things get a little rough you retreat back to your comfort zone, then you are not ready for increase. You are not ready to win. If every time someone says “No”, overlooks you or doesn’t tell you how wonderful and fabulous you are- you get an attitude, give up or doubt yourself- you are not ready to win. I am not being cruel. I am being realistic. I am trying to help you get used to the idea of being uncomfortable OUTSIDE of your comfort zone because endurance is the only way that you will get the prize. You only reap if you don’t faint or give up. I believe Galatians 6:9 when it tells me that. Believe ME when I tell YOU.

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If INCREASE is on your agenda, optimism must be on there too. I have said it once, and I will say it again: lose your keys, lose your wallet, lose your earrings or your sweetheart, but DO NOT LOSE HOPE. Optimism is the doorway to hope. Seeing the bright side, the positive side, the glass half-full- you know all the jargon- especially when you are in the place of contradiction- means that you can cultivate the hope that things will get even better. Optimism keeps you in a place to do what you CAN do instead of being sidetracked or stuck by the things that you CANNOT do. Action keeps you empowered, and empowerment keeps you headed in the right direction.

You will not increase in any area of your life if you don’t INCREASE your capacity to dream. Lately, I have been eating in restaurants and wondering- out of all the people there enjoying their Wild Atlantic salmon and mixed greens or friend chicken and biscuits, how many of them were truly fulfilled in their lives? How many of them were living or pursuing their dream? How many of them woke up truly happy, truly full of joy and truly thankful for the life that they had been blessed to live? I couldn’t tell by the looks on their faces. You know that we know how to “play” happy, and by the same token, I couldn’t just assume that a sad face meant that they weren’t fulfilled. It’s hard to tell. Nevertheless, I still wonder. I tell myself that if someone sitting in the booth next to mine were wondering the same thing about me and if that same person would read my Facebook posts and wonder if I was really like enthusiastic and upbeat like that all the time or if a stranger would walk into my high school Language Arts class and by chance think that they had just caught me on a “good day” because I was smiling entirely too much- I would want them to know that I was on my way to increase- not just materially- but in EVERY area of my life. What I am telling you to do, I have been doing myself. That’s why I can sincerely tell you that forsaking your comfort zone is worth it!  I have been consciously asking God to increase my capacity to love like Him so that when I love others, I use His supply, which is perfect and unfailing- and not my own, which honestly, can vary based on how I am feeling. Human love is flawed. Agape love is perfect. I want to increase God’s love in my life so I can love myself and others better.

I wouldn’t end this letting you think that the only increase I was referring to was materialistic. I mean, honestly, nice, shiny, pretty, expensive (but on “things” are good, but do you know what is better?

The smile on a woman’s face when you have touched her life….

The inbox messages and texts that say you are an inspiration….

The hugs and smiles and warm feelings that you get when you have given ANYTHING to ANYONE because you are so abundantly full that you have no choice but to give to others….

THAT, my friends, is better than ANY car….house….pair of shoes or overpriced handbag that can fade, be stolen or decrease in value.

Impact lasts forever- for generations to come beyond what you may ever be able to see. But how can you impact others in your comfort zone? How can you be a light if you are hidden among broken dreams and disappointments?

I hope you are uncomfortable. I hope you are inspired to get out and stay out of your comfort zone because out there- beyond where you can fully see right now- someone is waiting for YOU. Yes, YOU. Someone needs you. They need just a touch of the overflow that you have. THAT is why YOUR increase and your victory is necessary; someone needs just a touch of what you have to offer, but they will never get it if you are not willing to GET UNCOMFORTABLE. Jump out the box. Great things await you out here….

C. Mack

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