by Katie Baganz
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
I am a planner. I love to plan, I find joy in organization, and I appreciate the achievement of a well-executed and challenging task. There has always been comfort for me in preparation and security for me in knowing the details. Essentially, my personal comfort zone was focused on planning and having thorough knowledge. It was about ensuring that all the details were fully planned and under my control. It was about arranging and executing my plan of action.
But what I have learned is that true comfort, contentment, or peace doesn’t necessarily stem from planning out the intricate details of my life’s trajectory. Within the past several years, I have made a deliberate effort to be open to what God may have in store for me. What is my purpose? How will God use me? Where is He leading me? That openness has led to some interesting adventures, challenges, and opportunities that I would never have imagined nor planned. Through those professional ministry experiences that God placed in my life’s journey, I’ve learned that true spiritual contentment and peace can be found in trusting God’s plan wherever it may take me.
What does this mean for my proverbial comfort zone? It means I need to consistently redefine my comfort zone. I must be open and ready for God’s plan to take hold and lead the way. Not only that, but I also need to step outside that existing comfort zone to make myself available for ministry opportunities that lie just beyond its comfortable boundaries.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s time to redefine our comfort zones as we make ourselves subservient to God’s will. I’m not just saying this to make a point: I’m trying to live it too. Personally and professionally, I’m taking a big leap of faith this summer, a journey which will take me out of my comfort zone. I’m going to be a principal of a Lutheran high school for the first time.
In redefining my comfort zone, the focus is no longer on me. Now my new comfort is actually contentment that is focused upon seeking God’s will in my life and ministry. This notion of the redefinition of the safety of the comfort zone to a newly focused spiritual contentment may be crucial for those who need the encouragement to prayerfully consider taking on leadership positions within our church and school communities.
Secular psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who is famous in education circles for his theoretical framework of the Hierarchy of Needs, stated, “In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” Stepping forward into growth is not usually comfortable. In fact, it is downright scary to leave our comfort zones. But as Christians, we are not called to do what might be easy. Rather, we are called to do that which God has planned for us (Ephesians 2:10).
My personal journey up to this point has been full of interesting twists and turns. I’ve learned to be open to God’s design for my ministry, and that has been an incredible adventure with countless blessings.
So how exactly is it that I will be the next principal of Lake Country Lutheran High School? Accepting this call to be principal is a redefinition of my comfort zone and it is an amazing opportunity to serve God and others in ways that I never would have planned myself. I know it was God’s plan, and it was not part of my plan. I am definitely stepping outside my comfort zone and redefining that comfort zone to focus on contentment in serving where God leads me.
Katie Baganz is currently Assistant Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin, but will be Principal at Lake Country Lutheran High School in Hartland, WI starting this summer. She can be reached at Kathryn.Baganz@cuw.edu.