Do nervous chills sweep through you, like they do me, whenever you think of that tangible line separating your comfort zone from the rest of the world? Let’s face it, that place is scary. I don’t know about you, but I hate stepping outside of my comfort zone. Is it ever easy? I don’t think so.

In the last month, I’ve interviewed a couple people for potential article ideas. I realize that may not sound too difficult for some people, but for me it was a huge step into the unknown. Insecurities about myself, as well as my writing, shadowed me.

My hubby went with me – always a blessing and support – and encouraged me to press forward. I could do this, I reminded myself. This wasn’t my first article, after all. We prayed. Then there was nothing left but to begin.

My first interview was with a blacksmith, who welcomed us into his shop and shared about his family’s four generations of blacksmiths. He demonstrated how he hand-forges all his tools and talked of his family’s history. My head was spinning with all the rich and fascinating details. I left that interview surprised at just how much fun we’d had.

Then my second interview was with a novelist-turned-artist who creates pine needle sculptures. Again, another field I knew little about, but my heart easily related to the deep desire to create. This kind woman welcomed me to her studio and showed me how she weaved her art together and told me her life’s story. I was spellbound. Maybe, I thought, this stepping-out-of-your-comfort-zone thing wasn’t so bad after all.

As I sat there on the couch with her – this inspiring, fascinating artist – I savored every minute of our conversation and her stories. It was during the interview that I learned some things about myself. I learned it was okay to step out in faith. To try new things. To open up to people and let in new experiences. To trust God, relax, and just enjoy whatever comes from His hand. My world expanded a bit more that day. My comfort zone stretched a little further.

I’m not saying that line will always be easy to cross. I know I’ve not seen the last of my nerves and doubts, but the discovery beyond my comfort zone has been wonderful. It really is a beautiful, bright place after all.

I came home from both of these experiences full of inspiration – not only to write, but to live my life with heart and eyes open. I don’t want to shy away from challenges that grow and teach me. At the end of the day, it’s those experiences I remember and treasure the most.

I’m grateful to these individuals who gave me their time and shared pieces of their life’s work with me. Hopefully – Lord-willing – you’ll see their stories in print some day soon. 🙂