“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But the new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22 (New KJV)
The example of the new wine and old wineskins is the perfect illustration of not being able to fit into places you have outgrown. Here’s a quick wine lesson:
When wine is new, it’s in a state of fermentation and it bubbles and expands as the fermentation gases are released. A fresh wineskin is very pliable and able to expand as the wine undergoes fermentation.
However, an old wineskin has already been stretched and lacks the elasticity of the new wineskin. The old wineskin has already assumed its definite shape. Thus, the old wineskin can’t accommodate the new wine because it has “no room to grow.” Pouring new wine in old wineskin would cause a mess.
We know firsthand that this concept is not exclusive to wine and wineskins. This concept applies to not only physical places, but mindsets and relationships as well. When we try to hold on to “people, places, and things” we have outgrown, we do a disservice to ourselves and postpone the work God wants to do in our lives. Advancement can be uncomfortable and things that don’t develop—die. When we choose familiarity over our faith, we stunt our maturity. Maturity is necessary for our next level.
I used to live in my comfort zone. I would shy away from opportunities that would potentially force me outside of the walls of my solace. It took a few hard lessons for me to realize that the call on my life would not be fulfilled from that place. As the quote says, “a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” My desire is to walk in purpose, flourish and become greater than my attachment to my comfort zone.
We see growth every day, yet it’s so hard for us to let go and thrive.
When a woman is pregnant, her stomach doesn’t remain the same size during the pregnancy. Her belly increases to accommodate the baby sprouting in her womb. A mother can only carry the baby a certain amount of time before she must give birth.
Think about the baby who is reassured in the early stages of its development. In the beginning, the mother’s womb seems like a huge place. However, as the baby begins to grow and develop, he/she becomes agitated and is not able to move as freely as it could during the early stages of its development.
If the mother were to remain pregnant, it would be deadly for both the mother and baby.
Growth is a necessary part of life.
There’s a reason we don’t remain in the same grade throughout school. Once you’ve mastered the skills in a grade level—you’re promoted. If you were to remain in the same grade you would not only become bored, but uncomfortable.
When we get distressed. What is our natural reaction? We move and adjust.
Flourishing requires us to move! Producing can be scary, but we must learn how to recognize when we have outgrown people, places, things and mindsets. You can’t continue to do the same things and think the same way when preparing to enter a new place/new level. God is going to require more of us in the next season of our lives. There are circumstances and situations that we are going to face in this new year that we won’t be able to face, if we don’t let go and grow!
During a time when I was fighting hard and struggling to expand beyond ease, God showed me the image of a tadpole. A tadpole in that stage of development is not operating in its full purpose (of ultimately being a frog). In its early stages, a tadpole doesn’t have lungs and can only exist in water. However, as the tadpole begins to mature, it develops into a frog. The frog can navigate both land and water. What did that have to do with me? It served as a reminder that I pray will resonate with you as well: You were created for more. Your comfort zone is the home of complacency and growth and purpose don’t live there. Don’t stunt your advancement by not being willing to operate and walk in your purpose.
Pushing past my fears and the familiarity of my convenience allowed me to expand in all areas of my life. There was a time when I would turn down every speaking engagement opportunity presented to me. For years I passed up on opportunities because public speaking was out of my comfort zone. I fought so hard against what I knew God wanted me to do. Not only have I spoken at conferences, but I’ve hosted events and even appeared as a podcast guest. As a result, I’ve been able to inspire and encourage so many people. My development helped others grow. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I haven’t looked back.
That old “wine skin” can no longer accommodate the new wine. It’s GROW time!