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Recently my job as a digital marketer has been pushing me past my comfort zone. With the agency I work for taking on new clients and adding projects that start simultaneously, along with a few staffing changes, I’ve needed to quickly step up and take on more responsibility. Instead of just editing and writing, I am taking on project management and more leadership. This means starting tasks that I’ve never done before, within projects where there’s a lot of money at stake. It can get overwhelming.

That fuzzy feeling of starting something new and feeling unsure, with no experience to ground me, is sometimes crippling. One thing that helps me in those situations is a tip from Daniel Coyle’s The Little Book of Talent: “Practice should require you to operate at the edge of your abilities.” Or said another way, you can’t keep doing the same thing repetitively and expect to move forward. My childhood piano lessons showed me this. It’s easy and fun to keep playing the songs you already know, but it won’t make you a better piano player. So when I feel like I’m floundering at work, I also know that what I’m feeling is like growing pains—uncomfortable, but necessary.

I think this applies spiritually as well. I can’t just stay in the same small box spiritually and expect to become more spiritually mature. It takes effort and sometimes pain to move forward. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4: “Train yourself to be godly . . . give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress” (verses 7 and 15, New Living Translation).

Progress is scary and uncomfortable and hard. But that’s what it takes. And if you’re feeling this way, you can be sure you’re not the only one who feels like a clumsy newborn animal with too-long limbs. We’re all ungainly at the edges of our abilities.

This issue of Compass Check is pointed to the upcoming Holy Days. Having the long vision of God’s plan can make the day-to-day difficulties seem a little smaller. And with this vision, I hope you feel heartened about taking life head on. The articles in this issue offer advice about working through hard things to get to where we need to be, overcoming fears and habits that distract us and hold us back—with hope and courage.

So when life pushes you out on the thin branches of your ability, just remember that soon you’ll be seeing some new growth.

Your friend,

Kourtney Kovanis ; Managing Editor | kourtney.kovanis@gmail.com