Outside Your Comfort
Agape Leaders Rebranded
Agape Leader's recently released their first Monday Motivation! A bi-weekly series that is made by some leaders to help with your spiritual growth and leadership development! These videos are posted on our YouTube page. There you can also find our weekly Word Wednesdays too.
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Meet Emily English
This month’s guest writer is Emily English. She is an exceptional learner, graduating as the salutatorian for the George Jenkins High School class of 2017. Currently a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, she has traveled the world studying abroad learning much about other cultures.
Visiting countries like Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, and Austria, among others, Emily brings a perspective to Agape Letters that is filled with cultural diversity. Her article is a “call to arms” to her generation to take the opportunity while they are young to willingly learn more about cultures different from the one in which you were raised. She encourages readers to step out of their comfort zone to open up a new world for themselves.
We are thankful that she has taken the time to share her thoughts with us this month. We pray that you are too.
Traveling Out of Your Comfort Zone
Going out of our comfort zone can be daunting, but I believe it is the most important aspect to self-development. It means trading familiarity for perspective. In my experience, going out of my comfort zone has drastically changed my life and perspective for the better, while shedding light on opportunities for the future and the impact that I want to make.
I grew up in a mid-size suburb, where I knew to do my best in school, work hard in sports, and be a good friend and family member. Before college, my life was prescribed to me. I followed the same routines, encountered the same people, and focused on short term successes. My bubble was small, and I did not think much about who I was or who I wanted to be in the world. This changed as I got closer to high school graduation, as my focus shifted more to my future.
My senior year of high school, I was ecstatic to be accepted into my top choice college in Boston, Massachusetts. I chose this college because of their emphasis on experiential learning and global opportunities. By the end of high school, I knew that I needed to step further out of my comfort zone and the best way to do this was through new experiences. This choice determined who I am today and gave me opportunities I never could have imagined. Leaving my hometown enabled me to become more independent and less reliant on my bubble. In Boston, I experienced life in a city, constantly surrounded by new people and new ideas. I met friends who had completely different experiences than my own, who exchanged their viewpoints and perspectives to help shape mine. This was the first step of broadening my perspective, but I also wanted to develop my worldview.
Throughout college, I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. My freshman year, I spent four months studying abroad in Sydney, Australia, and my junior year, I spent six months working for a start-up company in Seville, Spain. So far I have been to 19 different countries and 5 different continents. The time I have spent traveling and living abroad has given me confidence and self-awareness, and has also helped me develop a broader view of the world.
I am thankful for these opportunities because I believe college and our 20s are a time that helps us to determine who we want to be in the world. Overtime, traveling has built up my confidence and exposed me to a variety of people with completely different stories. I have met people, old and young, from all over the world and have had impromptu experiences joining them to explore a new city, cook dinner, or talk late into the night by a fire pit. Traveling eliminates the shield of who we are to people in our everyday lives, and allows us to truly be ourselves while absorbing others for their true selves as well.
Some of my most empowering experiences have been while solo traveling and moving by myself to new cities. The unknown can be unsettling, but it is all has to do with mindset. What-ifs can be turned positive, and focus should be placed on opportunity rather than apprehension. Throughout my experiences, I have developed routines in new places, learned how to approach people I do not know to start a conversation, and have increased my ability to adapt when logistics go awry. I have gained confidence that I can forge my own path and live the independent life that I want to live.
While I am thankful for the privilege to travel internationally, traveling does not have to mean flying across the world.
Traveling is about having an open mind and trying new things.
It can mean exploring a new place close to home, trying a new recipe, or watching a documentary. In this digital age, we have access to information never thought possible. We can travel by reading books and educating ourselves on other countries and world news. It’s not always about the vacation pictures, but about the knowledge gained from traveling and how it changes perspective.
For me, I wanted to better understand who I was and my place in the world by developing my worldview. It is important to identify our goals and the ways in which we can go out of our comfort zone to impact us the most.Traveling doesn’t appeal to everyone and you don’t have to travel to develop who you are. Other ways to challenge yourself include joining a club, making a new friend, volunteering, trying a new hobby, or taking a class on a topic that you are interested in.
I believe the more experiences we have and the more people we meet in our 20s, the broader our perspective becomes. It is important to open our minds now while we are young, and have the time and independence. In this time of our lives, we need to take advantage of our ability to be open to new experiences.
Looking back, these past few years has been the largest growth period I have had. They have been a time of maturity and perspective. Looking forward, it is exciting that this growth and shaping of who we are never stops. I urge you to take this time to go out of your comfort zone in whichever way you see fit, to meet new people who open your mind, and to realize that differences and diversity are what make us stronger. I have identified issues in the world that I want to help solve, and opened my mind to living in a new way that brings me excitement to think about.
Do an internet search and you will find several definitions for the word “Agape.” According to one site, Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to love, "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". This is the definition that we use at Agape Leaders for the way we mean agape. In our lives, many of us long to receive a “love letter” from that special someone. You are our special someone, therefore we are sending you our “Agape Letter,” our love letter to you.