At the end of a long day of teaching, my feet hurt, my body aches in places it probably shouldn’t at my age (because I am still SO young), and my voice is usually a little strained. And I am dealing with all this while still maintaining my professional look. When I get home, I have one priority – to get out of my work clothes. There are few better feelings than peeling off those dress pants and sliding into running shorts and an oversized T-shirt. And while I am changing, I begin dreaming of the moment that I will have the kitchen cleaned, the laundry put away, the kids bathed and put to bed, and I can finally enjoy a few moments of relaxation and comfort.
And we talk about comfort all the time. Mattresses boast about being the most comfortable. Shoes brag about providing comfort. When choosing a spouse we say things like “I am just so comfortable around him.” Comfort seems to be something we are constantly working towards or striving to maintain. And let’s face it, we all know how easy it is to get uncomfortable. It just takes a little hangnail to throw us off balance. I mean the Princess and the Pea is a fairy tale for a reason.
But is comfort always a good thing?
I mean I think about Adam and Eve. They had to be some of the most comfortable people. Food was provided. Harmony was provided. I can imagine the climate was perfect, and clothes were totally unnecessary (I mean there is nothing worse than fighting with a pair of ill-fitting jeans all day). Yet, all that comfort was not enough. They were still unsatisfied and looking for more.
I look at my own life. I look for comfort at the end of a long day, but it can only carry me so far. And even in the bigger picture, I am not one for change. Why? Because it makes me uncomfortable. I have worked at the same school for 12 years, ever since I graduated, partly because I am comfortable there. But in some ways staying comfortable is a way of settling for less than our best. I’m not saying my school isn’t great, but I wonder if I have kept myself from bigger opportunities all in the name of comfort.
And that brings me to my relationship with God. I think we can all say we have missed opportunities to serve him because it was uncomfortable to push forward. We know that God often allows, you may even go so far as to say causes, us to be uncomfortable in order to grow closer to Him. He allows the tragedy, the illness, the struggle, so that we will turn to Him. He realizes that sometimes the only way to get us to move is to make us uncomfortable. And thankfully, the Bible is full of verses that encourage us during those uncomfortable times. God always takes care of us, even when we are pushed to be uncomfortable.
But the question is, are we uncomfortable because the situation is out of our control or are we choosing to be uncomfortable for God? I mean, the devil wants to keep us comfortable, comfortable in our bed on Sunday morning, comfortable in our pew during the service, comfortable in our dead end job, comfortable in our ungodly friendships, comfortable in our relationship with Christ. He knows if we are comfortable then we are probably not working or growing with God.
So again let me ask, when have you chosen to be uncomfortable for God?
If you read very much of my stuff, you know that I have struggled the last few weeks. Initially I thought it was the normal stresses of teaching (anybody else out there feel me ?!?). Teaching ebbs and flows, but this just felt different. And I was mad at myself for allowing the stress to get to me and for becoming so frustrated with different situations. If felt myself sinking into a pool of defeat.
Of course, I was in prayer over the situation and my feelings. I searched out scripture to help guide me, and it did provide comfort for a time. But do you know which scripture said the most? Not Lamentations 3:23 where He tells me his mercies are new every morning. Not Psalm 23 where he leads me beside still waters. Not even Matthew 6 where Jesus reminds us not to worry because He will take care of us. Nope. None of that really helped for the moment. Those scriptures are great, but all of those scriptures are about finding comfort and rest. And that is not what I needed. I had found my place of comfort and the Spirit needed to get me moving again.
The scripture that spoke to me the most was this:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
As the old children’s song goes, “he’s still working on me.” I was uncomfortable. There were moments I was miserable and my brain started searching for ways to change the situation so I could be comfortable again. I didn’t realize that is what I was doing, but God later revealed that truth to me. He showed me that I talk a good talk. I want to do more for Him. I want spread my ministry. But I want it to be handed to me. I want the doors to just nicely open and God to shout down, “Here you go Honey, this one is all for you, set up perfectly.” I don’t want it to be a struggle. I don’t want it to be something I have to fight for. And by all means, I don’t want it to make me uncomfortable…
We often make excuses, especially when it comes to the work of God. If it would be too difficult, too inconvenient, too different, then we say, “oh well, this must not be God’s will.” The stars have not aligned perfectly, every domino is not perfectly in place, and I just don’t think it is possible. So this must not be what God wants for me.
I mean take this blog for example. I would love for it to grow into more. I want to reach more and more people for Him and I want this to eventually become my career. Do you know what I was doing to make that happen? Nothing. I was waiting for God to just grow my readers. I was waiting for Him to just make it happen. Don’t get me wrong, He can. But what is required of me if I just sit back and wait for Him to make it happen? I rationalize by saying things like, “God, if it is your will, please make this happen for me.” I give myself a back door so that if it doesn’t happen it must not have been God’s will. I also keep myself in a safe zone by sitting back and letting Him do all the work.
He doesn’t want us in the safe zone. He wants us to get out there and be willing to fail for Him. He wants us willing to take risks for Him. He wants us to break the rules of society for Him. He wants us to think outside of the box for Him. He wants us to get out there and get a little uncomfortable – for Him.
I mean think about all the ways God works. He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. Sure, he could have manifest himself in human form, but what would that have really required of Moses? He spoke to Elijah in the still small voice, not the booming voice of authority we may expect. He uses the most unlikely people to do his work. Murderers, adulterers, just plain ol’ sinners. He doesn’t follow human rules. He doesn’t live inside our safe boxes.
And He doesn’t want us camping out in that zone of comfort either. He wants us willing to get uncomfortable for Him.
So think about this. Do you have a dream? Do you have something you would really love to do and you know, deep in your heart, this is what you were made to do, but maybe life has got you stuck, distracted, or beaten down? You just don’t see how it is possible. Kristen Welch, author of Rhinestone Jesus, calls these “God sized dreams.” These dreams that God puts in our heart that just seem totally impossible. These dreams that we typically let sit in our heart and pick at us. These dreams that we think we are never really good enough to accomplish. Well, we won’t ever be. But God isn’t waiting on us to be good enough. God is just waiting on us to say take the first step in saying yes to Him.
In Isaiah 46 He says,
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
We are the blind. We have some rough, unfamiliar, dark paths ahead of us if we are willing to walk with God. But, don’t miss the part where He says He will lead us, He will shine the light, He will not forsake us. He is not going to push us into this “God-sized dream” just to leave us there and walk away. No, He wants to push us into that uncomfortable spot for the exact opposite reason. In our willingness to leave our comfortable spaces, we are actually moving closer to Him. As we move farther and farther away from our place of comfort we will have to look to Him for more and more. We will draw closer and closer to him every time we find ourselves in the dark or on an unfamiliar path or in a rough place. When we step out and make deliberate choices to get uncomfortable for Jesus, we draw closer to Him than we ever could have imagined.
Sure it is scary and our willingness may push us to places we were intentionally avoiding, or we may have to face deep rooted fears in order to find our purpose in the Lord. But, 1 Peter 3:14 tells us, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’” Remember that the Lord is with you and if you are willing to step out and go where he is leading then you will not be forsaken or forgotten. He is going to take care of you.
So I challenge you today. Step out of your comfort zone for Jesus. Get uncomfortable just for him. Stop letting that “God-sized dream” scare you. Instead let it excite you. Start looking into the future and decide how you want it to look with God using you to your potential. Work towards that. Now, don’t get overwhelmed. Find one thing you can do today to push yourself out of your comfort zone, even if it is just a prayer you have been too scared to pray (I know I have been there), and then tomorrow find one more way you can push your limits in order to show that Jesus has none.
Each day I have committed to taking baby steps that I hope will grow my blog. I pray you will commit to taking uncomfortable baby steps that will put you closer and closer to Christ and the God-sized purpose he has for you. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a big dream, that’s not necessarily the point. God doesn’t always work big. It just has to push you out of your comfort zone and into a more alive relationship with Christ.
So what are you going to do today to get uncomfortable for Christ?
I would love for you to share in the comments ways that you have been or plan to be uncomfortable for Christ. We learn so much from the testimony of others.