When I think of Jesus’ mission on earth 2000 years ago and His mission today, I realize that nothing has really changed. Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”(ESV). I can’t even count on two hands how many times God has picked me up when I was living through my darkest moments.
God always meets us where we are.
That’s something I know to be true in my own life and something we know is true by the many stories in scripture.
But what about the other moments? The moments where everything is going well and things are working out as planned, when things are…well, COMFORTABLE!
In these moments of comfort, God calls us to be uncomfortable. These are the seasons where God pushes us outside of our comfort zone and calls us to grow spiritually. Looking back at certain moments in my life, this is something I have noticed. When I’m a mess, God is comforting me; when I’m comfortable, God is challenging me.
So, when I sat down and really thought about discomfort, God gave me two things to remember: There is no growth without discomfort, and there’s no need for a Savior if life is always comfortable .
There is no Growth Without Discomfort
For many, routine makes us feel at ease and in control. But what a constant routine really does is dull our sensitivities. Think about something you do every day. You brush your teeth, make breakfast, or drive to work. These are all things that you do repeatedly. After a certain number of times, you tune those tasks out, and you barely remember doing them. I don’t know about you, but I barely remember brushing my teeth this morning. All that to say, if all of your life consisted of was routine, you might find yourself tuning much of your life out.
A Forbes article titled, Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is The Key To Success, talks about why our bodies react the way they do when confronting new experiences.
“When you go out of your way to experience new things, or when you let new things happen to you, your body creates brand new neural pathways that fuel your creative spark and enhance your memory.
In one study, researchers tested the memory of participants by showing them images which were rated as novel, familiar, and very familiar. The best results came when people were shown a novel image, followed by a familiar one. So, while repetition helps with memory, mixing in new information is important as well.
That’s why being uncomfortable is something you should embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower; that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things.”
Getting out of Your Comfort Zone
Last week at work, I was asked to do something way out of the scope of my role and way out of my comfort zone. I was asked to lead a tour. This may not sound intimidating for some, but for someone who is used to being behind the scenes and behind a screen, safe inside her office, it felt like I was asked to give an acceptance speech in front of hundreds. As the week went on, I began preparing for this tour by memorizing the tour script and going through training. I was overwhelmed with anxiousness and a little bit of bitterness because this wasn’t something I wanted to be doing.
But that’s when I caught myself, realizing that this was an area that God was challenging me in. I was getting comfortable, and he was presenting opportunities for me to grow and rely on Him. I needed to embrace this uncomfortable feeling of doing something new, something out of the norm for me.
The day of the tour came, and to my surprise, it went better than I could have imagined. I felt so accomplished, so proud, and so obedient. I felt like nature’s “make you happy chemical” was released in my brain, just like the article mentioned.
There Would be no Need for a Savior if Life was Always Comfortable
There is nothing wrong with being comfortable — unless that comfort makes us seemingly independent from God. When I start to get comfortable in my life, I sometimes unintentionally use that as a reason to take a break from the Lord. I get so caught up in the day-to-day routine that I forget about the One who provides these comforts for me. God so patiently and kindly reminds me of my need for Him by presenting these growth opportunities.
So now, when I’m comfortable, I’m thanking God because comfort is a gift. But on the contrary, when I am uncomfortable, I am asking God for guidance and strength because I’m reminded that I need Him.
When you think back to big moments in your life; winning an athletic championship, graduating college with honors, summitting the tallest mountain in the world, or giving birth to one of your children. These are some of the happiest moments in our lives. Yet, none of these came without discomforts and challenges. We pushed through those growing pains because we trusted that something beautiful is on the other side.
Just as James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (NIV). When we are uncomfortable, we grow. When we grow, we become closer to our Heavenly Father. Let’s challenge ourselves to get a little bit more uncomfortable in life.
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