God Didn't Call Us to be Comfortable
By Kaci Lane Hindman
It's 10:45 pm, and I can’t sleep. I keep tossing and turning, my stomach in knots. Whether I admit to it, I know this uncomfortable insomnia is brought on by too much sugar and too much fun. But hey, it's the holidays. I know I will regret how I ate in December come January, or perhaps tomorrow morning when I wake up sleep deprived and sluggish. It's all my fault though, since I chose the comfort of not fighting off eggnog temptations over the comfort of sleeping well.
Lately, it seems like I've dealt with discomfort a lot. Situations keep arising in which no matter what choice I make, it will leave me feeling uncomfortable. It's hard to live a disciplined life or go through things that make us feel uncomfortable, even as Christians. Well, especially as Christians. That's because, contrary to what many believe, God didn't call us to be comfortable.
One verse that often get quoted is Philippians 4:13, which reads, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Many people focus on the "do all things" rather than the strength part. It's important to also read the verses that precede this one to know that sometimes that strength comes because we need it to go through something.
In those verses, Paul talks about learning to be content in every situation, as he has had plenty and has also had very little. He has had great days and not so great days, just like all of us. His life as an apostle wasn't perfect. God had forgiven him of his sins, but that didn't give him a ticket out of all pain and suffering, or simply slight discomfort.
This can be hard for us to hear, especially in today's world. Unlike Paul, we live in a day where churches are comfortable meeting places with warm coffee and great music. It's OK to speak about God in public, and many of us have more Christian friends than not. All is well inside our Christian bubble. That is, until we hit a rough patch, causing the bubble to pop.
Maybe this rough patch is the loss of someone dear or a job. Maybe a family member decides not to talk to you for some reason and holds a grudge. It can be hard to pick yourself up during those times and keep going. I know that I will have to wake up, get my kids ready and work tomorrow, regardless of how much eggnog I drank and how many nights I stayed up too late with friends or with the Hallmark channel.
As much as physical discomfort hurts though, spiritual discomfort is way worse. There have been times that I felt God tugging at my heart to invite a person to church or reach out to someone going through a difficulty. Sometimes I have listened, and sometimes I have not.
I can say from experience that listening to God's tugging and ignoring it both bring discomfort. The biggest difference is that not listening has a more lasting effect of discomfort. If I listen to God, I might feel nervous or even embarrassed to reach out to someone or do something for a stranger. However, if I choose the comfort of not feeling awkward in that moment, I must then feel the discomfort of regret for the rest of my life.
So, as everyone detoxes from holiday foods and tries to set New Year's resolutions, let's think about our comfort: not about how we can make ourselves more comfortable but rather how we can commit to choosing immediate discomfort in order to avoid a lifetime of discomfort.
Kaci Lane Hindman lives in Northport, AL, is married to Blake, and is the mother of Lane and Blakely. She works as a writer, editor and comedienne. Check out her blog at kacilane.com.