1 – “ a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint
2 – “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress
Similar meanings: ease, pleasure, satisfaction, relief, convenience, creature comforts, bed of roses.
This is a word that has swirled around in my head about as long as it took me to start this blog. The words comfort and complacent are written NUMEROUS times throughout my journals. A clear (albeit slow) indicator that it is a problem that God has been trying to address with me.
I am a horder of comfort ! I love the path of least resistance. This could be in part to what I’ve developed as my default bad habits or the fact that I am a 9 on the enneagram chart. Some of my traits according to that chart.
1 – I’ll do almost anything to avoid conflict
2 – I tend to procrastinate
3– when overwhelmed with too many things to do, too many decisions to make or the upsetting prospect of change, Nines can slow to a crawl. Sloth is a word they associate with us “9”’s. Great! As if I need another label.
“I have so much to do, I’m going to bed.” Savoyard Proverb
I could have written that! It fits me so well. Picture a turtle retracting into its protective shell!
Lately I have teetered on the border of idolizing my comfort. I have chosen mindless activities rather than ones with meaning. It’s easier to watch tv and forget the world than to be vulnerable and write and to dig deep into God’s word for truth. It’s easier to ignore a project so big and overwhelming rather than take one intentional step at a time toward the goal. It’s easier to pretend that your life is fine (this is just how I am mentality) rather than open yourself up to dreaming and risk possible heartache AGAIN. Or to act as if God is really going to answer that prayer or longing, whatever it may be, with wholehearted expectation.
I have this ongoing conversation every single year around new years eve. Am I going to stay in my cozy comfortable environment free from vulnerability or awkwardness? Safe. Or am I going to venture out into new things and be open to the possibilities? I wish I could say that this was the year that I chose new but instead I fell back into the old pattern of what was comfortable. (In my defense – sort of – I hadn’t felt stellar for a few days so there was that). But still, the old record played over and over until I fell back on what I “knew”. Safe. Familiar.
In a sermon by Bill Johnson called “Difficult Seasons” he said these words…
“Some things that you hunger for you have “insulated yourself from”. We are so wrapped up in comfort that we don’t have access to what we’ve asked for”.
Those words pierced my heart. So lets get real. On a page from my journal dated August 25, 2018 this is what I wrote.
“YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THE WORK”
Ouch! How’s that for real? I want so much more from the Lord but sometimes I don’t want to do the work that’s required to get the results that I desire. I come up with a million excuses as to why i don’t want to do it. Or better yet, why i can’t. “I’m a single mom”, “I have to work”, “Can God really use me”? “What do I even have to say”? “It has already been done”. But the biggest one of all…….You are not enough! (A whole blog post could occupy this topic) What are some of the tapes that play on repeat in your head?
The rest of that entry goes like this…”You are tired from the fight so you’ve given up. You’ve chosen the easier road – if you don’t fight you can’t lose. Whoa negative Nancy! I despise when she shows up. In my flesh I have EVERY reason to feel this way. I’ve spent the last seven years tredding the waters of divorce and learning how to be a single mom with many seasons of ups and downs. Seasons of anger, frustration, heartache, fear. Financial, emotional, spiritual. Healing has been hard work and has taken a LONG time. But there is a point that we have to stop drowning in how we “feel” and do what we’ve “decided” and what God has “purposed” in our hearts. We will never feel like we are ready for anything hard but we can make up our minds to not wallow in self preservation. In other words, choose not to stay in our comfort zones.
The truth is when I give up on the fight that God has placed within me I miss out on so much more than what I hold onto in comfort. I’m unfulfilled. I’m discontent. I’m restless. Unsatisfied. Unfruitful. We were made for more therefore God will not let us stay in this place forever. (As evidenced by his constant reminder to me in my journals.) We will never be stretched or grow in “ease”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for more pain to grow. I am asking that he take what has already been done and push me out of the nest to teach me to fly! And in doing so, bring hope to others in the process.
It is my privilege and honor to be involved in a ministry called The Truth Republic that my dear friend, Carrie Williams, started a few years ago. She felt God asking her to help women discover their own calling, equip them to walk it out, and to make Jesus known through the unique gifts that EVERY woman possesses. She asked me if I would be a part of it. I’d like to say my initial response was a resounding and immediate yes, but it was not. I said no many times. (Insert list of excuses). But as God does, in His relentless love for us, He continued to pursue me. He reminded me that my freedom is not just for me but for many who have yet to discover the same hope, love, and freedom that I have found. Being a part of developing The Truth Republic has, not surprisingly, coincided with my own personal journey. It has come with years of prayer, doubt, and insecurities. Some of them I was keenly aware of, others I didn’t even know that I had. But…I am going first, pushing past the lies, the doubts, and the comforts I know. I am willing to DO the very thing that we, as The Truth Republic, are calling other women to. We are calling women to step out of their comfort zones, to be intentional, and to do the hard things so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to others.
It hasn’t been easy.
So here’s my question to you.
What are you asking for in 2019? What has God placed on your heart that you have not been willing to go after because it was going to be “uncomfortable”. That thing that is going to require more of you than what you have presently been giving or think you are capable of giving. That thing that scares you. That thing that you want to believe can be yours but just haven’t been willing to reach for it out of fear of failure or its just too hard. What lies are you believing that are holding you back? We all have moments of discouragement and doubt about our calling. I wrote the following piece several months ago in a moment of complete discouragement. And God in his faithfulness can meet us right where we are and turn it around for good.
Time, energy, resources, the love I dole out
Rationed like rice- in a bowl full of doubt
Thinking I can’t, wont give more of me or mine
Scared of the clock – so limited time
Will I have enough to go around
I forget that your resources continue to abound
My mind is on the ease, the comforts of life
The best way to abstain from strife
From pain and discomfort I desperately hide
Forgetting that it is only changed when I abide.
I think there is no time for my dreams and my plans
Effort put forth is what these demand
They are not met in easy and pain free
But in stretching and molding by the God in me
I desire to see you God clear and true
But my comforts only blind me from you
I long to dive deeper in the oceans of your grace
But first discomfort I must displace
As I sit and cry about what I don’t have
I’m reminded of your faithful and healing salve
My sin, my debt has been forgiven and paid
And in return mercies and beauty you’ve laid
You say that you’ve given all that I need
Yet inside I feel wanting, I bleed
Not because you have not given enough to me
But because my comfort is all I see
Show me a better way my beautiful king
For you have given me every good and perfect thing
To live this life a gift to show your love
To go beyond the easy and above
For you did not come to sit in comfort and peace
But to give your life for the least of these
The beggar, the thief, the poor and blind
All given your love even when none returned in kind
Your precious children, red yellow black and white
All for their sake you shed light on the night
You shed blood of sacrifice and pain
So that all could know your glorious name
Your love, your joy, your peace your power
All in the struggle through the very last hour
No comfort you sought, no rest for your head
As you listened intently to the Father instead
Who called for sacrifice, unbearable pain
In obedience you died for our unending gain.
So please dear God help rid me of me
Your awesome story I desire others to see
Move me beyond my continual search for ease
Help me find what I need, only on my knees
To share in your love of kindness and grace
So that others can know you and see your face
To find freedom from sin and unmerited favor
For a life that they too can eternally savor
Let my life not be about the here and now of me and mine
But power glory and honor only to thine
My prayer is that this year will be the year you step out of your comfort zone and grab ahold of YOUR calling! Whatever it takes!!