I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. -Psalm 106:15
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. -Hosea 2:6
I love being comfortable. I love fleece hoodies, soft socks, fire pits, chili, coffee, and pillows and blankets galore. I used to joke that as gifts I wanted infinite comfort objects. Because life is uncomfortable. It can be painful, even agonizing. But this pain is sometimes necessary. Were I not finally so uncomfortable in my body when my weight got hugely out of control, and were I not out of breath and struggling with lethargy, I may never have begun trying to lose weight and becoming healthier. I would never have discovered the thrilling near-flying experience of running full throttle down a hill or causeway. It's a glorious feeling, especially when running into the shade on a hot day, or into the sun on a cold one. Sometimes I'm going so fast, I feel unstoppable. And what’s more, my brain gets quiet from all my worries and focuses only on the task at hand. Does that mean I am a runner now? No. I jog, and slowly at times, or I lift weights, or other types of exercise I enjoy. But I do it as often as I can, because I have learned to enjoy exercise again. I am now more uncomfortable with how lethargic I feel on days I don’t work out, than I am with the temporary pain of a workout. I appreciate the benefits that come after the discomfort, the building of muscle and strength.
Our brains and bodies are wired to avoid pain. We don’t like pain or discomfort. And change is uncomfortable. Have you ever wondered why someone who complains to you about the same problem over and over never does anything differently, never does anything to change it? It’s because the discomfort of staying the same and just complaining about it is less than the pain of change. People don’t change until we’re too uncomfortable to let things stay the same anymore, even if they’re already mildly uncomfortable where they are. Once things become so intolerable they can't take it anymore, that’s when change happens. Sometimes this is brought on by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He makes us so uncomfortable with our sin that we have no peace, no rest, no contentment, the sin leaves us feeling so empty and we can’t stand it anymore, so we turn to God for help to quit the sin, one tempting moment at a time. Or a consequence of sin happens that’s so awful, we decide to give it up so that never happens again, and we never hurt those we love that way again.
If it weren’t for discomfort, I would continue doing most of the same things every day, pacifying and soothing my lethargic soul. I’m ashamed to admit that if it weren’t for God allowing uncomfortable situations, or painful consequences in my life, I wouldn’t have ended friendships God told me not to be part of, or turned away from habits that hurt the people I love. I wouldn’t have given up things that were comfortable or soothing in the moment, but completely empty and wasting my precious time on earth. Some things as simple as social media addiction would rob me of precious moments and memories with family, with friends, with children who will only want to spend time with me for a few more years before branching off on their own. If God didn’t make me aware of how hurtful being critical, negative, or a perfectionist is, and how it was pushing away people I loved, I might not have turned (and still be turning) away from those habits. I might not have realized how wearisome it is to someone who cares about me to only hear me complaining about my days, rather than being grateful for the myriad of small blessings given me daily by God.
Lasting change happens when we are so uncomfortable with our current circumstances or habits that we resolve, by the grace of God, to change them, no matter how long or difficult the road. That’s when the power of God steps in to help us: when we admit and surrender to God that our way of doing things isn’t working out, and we need to do it His way, to chase His pursuits. Then, we see true success—His definition of it, which often doesn’t look like ours, but is better, for we are then seeking “a better country—a heavenly one.” (Heb. 11:16)
God uses even discomfort for our good, to lead us back to Him, and His right way of living, as lessons for ourselves and others. And while this doesn't mean that a life with Jesus will always be comfortable, He Does promise things like freedom, joy, peace, and rest when we live our lives surrendered and obedient to Him. I'm thankful that my discomfort can lead to repentance and healing and freedom through Jesus Christ.
For further reading: Job 7, Psalm 77.