The holidays are always a little awkward for me, as I imagine they are for most people. Spending lots of time with family and friends over the course of days and weeks can be stressful and can bring out certain emotions or actions that most of us would rather keep tucked away. Many people tend to put extra pressure on these days, expecting things to be perfect, and then feel devastated when they’re nothing of the sort.
I am so thankful for the friends of mine who push me far outside of my comfort zone. They’re the people who, when I tell them things like “I don’t want to go” to an invitation to something like Thanksgiving or Christmas, won’t let that stand. I’m thankful for those people who will drag me out of the house to do things, even if I’m metaphorically kicking and screaming the entire time.
When’s the last time you were truly uncomfortable? How often do you allow yourself to be placed in those situations?
The last time I felt extra uncomfortable was a few months ago at my friend’s wedding. I love her and her husband dearly, but I knew few people outside of the bride and her immediate family. During the days leading up to those festivities I was forced to socialize and meet new people and by the end I was exhausted. But the experience taught me a lot. During those days I realized just how difficult it is for me to be somewhere without working. The entire time I was searching for something to do when my only job was to just be there and celebrate their new life together.
Uncomfortable situations can shine a light on who we really are.
I imagine that Jesus was a big fan of making his people feel uncomfortable. After all, he did come to show the world a better way to live, a heart position that consistently forces us out of the comfort of our sin and hurt. Imagine what the disciples went through as they began to follow him! A number of them went from being fishermen, the profession their fathers and father’s fathers had held. Fishing had been something these men had done their whole lives, constantly being exposed to the sea and the art of reeling in a large haul. The disciples, in an act of courage, left the only life they had ever known, to follow after a teacher, a rabbi. Talk about uncomfortable!
When discussing uncomfortability in the Bible, we tend to focus on Peter’s walking on the water, citing that as some incredible moment where he stepped out of his comfort zone and into the uncomfortable waters of following the Lord. While this is completely accurate, I feel like we often overlook the smaller moments in Peter’s life where he leaned into uncomfortability, knowing that the Lord was with him every step of the way.
There might be something you long to do that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared even, and that’s okay. Don’t focus on that large, overwhelming thing, focus on the baby steps you can do to get there. You might be scared to start another relationship after being hurt before, but how about you start by opening up to one person, a friend or family member or colleague? Instead of thinking you have to get over your fear of speaking to a crowd of thousands today, how about you share your story with a friend instead? I’m choosing to be drawn out of my comfort zone because I know in those spaces I will grow.
Lord, you made each of us and know what makes us tick. You know the things that scare us and the areas where we’re comfortable. Forgive us for the times we’ve been too frightened to leave our comfort zone, even when we’ve felt you drawing us out. Thank you that you are with us in that uncomfortable space and that you comfort us in the times of stress and discomfort. Help us to feel your presence today as we venture outside of our comfort zone, following you into the uncharted territories you’ve set before us. Amen!