Last month, I released a new devotional, Thankful: Moving from Superficial Gratitude to a Lifestyle of Thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite entries, that you might not expect to see in a devotional about gratitude. If you want to read more, you can order this devotional on Amazon!
I’m not the most adventurous or spontaneous person. I prefer to isolate myself safely, where I am not challenged or forced to grow. In my introvert bubble, I can maintain the status quo and am not presented with opportunities for change. Thankfully, I have friends who are the opposite, who love adventure and excitement and doing new things. I’m grateful for those who will push me outside of my comfort zone, even when I’m metaphorically kicking and screaming the whole time.
I’m learning that uncomfortable situations can shine a light on false beliefs.
Discomfort can reveal who we think we are.
I believe Jesus was a big fan of making people feel uncomfortable. He didn’t do this because He likes messing with us or has a malicious intent, but because He loves us. We, in our natural state, love sin, and He came to earth to show us a better way to live. He showed us love and grace, both of which force us out of the sin and hurt that we can become so comfortable with.
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
Imagine the disciples’ journey as they left their lives behind to follow Jesus. In these verses, Peter and Andrew were labeled as “fishermen.” That was more than just their profession, it’s who they were through and through. Their identities were wrapped up in what they did, it’s how they and everyone around them knew these two. Imagine the conversation they would have had with their dad, who was also a fisherman, when they told him that they were quitting the family business. Picture how their friends and community would have reacted to such a drastic career change.
This new profession was just the beginning of their discomfort.
As the disciples followed Jesus, they were introduced to an entirely new and different way of life. Think about it! They were walking with God who is perfect, loving, compassionate, good, and righteous (to name just a few). Their experience was amazing, yes, but it was also full of discomfort. Every action that Jesus took, every word He spoke, and every truth He lived was contrary to their lives and their belief system. They were used to rules, but Jesus preached grace. The disciples had experienced shame at every turn, yet Jesus showed them love. These men were used to vying for favor and fighting for promotion, but Jesus taught them their position in the Kingdom. Some of the principles of Jesus were quickly embraced by the disciples, but others they didn’t ever seem to get right.
And the same is true in our lives. We grow accustomed to our own ways of living, so when Abundant Life shows up on our doorstep, beckoning us out, it can be scary and uncomfortable. But it’s always worth following Jesus into that discomfort so that He can heal, restore, and show us a better way to live.
I’m grateful for moments of discomfort in my life because each is an invitation to growth. When I am forced outside of my comfort zone, I am provided an opportunity to confront past hurts and shed those things that no longer serve me. When I am challenged by the Lord to grow, I can draw closer to Him and become more like Him. While these moments aren’t always pleasant, they are for my good and His glory, which is a beautiful thing indeed.
What do you think about discomfort?
When was the last time that you were uncomfortable? And what did you gain from that experience?
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