Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Holy Discomfort

Now that Darin's sermon series about change is drawing to a close, I've been asking the Lord, "So, what does that look like or feel like for me?" I've really appreciated the reminder that I'm not the central worker in the change God wants for me. He is. He's responsible (and reliable). I just have to be willing and pliable.

The truth is, change is uncomfortable. I'll never forget the time several years ago when we rearranged the furniture in the living room. That evening, Darin, walking in the darkened room, ran into a sharp edge and sliced open his knee, needing stitches. He had been moving as though things were still the same. Unfortunately, that change brought severe pain for him.

Did it mean we were "wrong" by rearranging the room? Of course not. Did it mean we would need to walk in a new way than we had previously? Just ask Darin.

Working within the changes God is bringing (or wants to bring) means doing things differently, walking in a new way than we have before. And when we constantly question his change, because it's different or awkward, we're only hurting ourselves. He's certainly not threatened by our doubts, and doesn't mind our questions, but we are so conditioned to believing that a "good" or "healthy" spiritual life is a "comfortable" one. There isn't a shred of evidence in scripture to validate that theory. In fact, Jesus assures us, we will have troubles (John 16:33). Could it be that we need to flip our understanding entirely? Could it be that "uncomfortable" is the most healthy condition in which to be in our spiritual walk?

The tutoring classroom at school is almost always uncomfortably (OK, miserably) cold. Regularly, I find myself focused on and giving attention to how cold I am. And wouldn't you know it? I do something about it. I bring a jacket, step out into the hall, even curl up a little tighter, hugging myself. That discomfort causes action. Maybe the discomfort and uncertainties God allows in our lives, those things that jump up and down on our last nerve, are intended to get our attention, so we'll do something about them.

Maybe there's someone whose ideas strike against what you've always known and believed to be right and true. God may be trying to change you and make you teachable. Perhaps there's an overwhelming circumstance that you can't fix. God may be trying to tame your independence. Maybe there's a relationship that desperately needs mending. God may be trying to break your pride. Each of these situations are uncomfortable. But when it's God at work within us, it's a holy discomfort.
Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

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