How do you say that word, anyways? “Un-COM-fort’b’l”? “Un-com-FOR-tab’l”? “Un-com-for-TABLE”? Anyway. However you pronounce it, that’s a good way to describe life sometimes.
That what you’re doing and what you’re being called to is just straight up uncomfortable. When you’re being called to do a crazy thing or go to crazy places, when your life seems to be barreling down a path you’ve never seen before and you don’t even have a map.
When you look back and every time you’ve attempted to go down that particular path, you’ve miserably failed.
When you’re afraid. When you have this urge to just go hide under your blanket (or as my Dad would say, stick your head in the sand) and forget about being uncomfortable and just be comfortable.
Cause we all like to be comfortable. We don’t like being uncomfortable. That’s why we have this thing called a “comfort zone.”
We like to stay inside it, and deviating from it freaks us out.
But do you want to know something? (And if you don’t, tough cookies, cause I’m going to tell you anyway…)
Sometimes the things that freak us out, or we’re afraid of, or just make us uncomfortable, are those thing that make us grow the most.
Maybe that’s why it’s terrifying… Because we know big things are about to happen. We’re about to grow a whole lot, and sometimes growing hurts.
I have a feeling that’s how the disciples felt as Jesus sent them out. They were afraid. Some doubted. Some failed. But the incredible thing was, Jesus met them in their discomfort.
He didn’t tell them they would be comfortable, but he told them they’d have freedom.
A whole lot of love.
He told them not to be afraid, but to have courage.
He told them to love God with everything yet had, to love their neighbours as themselves, to live out their faith in all aspects of their lives.
But one thing I noticed… Is that Jesus didn’t tell them to not be uncomfortable, because God doesn’t call us to whatever and wherever and whoever to make us comfortable. He called us there to give Him glory, to show others His love, to change societies and shape heart and encourage nations. To comfort, to proclaim freedom, to open eyes, to heal, to love…. And sometimes, no, often, we will be uncomfortable.
And I realized that that’s okay.
It’s all in the process of growing, of working out my salvation with fear and trembling; following God’s call because even though it may be uncomfortable for a time, but it’ll be the most freedom I’ve ever known. There will be fruit. There will be freedom.
And it will be good.
(My friend Dani showing off her jumping skills as the sun set at Hapuna Beach)
As Jim Yost, a man who lives in Indonesia working with street kids and other local people, was our speaker this week, I feel that I got permission to be uncomfortable, to be afraid, to cry out to the Lord when I’m freaked out.
But I also got permission to dream big, to lay claim of the promises God gives and to trust in His faithfulness and His gifts and strength and blessing and life abundant.
Because when we are called out of our comfort zone, the Lord meets us there.
Where He guides, He provides. In that I can trust everything.
I thought about this a lot on my trip to Kona (which involved three flights, some good layovers, and enjoying the last of Tim Hortons while I still could)… that if I could’ve pinpointed an emotion I was feeling other than acute homesickness, excitement, and fear, one of the main ones would’ve been uncomfortable.
For me, it’s not comfortable to quit my job, move my life and my stuff to another province, park my car for 5 months, and hop on a plane to where I know nobody and don’t really know what to expect.
For me, it’s not always comfortable to live in the same room as 7 other girls, waiting for shower times and never feeling like I’m truly alone.
For me, it’s not always comfortable to be exposed left, right, and center to hundreds of other cultures and ideas and opinions.
For me, it’s not comfortable to be living in perpetual heat and humidity, being vulnerable to others, probing into deep corners of my heart, missing my loved ones like crazy, and planning Skype calls around time differences.
But you know what? Just because it’s not comfortable doesn’t mean it’s not good.
I’ll be completely honest and say that as excited as I am to head to Cambodia in two weeks, I also know I’ll be uncomfortable. Some things, like living out of a backpack and seeing true poverty with my own eyes and 40 degree heat and leaning on my team day in and day out… Those things will make me uncomfortable.
But I have to trust that being pushed out of my comfort zone will also make me grow in incredible ways, and that God will meet us and bless us in incredible ways in spite of, or because of, our discomfort.
(Palm trees near the ocean across from Kailua’s famous farmer’s market… where the most delicious papayas and pinapples come from!)
So here’s a question:
What makes you uncomfortable?
I don’t mean uncomfortable as in “goes-against-your-theology” or “makes-you-want-to-throw-up” but uncomfortable as in pushing you out of your comfort zone for the better?
Don’t be afraid to jump into it, whether with one tiny toe testing the water or with a huge leap and a cannon ball.
Either way, don’t be afraid to enter the waters of discomfort.
Dare to surrender something.
Dare to let God into that area of your life you’ve never let Him enter before.
Dare to ask questions, to dream, to seek new lands or new people or new situations.
Dare to be uncomfortable.
And dare to be surprised at how you see God grow you and meet you there in incredible ways.
That, my friends, is a taste of what Week 9 was for me.
It was a week of sitting in plastic lawn chairs on a concrete floor with hundreds of other DTS students, wearing my glasses because the lecturer was so far away.
It was a week of care packages that made my heart all glowy and warm, and outreach preparation, and encouraging messages and e-mails, and making phone calls about insurance and uniforms, and head colds, and wrestling with big questions, and JOY, and rainy Saturday afternoons, and work duty in the kitchen, and journaling like crazy, and tea dates, and C. S. Lewis, discovering more of Josh Garrells’ great music, and realizing that little gestures make a big difference in people’s lives, and so much more.
It was a good week.
An exhausting week, but a good week.
And because I’m a tad bit late with this blog post, it’s already a week since all that happened. Haha. Bear with me, folks.
Thanks for thinking of my classmates and I, and for supporting us with your prayers and encouragement! It means so much to us, to hear from loved ones and see their hearts for us. :)
As the Texans would say, “y’all are the best.”
Have a wonderful Friday. <3 Jenn