Getting Uncomfortable with Christ
So a little something about myself- I love to be comfortable and love the whole concept of coziness. I’m all about wearing sweatshirts that are twice my size and wrapping myself up in a fuzzy blanket with a hot cup of coffee, especially on a rainy day. I have a memory foam pillow that weighs three times as much as any normal pillow, and I’ll rarely travel without it. I’ve cut a lot of the tags off my clothes because any little itch or scratch will drive me crazy. I have days where jeans are just too “uncomfortable,” so I opt for leggings or sweatpants. I simply cannot wear shoes that rub or give me blisters, no matter how cute they are. I’m a sucker for comfort. Give me the tennis shoes, the sweatpants, the tie-dye t-shirt, the messy buns- I’ll just look like I’m going to work out, even though I probably have zero plans to do so. Being uncomfortable for the sake of practicality or for the sake of fashion is something I rarely choose.
But what about being uncomfortable for the sake of Christ? How often am I choosing to be uncomfortable for the sake of Christ, a surely worthy cause to be uncomfortable for? Lately God has been revealing well-worn patterns of my own “Christian” comfortability, my own “Christian comfort zone” to me, and with that presenting me with a challenge.
Wearing Chaco’s, spending time in the Word in cute coffee shops, hammocking with friends after Sunday church and brunch, and getting coffee with people who live the same lifestyle and believe the same things I do are all very, very comfortable for me.
Now comfort is not bad, and the comfortable things I mentioned are all very good, enjoyable things. However, the hindrance comes when we are seeking comfort more than we are seeking Christ. It’s so easy to get the ideals of what modern society portrays Christianity should look like, mixed up with what Christ actually calls us to do. I think when we disregard the comfort of what some of these ideals look like and truly seek Christ first, He often takes us well out of our comfort zones, beyond these ideals… and into truly following Him.
Jesus himself lived a highly uncomfortable life. All throughout the gospels, we see Him retreat to lonely places, encounter satan in the wilderness, experience long periods of hunger, cast out many demons, heal those with ravaging diseases, befriend the outcasts, call out those who dishonored Him, and finally endure scorn and shame as He gave his life on a cross with a crown of thorns on His head. Doesn’t sound too comfortable, does it?
While Jesus may not call us to all of these extremes, I do believe that He calls us to step outside of our comfort zones more often than not if we agree to follow Him. This looks different for everyone, as it did in scripture when Jesus was truly summoning people to follow him. However, a common theme was that he asked many people to trade what they knew to be comfortable for what he was truly asking of them.
Reaching out to the person who is always seen sitting by themselves in the dining hall, speaking the name of Jesus in a secular environment, getting coffee with someone who does not have the same lifestyle I do or believe what I do, speaking up for those who are being oppressed, diving into the hurt of a messy situation with someone who needs me in their corner can all be very, very uncomfortable for me.
When I feel Jesus asking me to do something hard or uncomfortable, it’s very easy for me to come up with some sort of excuse of, “Well Jesus ya know I have a lot going on this week… I’m not really cut out for that… that person or situation really doesn’t need me... this small act will not change the whole world so why bother… my dog ate my homework…” and on and on. Being uncomfortable is scary, especially for someone like me who likes control and likes to always know what’s going to happen next.
Something Jesus is faithful to remind me of, to remind us both of though, is that He would not lead us where He does not plan on going. He is not going to call us out of our comfortability and let us flounder there- that’s not the kind of God He is. In whatever He calls us to, He has great plans and great purposes He wants to fulfill through us. It’s not up to us to strive and make sure everything goes great; all God is asking of us is to say “yes,” take that next step, and trust Him. And while we may not find our ideas of worldly comfort there, here’s what we will find- contentment. The apostle Paul had something to say about this as he was imprisoned and definitely not in what I would consider a comfort zone.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
Comfort comes from circumstances. Contentment comes from Christ.
Friends, although like me you may be squirming at the thought of it, let’s get into the practice of asking Jesus to gently yet firmly lead us out of our comfort zones. Let’s trade comfort for the contentment that comes in knowing Him and walking in obedience with Him. Let’s get uncomfortable for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom, that more and more would come to know our sweet Savior Jesus.
Erin // @erin_mccallum