I’m Just Not Comfortable With That

By Jill Palmer

My journey started months ago when the Lord began opening my eyes to the daily decisions I make—based on my comfort level. They range in importance: from what time I wake up, to the clothes I select, the way I discipline my children; even to the food I eat. The conversations I have with my husband were also on the list. All these choices could be attributed to my personal level of comfort. I had been avoiding things that made me antsy or ill at ease and spent more time and attention on things that brought me comfort.

I looked up the word comfort to ensure I understood what God wanted to convey. The dictionary defines comfort “as a state or situation in which you are relaxed and do not have any physically unpleasant feelings caused by pain, heat or cold. A state or feeling of being less worried, upset, frightened during a time of emotional trouble or pain.”

Had this become my motivation? Avoidance of physical and emotional unpleasantness? Is this what Christ came to do? Make me comfortable?

Um. No.

In fact, as I read the gospels through the lens of “being comfortable,” I had to chuckle. I couldn’t find one example where Jesus’ motivation was making someone comfortable. Oftentimes, it was exactly the opposite.

Take the rich young ruler, from Mark 10. He came to Jesus asking how he could become one of His disciples. Jesus answered with love and compassion, “follow the commandments.”

The young man replied, “I’ve already done this.”

“Then sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.”

The young man turned and walked away. Clearly not comfortable with this direction.

Had I been Jesus, I would’ve been tempted to chase after him to try to explain myself. But Jesus didn’t do that. He let him walk away and allowed him to feel that discomfort.

Why?

God showed me that when I’m uncomfortable I have a choice. I can allow my feelings to reveal something about myself. My discomfort may stem from loneliness, fear, pride, brokenness, selfishness, past wounds, fear of man, apathy or something else. If I allow God in that place, He will lovingly show me the source of my feelings.

The second revelation is about God Himself. My discomfort can reveal to me more about God and His glorious nature.

Further study led me to dig deeper into His word.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ,” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Scripture calls Him “the God of all comfort.” The Greek word for comfort here is parakiesis meaning exhortation (strongly urge) and encouragement.

The verse goes on to say “He comforts.” This is an entirely different word. The Greek word here is parakaleo meaning “to call to one’s side.”

What a beautiful picture this is. My Jesus, who is whole and complete, lacking nothing, whose name is Comfort, calls me to His side and exhorts and encourages me. I see His arm embracing me and hear his voice, “Walk by My side. I will meet you in this broken place and My strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Rely on Me.”

He doesn’t make me feel comfortable, instead He brings me beautiful comfort. Big difference.

Somehow, we have believed a lie—that God wouldn’t ask us to do what makes us uncomfortable. Serving others, forgiving, tithing, waiting, prayer, repentance, speaking truth, listening, loving our enemies or stepping out into a ministry all may make us twitch. We tend to do what’s comfortable and avoid all else.

Two and a half years ago, my husband requested I pray about applying for the senior pastor role in our church. Big step up. I was terrified —very uncomfortable. The Lord brought me such beautiful, supernatural peace that I knew Jesus would complete me in my insecurity, my weaknesses and in my discomfort.

And He has. He uses my discomfort to guide me to rely on Jesus, not myself.

This is what Paul did.

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dea,”. (2 Corinthians 8b-9)

For just over two years, my husband and I have lived in a strangely amazing, uncomfortable place. It’s a place that reminds me my comfort level, my abilities or my experience alone cannot define my choices. I can rely only on the One who calls me to His complete and perfect side.

 

12 2Jill is a pastor’s wife, a homeschooling mom and Director of Women’s Ministries at the River Church in Durango, Colorado.  She enjoys encouraging women in their relationship with the Lord and seeing them set free.

14 Comments

  1. 9-8-2014

    So love your message here. The way we feel cannot become our guideline for what we do. Thank you for a beautiful reminder that we must move beyond our comfort zone if we are to fully follow Him.

    • 9-8-2014

      Thanks Deb for the opportunity to get uncomfortable again :)

  2. 9-8-2014

    Great post, well said.

    • 9-8-2014

      Thank you Mark. It’s been quite the journey of discomfort!

  3. 9-8-2014

    The perfect post to remind us that we have a purpose in this life and need to pray and seek God’s direction—even when it’s scary and uncomfortable. THANK YOU! I have posted and shared this on Facebook.

    • 9-8-2014

      Thank you for your encouragement Elaine. So many things that God asks of us require some level of discomfort. It’s been my reminder that He is in charge of my life and He will accomplish His will through me. In my weakness (and discomfort) He is strong.

  4. 9-8-2014

    Really wish I had read this yesterday — before I let the fact that I was hungry and tired make me cranky and short-tempered with my husband. This is good stuff. I’ll be back!

    • 9-8-2014

      Haha! My husband and I have a rule (based on your exact experience) to take a nap and eat a snack before having a heated discussion :) It amazes me how much my physical discomfort affects my reactions to things.

  5. 9-8-2014

    Jill, you nailed it with this post. May we not be of those who shrink back and are destroyed…Hebrews 10:38-39. Thank you for this reminder as my husband and I are in the middle of a mission trip and are being stretched in every way. May we choose God’s Kingdom over our comfort!

    • 9-8-2014

      Oh boy!! There is definitely some discomfort on a mission trip no matter where we go! Different places, people, routines… I’m praying that as you are stretched, you see God fill those spaces and your relationship with Him grow and grow!

  6. 9-8-2014

    JP as usual your message zeros in on God’s perspective. I am thankful for how you are able to convey truth. Your heart is beautiful and I am so thankful for you. Great blogpost!

    • 9-9-2014

      Thanks Jen for your encouragement. God met me in my discomfort and I’m so thankful! :)

  7. 9-10-2014

    Our uncomfortableness allows Him to shine and us to completely depend on Him for everything. Love this Jill. Welcome to MPN and the world of writing. You have a gift, keep it up!

    • 9-10-2014

      Thank so much Karen! It’s an uncomfortable and beautiful place to be :)

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