My attendance at the exercise class where the instructor yelled this was short-lived, but her words have stuck with me. They remind of one of my favorite Bible verses.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Whether we are working out our bodies or trying to stay spiritually fit, the same truth applies. Transformation requires you to get uncomfortable.
Good managers are acutely aware of this. Right when you get really comfortable with something, they re-assign you to work on something else. They never let you settle in too much, because they know that’s not how you grow. In his book, From Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about how the truly great companies set stretch goals by defining them as BHAGs, or Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Good managers know that you have to set these types of stretch goals at every level to be successful.
To say that God calls you to go outside your comfort zone is an understatement. He calls you to do things that are so uncomfortable, you almost want to laugh. He called his disciple Peter to actually walk on water. Even though Peter had just seen Jesus walk on the water, it was still hard for Peter to understand how in the world he could do this! After all, Jesus is God, and Peter is, well, NOT God.
“‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said. ‘Why did you doubt?’”
Jesus called Peter to walk on the water, not because He relished the opportunity to watch Peter squirm, but because He knew it would demonstrate God’s incredible power and the importance of faith. God calls us to walk through things that make us uncomfortable, not because he knows we can handle it, but because He knows we can’t. He knows we’ll be forced to rely on Him, and that’s the whole point. When you go outside your comfort zone and take a risk, you have to trust God. When God comes through for you, as He always does, not only is He glorified, but your faith is strengthened by the experience. You are “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Today, I challenge you to seek God by following the calls He puts on your heart that make you uncomfortable. Smile and say hi to someone who looks like she needs a friend, even though it feels awkward and intrusive. Forgive someone that you have every right to stay mad at. Talk to your husband about that issue you’ve been hoping will go away but just isn’t. Call that relative or friend you haven’t talked to in ages who keeps coming to mind. Make amends for your part in an argument even if the other person was more at fault. Join that choir you keep talking about wanting to be a part of.
Allow God to transform you by stepping out into the waves and trusting Him. He won’t let you down, I promise.
One of the most “uncomfortable” times in my life was at the very end of my pregnancy. I wasn’t in constant pain, just UNCOMFORTABLE. I heard someone say this is God’s way of preparing you for labor. You are so uncomfortable and ready for the baby to just GET OUT, you are pretty much willing to go through anything. I have a good friend right now was beyond uncomfortable at the end of her pregnancy. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t even get comfortable enough to just lay in her bed and watch TV.
Sometimes discomfort is God’s way of preparing us for something else. And just like a pregnant woman has to go from extraordinary discomfort to labor pains before she knows the joy of motherhood, when you stretch yourself outside your comfort zone for God, you don’t always transition immediately from awkwardness to Holy Spirit-filled serenity. Sometimes, there is pain in between. Don’t be discouraged if you take a risk and the result is not what you hoped for. Just keep pressing on, one step at a time, and trust God’s word that He will eventually lead you to a better place.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10
This verse promises us not only that our suffering is temporary but that God will make us stronger through it if we let Him. In the next topic, we will go beyond just getting uncomfortable, and talk about changing our perception of pain. For today, whether you are feeling mild discomfort or going through something much more painful, take heart and let hope be enough.
All of us mommas know that my friend’s discomfort today will be worth it a few days from now. If her experience is like mine, once her sweet baby boy enters this world, today will be but a fleeting memory, replaced by a new kind of joy she can’t even begin to imagine. She has the hope of that joy. She has an idea of what it will look like. But, as a woman who hasn’t yet had a healthy child, she doesn’t really know. Similarly, we all go through new things that are uncomfortable and just plain icky, where all we have is hope. As you take steps to be who God calls you to be, lean into those uncomfortable moments and remember that sometimes discomfort precedes joy and transformation beyond your comprehension.
Originally published on The Sisterhood blog (tothemoonsisterhood.com)