Before 2020 turned into the craziest year for all of us, I started with the goal of losing 10 pounds. My doctor said, “You work out, eat well, and you love fitness…can you lose some weight?”
I began by going to a nutritionist who helped me see how my food choices included natural sugars and extra calories. I started tracking my sleep. But the big kicker was my daughter Taylor’s suggestion to get a stationary bike – A Peleton without the cost. I got a dupe bike for a fraction of the cost and downloaded the App. This all arrived a week before the stay at home orders went into effect.
During one of the spin classes, one of the instructors said, “You need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” That phrase has been part of my journey ever since. Not just in my exercise… in everything.
This year has challenged so many of us to go to uncomfortable places. Not just outside our homes but inside as well. In our jobs, relationships, families and even our own thoughts, we feel the strain that is put on these precious parts of our lives. Our human nature wants to move back to what feels normal, comfortable or easy. Honestly, who knows what that is going to look like? We were not created to do this alone. We need to invite God to be with us as we navigate these uncomfortable times.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV”.
Look at the action verbs in this verse – come, take, find. Let’s use these as our template to look at what the uncomfortable can do for us if we let it.
Coming to God is humbling. You have to admit that you need something bigger than yourself. You will need to slow down the speed of life into a series of moments where you can admit you are not in control, you don’t know the answers and you recognize your brokenness. This is uncomfortable. If you think it is only you, look around – we are all broken. If you need more encouragement, look in the Bible. All the heroes of the Bible… broken and needed God to intervene.
Need one more nudge? Jesus himself needed to come to God. ‘Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. ‘ Luke 5:15-16
As his ministry and notoriety spread, Jesus pulled away and spent time with God. What does that look like for you – reading the Bible, prayer, worship? Maybe it is sitting quietly and letting God speak to you. Come to Him and just talk with him. Tell Him everything…he can handle it.
What do you take up? The truth. This is a big one for me. One of the greatest deceptions in our lives are the stories that we allow in our heads. Your mind is bombarded with stories every day. People’s lives and situations, social media, the news, society, culture, entertainment, politics, and even the church are creating new stories every day. You wake up and go through your day picking up pieces of other people’s story while trying to understand the one that is in your head.
You may have heard the verse, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV. Let me encourage you to add the verse before it to the equation. ‘To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ‘ John 8:31-32. You have to believe Jesus is who he says he is. And you have to believe the Bible is true and apply it to your life.
Taking God’s word and using it as guide for our lives is uncomfortable because it directly contradicts our human nature to be comfortable. We like to focus on ourselves and what we need more than what is best for us. The first time I pushed away a second helping, went to bed early or sweated in my garage did not make me comfortable. It was just the opposite. It is a choice to give up the thing that feels good in the moment for the bigger picture or goal. I choose to be uncomfortable to see the growth and progress. Same with God’s word – it’s your choice to either keep it on the shelf or live by it.
When you come to God and take up His truth, What do you find? You come to the place that God will meet you in your brokenness, bring true love and direction… and you will find peace.
Honestly, I am doing my best to apply all this to my life every day. For the last year and a half, my family has been through many challenges. Personal curveballs that have knocked us down like waves during a hurricane physically and emotionally. Add the ministry, pandemic and racial tensions in our culture today. It is truly uncomfortable. Yet…and this is a big YET…I am walking in a peace that I have never felt before. Only with God, can I take everything that comes my way each day and win the battle for peace. I am not enough but He is!
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ‘ Philippians 4:6-7
Can I leave you with one more uncomfortable challenge? What if this verse is true? What if God really can meet you in your mess today and you could walk through it with a heart and mind at peace? What do you imagine that would look like? Personally, I am living that. I am uncomfortable with many of the things in my life right now. YET…I know who I am and who I am not. YET…I know what I control and what I do not. I am uncomfortable…YET, I take comfort in Him.
YET...I am at peace.