I am so uncomfortable...again.
Most of the time I find I am uncomfortable.
I think this springs from a life-long fight with fear and insecurity.
I don't know why I struggle so much because I have a lot of reasons to feel secure. I am loved. I am safe. I am saved.
What else could a girl need? Apparently, to feel comfortable.
Uncomfortable - causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort (Webster)
Uncomfortable - causing or feeling emotional, mental and spiritual anxiety (Jan)
It's not physical discomfort that tends to rock my world. After all these years, I've learned there is usually some form of relief I can find from physical pain. (Thank goodness for modern medicine.)
It's the pain of the heart, the effect of wounds, the threat of loss, the bite of disappointment that I struggle with. I constantly am maneuvering to move myself from uncomfortable to comfortable.
A few years ago I was complaining to God about how tired I was of constantly struggling with being uncomfortable. I seemed to always be unsure of my place. I didn't know for sure when to speak up and when to shut up. Should I stand up or should I sit down? Is this the moment to advance or is this the moment to withdraw?
I heard the Holy Spirit whisper -
"Didn't you want to be on the front lines?"
Years ago I picked up my first book on spiritual warfare. I don't remember the title, but I remember that is was red and black and that every time I looked at it I felt uncomfortable. I was so uncomfortable that I hid it in my underwear drawer face down. I eventually gave it away to someone else I thought needed help more than me. (Wow! Ultimate arrogance.) No surprise, I had to buy it again and eventually I found the courage to dig into some territory that was so uncomfortable.
Where would I be today if I hadn't finally been awakened to the forces of war all around me? More importantly, I became aware of the spiritual authority resident in me.
I remember having this moment of revelation.
I finally acknowledged I was in a war - the war of wars - but I only wanted to be in the support troops. I told God I'd serve in the kitchen. (Why would I say that to God? We all know I am useless in the kitchen.) It's kind of like when I've said to my boys, you may not join the military, but if you must, you can only be the weather guy. I didn't want them to choose a role that put them on the front line. I wanted them to live, not die.
Obviously, I wanted the same for myself.
I was in the kitchen.
One day (I don't know when or how long it took) I remember moving from the back of the pack to the front lines. I felt called, front and center. I knew the enemy was advancing against me and my family, and I was mad about it. I was tired of depending on others to war on my behalf and I was tired of getting beat up even though I was serving in the canteen.
That day I moved from comfortable to uncomfortable.
Fast forward at least 20 years...and I was so weary with uncomfortable. I was daily asking God to take away the sensations of the unknown, the threatening, the nearness of death. I wanted Him to define my "place" so that I could become comfortable. (I just realized I was kind of longing for the kitchen duty again. Foolish!)
"Didn't you want to be on the front lines? You can't have comfortable and advance the Kingdom. If you want to be a part of what is happening at the forefront of my Kingdom, you will be uncomfortable, but I will comfort you. In every moment, I am right there with you. I am the comforter."
The price of following hard after the things of God is the willingness to live in the zone of the battle that is uncomfortable. (And by the way - it's too late to go back anyway.) If I really want to leave a mark on others that is beautiful and legacy building, if I really want to be a vital part of what God is doing, then I must stand in the zone of warfare that is uncomfortable.
I have to become comfortable with uncomfortable.
The sensation of being uncomfortable is a sure sign that you are already in your place. (You just don't like your place. Ouch! Talking to myself.) Our place is in the midst of a battle where we can destroy the works of the enemy, advance against darkness, and fulfill our destiny. It's often hand-to-hand combat. We might get wounded or even die. We may be hungry, cold, tired or discouraged, but here's the good news...we are not alone.
He promised to comfort me, in every wave of war, He is with me. He stands next to me. Often He steps in front of me to fend off an especially evil attack. He coaches me to use my weapons well. He encourages me to advance against darkness with great courage. He becomes my strength as I wait in His presence.
I've had to learn that resting in the midst of the uncomfortable is a key to victory. I can take a deep breath, listen for His voice, sense His presence and even be steadfast - all while I am extremely uncomfortable. His presence is comforting even when my circumstance is uncomfortable.
How about you? Always begging God to change your circumstance so you feel less fearful and more comfortable? Welcome to the club.
Can I encourage you to stop focusing on the circumstance and begin to really focus on His presence in the midst of it? This is the highest form of spiritual warfare. Peace in the midst of war. (You will really annoy and confuse your enemies.) Here you can sit in the eye of the storm and be comforted. He will not leave you. You are not alone. All is well.