Escaping Comfort

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
— Paul the Apostle [Phillipians 4:11-13]

Do you remember school dances? I do.

The dress, the hair, the date. All awkward, all the time.

One night after one of these historic dances I decided to corner my date in the car.

He couldn’t escape. He had to hear me out. He didn’t have a choice unless he wanted to tuck and roll out of a moving vehicle. He listened to me rant and cry for a good fifteen minutes because I couldn’t take it anymore.

I had to get out.

I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t want to just go get a job. I wanted to do something extreme.

I wanted to…to… move to Africa. Not kidding.

I was telling my bewildered date that I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t move to Africa and become a missionary. I was ready to do the dang thing. 

In that moment I hated my stupid dress, and my stupid hair and the stupid dance because for me none of it mattered in light of eternity.

In my mind I was straight up wasting my life.

Well, I didn’t go to Africa.

I did end up going to four years of college and then two years of ministry training school where I ended up meeting my husband. It might not seem as exciting as the mission field but it was what God had for me next. 

But that desire never left, the desire to do something extraordinary with my life. Not for money, not for fame, but because Jesus is worthy. And for me, those six years and every year after that have been extraordinary. The mundane and the exciting. The times where I was in the same place for years and the times where I was on hold for mere months. 

So what’s my point?

That feeling. That urgency. We can’t let that die. I think it has something to do with the difference between comfort and contentment.

Our contentment is not based on circumstances. Comfort, on the other hand, is all about the circumstances (Tweet this).

Contentment is based on the reality that things will change, they will evolve, and that desire not to settle is what steadily moves us forward. That desire, when coupled with an unwavering trust in God , does not war against contentment it wars against comfort.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
— King Solomon [Proverbs 3:5-6]

Sometimes it may manifest itself in weird ways, i.e. practically holding your date hostage in a moving vehicle.

I think there are moments where we all get freaked out and wonder if we're wasting our lives. Well, honestly, you might be. But too many times we lull ourselves into a state of complacency, rather than taking inventory. 

If you do this does it mean you're not content?

Nope, that's not what Paul was saying in Phillipians 4.

I think sometimes we interpret that verse as, "Stay put. You just need to learn to be content where you are. Jesus will help you handle it" But I think there's more to it than that.

What I think he might be saying is that, following Jesus will take you many places you didn't think you would go, and some of them, scratch that, most of them, will be outside your comfort zone. But Jesus gives us the strength to embrace any situation with contentment because it's for our good and His glory. 

So, here’s a question you need to ask yourself from time-to-time…

Am I comfortable or am I content?          


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