A few days back I had this kind of funny thought: “God sure doesn’t want me being too comfortable these days!” With my recent job loss and uncertain housing and work future (although I have some exciting news to share with you on my next blog post...stay tuned!), the desire to be comfortable has certainly been low on the totem pole. I’d take “employed” and “housed” long before I’d take comfortable! In and of itself, comfortable isn’t a bad thing. There are people who believe that true followers of God must be miserably uncomfortable in order to show their esteem for God. Nothing in Scripture would suggest that this is true. However, comfort can become an excuse to not do what God has asked you to do. Neither of these extremes works for someone trying to live the Overboard Life.
While pondering these thoughts, I came across this awesome video by an American made garment company making waves in the fashion industry by selling their self-proclaimed “world’s best” zip-up hoodie for $90. A recent write up on a popular web site shot their product sales thru the roof, and for a short time, sales for a hoodie -- yes, a hoodie -- were back ordered for 5 months! American Giant went to work to increase productivity, find new suppliers and improve their warehouse and shipping efficiency. American Giant understands the dangers of being comfortable. Check out their ad:
This season of discomfort has been good for me. It has reminded me of the things that are important and helped me to reinvest in the habits and patterns that I need in order to achieve what the Lord has put on my heart. Early mornings and late nights are generally not the hours that the comfort-lovers participate in. I’ve been reminded at how important the extra moments of each day are, choosing to spend those spare minutes investing intentionally in relationships, building business partnerships and engaging my wife and kids more often. Discomfort has improved my time management.
Discomfort has also re-fueled my passions. I want to be a person that is driven primarily by values and beliefs, not organizational bureaucracy or paycheck-driven work. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of working because you get paid, or to belong to something that isn’t value driven but is comfortable or easy. Discomfort has returned a fire in my belly to live/work/play/worship/serve/love/give/dream according to the God-given values that make life worth living: self-sacrifice, contentment, faith, love, belief, forgiveness, trust, generosity etc...
I have also been the recipient of a healthy dose of perspective during this time of upheaval. While trying to navigate what's next for our family, I've been far more aware of the plight of others. My friend Caleb is ministering in the Ukraine, and is experiencing, first hand, the ravages of war (his blog is outstanding, and would be worth your time). All around the world, Christians are being publicly persecuted, beaten and murdered as punishment for their faith. Being jobless and homeless is a big deal, but it has been good for me to keep our journey in perspective.
Finally, this period of discomfort has fired up my desire to create and dream. I think I just came out of a season where I felt creativity was stifled, and where constant turn over created an environment of fear and uncertainty. Fear kills dreams, and stifling creativity forges an environment where creating something new is almost impossible. The level of discomfort God has allowed us to experience has fired up the ol’ dream machine again, and now, more than ever, I’m eager to engage in the creative process of building something new (you really need to read Monday’s blog post!).
I can’t say I’ve become a fan of being uncomfortable, but in a strange way, I’m starting to enjoy the feeling. After all, the Bible reminds us that, ultimately, I'm a sojourner in this world. Still, I’m praying that God will allow us to find a life-rhythm that will allow us to have a place to live, a clear direction for service (part of that prayer is already taking shape...check back on Monday!) and a comfortable level of discomfort (commonly referred to as “Disuncomfort”*) where time is managed well, passions are fueled, perspective is kept and dreams inspire creative growth.
At the end of 1 Peter, the apostle reminds us, “...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.” Those are great words of encouragement for the imprisoned, the persecuted and for those who’ve had life turned upside-down on them.
Go ahead and take the plunge -- it might be a little uncomfortable, but -- life is always better on the water!
*Dis.un.comfort.able: “Dis” is from the popular early 90s phrase [as in, “I’m going to dis you for treating me like that’] and “un” implying the opposite of whatever is next [as in, “un-cool” or “un-sure”], combine with “comfortable” which means “affording or enjoying contentment and security.” Therefore, disuncomfortable is a proper double negative implying the speaker is dissing not being comfortable. Disuncomfortable is a state-of-mind, and generally only used by those experiencing being uncomfortable but are choosing to enjoy their present circumstances, regardless.