“That’s awkward!”I’ve said this in various contexts: social, athletic, ministry, cultural & lots more. If you’re like me, we tend to avoid what’s awkward & uncomfortable, but sometimes this is detrimental.
When I look at Jesus’ disciples, they seemed to follow Jesus into lots of uncomfortable, inconvenient & awkward scenarios, such as sinking boats, conversations with demon possessed people, massive throw downs with religious leaders & not just a few baffling teaching moments / parables.
Here’s some truth that could be helpful:uncomfortable is often when we grow the most. And maybe we need to grow & mature more than we need comfort & convenience 🙂
I recently enjoyed watching the NCAA college basketball championship game & the most common question was, “Who are you cheering for? Which team do you want to win?”
In essence, which side are you on? As we walked into the arena, we were inundated with Michigan fans so I wasn’t too keen to shout out, “GO ‘NOVA!!!!” But I had definitely picked a side & cheered accordingly.
The same holds true for all of us in the narrative between what the enemy says in contrast to Holy Spirit’s narrative.
The enemy accuses, condemns, shames, deceives & is always trying hurt, kill & destroy us.
On the other side, Holy Spirit advocates, convicts, comforts, leads us into truth, makes us alive, confirms our true identity & continuously pours love into our soul.
So pick your side & actively select the narrative to which you’ll listen & entertain / converse with, keeping in mind the respective outcomes that go with each side 🙂
I’ve tried a few times today to write this blog & found myself relatively speechless – an unusual experience for sure ,)
Obviously, something happened because I’m writing now. Actually, nothing happened, except that I remembered Job’s friends. Whenever I read this book, I’m not just a little disappointed or pt off with his buddies. Their words seem harsh, condemning & altogether insensitive. Indeed, the last verse of Job 2 seems to be the high point of their contribution to consoling Job. In this verse it says, “Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.”
Sometimes the best thing we can do for a friend who is suffering is just to quietly be present with them. Sometimes our words can be unhelpful, particularly when we don’t know what to say. Sometimes, silence is golden 🙂
I was talking with a friend today & we were discussing the various responsibilities that we have, along with navigating these while avoiding any catastrophes. We had a very nice bonding moment in the conversation, sharing with vulnerability some of our individual struggles. It was a very refreshing chat & it reminded me of something I read from Jesus’ words this morning:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary & heavy laden & I will give you rest . . . For I am gentle & humble in heart & you will find rest for your soul”. Matt 11:28-29
We all have stresses, pressures & responsibilities. We want to do well in these things, so sometimes we can get overwhelmed. Let’s remember to continually come to Jesus to give our soul the rest it needs.
Here are a few more helpful verses:
Surely I’ve composed my soul within me, like a weaned child against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me – Ps 133:2
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me – John 14:1
Let your soul rest in the loving & totally able presence of the Holy Spirit
When I was learning to snowboard, I would ride in the middle, flat space of my board. This seemed easier & took less work than riding on one of the edges. But whenever I did that, I would inevitably catch an edge & get smashed into the mountain – lots of pain, weeping & gnashing of teeth. I quickly learned that riding the flat part of my board required less balance but was more risky. After some troublesome injuries I decided to quit riding the middle of my board & just stick the edges even though it was more work to stay balanced.
This lesson rings true for me in my daily living as well. When I get lazy & try to do life in ways that are comfy & convenient, I often run into some challenges that could be avoided if I had done the work to live balanced. It helps me to keep keep my edge in life when I do the extra work, intentionally lean into Jesus & trust walk with the Holy Spirit – Gal 5:16 🙂
Coffee is important to me. I like the taste, it’s nice to have the little wake it gives me & sometimes it’s like a security blanket when I’m nervous or insecure. So waiting for coffee in the morning is kind of like a daily ritual, along with the exhale the accompanies my first sip 🙂
Sometimes coffee reminds me of the Holy Spirit, who comforts me, gives me power / energy & whose flavor infuses my life with delightful taste & aroma.
Because Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to wait for supernatural Help. Rather, let’s pray to recognize & increase our sensitivity to Heavenly Help throughout today 🙂
Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people. For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book. For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party. For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:
being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better
My dad died over this past weekend and it’s been an interesting journey over the last few days with lots of emotions, kind & gentle people along with some rough spots. If you’ve lost someone who is close to you, or have a friend in this situation, here are a few things that have been helpful to me so far:
be gentle with yourself and others: losing someone who is important in your life is hard so being tender and gentle is a necessary counter-point for this hardness
grief is illogical & doesn’t need to be justified: the “why” questions and appropriate answers don’t help, at least not for me up to this point
time versus busy: some people need activity and to be occupied with doing things while others need some space, but too much time or activity can lead to some bad results
presence: what I’ve found helpful is together-ness, someone being present (but not necessarily chatty – smile)
encouragement: let everyone’s encouragement, kind words and supportive efforts come into your heart;
God: involve God at all levels; grief and death are not the times to pull away from God
Are there more things that you’ve found helpful? I’d be keen for your input
Wow!! I can’t begin to thank everyone for their kind words, support & care after my blog about my dad’s death. We’ve had such great encouragement, affirming words and love – way beyond my ability to express gratitude. Thank you again and again!! While this is a bit of a rough season, it’s also really wonderful to sense Jesus’ love through so many different people and so many different ways. Thanks loads for letting Jesus use you to bring comfort and care to our family.
May God reach into your life, open your eyes and increase your sensitivity to the immense and infinite love that God has for you. Again, thanks so much!!
We all get put into situations that aren’t comfortable for us: conversations that make us squirm, meeting people who are intimidating, tasks that seem impossible given our skill set, expectations to which we never agreed, etc. There are a myriad of things that can make us uncomfortable & each person is unique with those discomforts. Despite our individuality, I can propose a solution for these struggles that has universal application: prayer 🙂
For me, prayer isn’t just the requests I make to God or the quiet time I spend in the morning, although these are most certainly very necessary expressions of prayer. Here’s my secret: when I get put into difficult situations or crazy conversations, etc, I take a pause moment in my heart & turn to God. I listen & watch for some Divine input & without any surprise, God shows up. Often, I’ll receive some helpful wisdom, sometimes I receive comfort & at other times, I seem to be more settled & secure so that the situation isn’t such a stress.
Prayer can be many things, including the inward turning or opening to God 🙂
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about – my Hebrew teacher says this us: direction & not perfection. He wants us to try, even though we may make a mistake. I’ve been thinking about this because I know that there are alot of times when I don’t try something because I know I’ll be bad at it, or I’ll look stupid, or I know that I’ll fail, or . . . . . I think we are all like this to varying degrees. Maybe you shy away from sports because you’re not athletically “inclined”. Maybe you avoid musical instruments because you don’t have “that knack.” Maybe you avoid certain things because in the past, you’ve had failures in those areas. While I think there’s some wisdom about how & where we spend our time, efforts, talents, etc; I also think that we need to be careful about how we potentially limit ourselves and even possibly God. I think that sometimes our “no” could be an indirect way of telling God that He won’t be able to use us in a particular circumstance or situation. Let’s be careful that we don’t justify our “no” to God based upon our past, our comfort or our talents & abilities.
Remember, God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the call. God doesn’t use the perfect, but rather the broken. God doesn’t depend on your ability as much as you availability. Perfection is for heaven & practice is for earth – don’t quit practicing 🙂