Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spritual Growth and Comfort

We had some friends over today for supper, Keith and Lee and their charming (and I must say well behaved) children. It was great! After dinner (my famous homemade macaroni and cheese) Keith and I were talking about life stuff. I'm not sure how we got onto it but we were talking about being comfortable; comfortable with one's job, ministry, relationships, finances, etc. I told Keith that for myself, whenever I am comfortable for too long, my spiritual life gets worse. In fact, if you graphed it out on an X and Y axis, it would show a perfect curve. As comfort increases, spiritual vitality decreases at the same rate. Yikes!

When I'm comfortable for too long my walk with Christ begins to wither. I seek comfort and ease but the more I experience them the less I experience Christ. Sadly, I need challenges and "hard things" to keep me connecting to God. Am I happy about this? No, but its the reality I have learned to accept.

We are continually moving from comfort to discomfort and back again. Of course no one could live in discomfort and challenge for too long - eventually it would destroy them. Comfort is good and should be enjoyed providing we don't get stuck in it and spend most of our energy trying to stay in it. Does that describe you (it sometimes describes me)? Let's face it, when we choose to get out of our comfort zone we are usually at our best. To willingly risk and tackle challenges again after a time of comfort is one of the best choices we can make for ourselves and those who depend on us.

Too much comfort will eventually destroy us. And the rule doesn't just apply to individuals. Businesses, churches, and ministry teams all begin to lose their edge as soon as they live in comfort for too long. They become complacent and their "muscles" soften. And eventually they will self destruct.

At Olive Garden we got our worst guest satisfaction survey scores when we were slowest. Our best scores were received on our busiest nights when we had a full and hopping restaurant. Coincidence? I think not! Though we long for it, I believe we were not meant to be comfortable all (or even most) of the time. Perhaps if we did not have a sinful nature we could handle it, but I suspect most of us are like me. Instead of believing that a life of ease would solve all our problems I think we need to move to thinking about a life of challenges with occasional times of ease as the ideal situation. Embrace your lack of comfort - like eating your vegetables its good for you.

May Light increase!


Leanne said...

hey - we had a great time last night - thanks for your hospitality!
I agree - I think too much "comfort" breeds discontent. This has been a year of great stretching for Keith and me and it has been exciting - not always comfortable but definitely interesting!

Mark said...

Hey Lee, you honored us greatly by coming over - thank you!

Comfort does indeed breed discontent!

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