Comfort-able and Dis-Comfort

Posted in Come and See Updated

I enjoy comfort.  If the choice before me was to sit alone in a room on a board or in a La Z Boy to watch a movie, I would not see the point in offering the options.  I would be feet up, laid back before I ever saw the board (and with an obligatory bowl of popcorn to boot).  When possible I am sans tie and in shorts.  Sitting around the house I find myself laying on the floor or kicking my feet up no matter where I am 'just to get comfortable.' 

Yet, comfort is not always a true guide for whats best for us.  For example (and this can be attested to my many chiropractor bills over the years), it is easier to sit or stand in a comfortable way with poor posture.  It hurts less to not exercise.  It is more comfortable to return to that which we know when ordering food or seeking help, causing us to miss better options.  Binge watching Netflix can feel better than studying.  It can feel comfortable to build up walls around our life as we see the safety of the barrier giving us a more consistent experience.  Comfort leads us to not risk and isolate ourselves.  In fact studies show excessive pursuit of the safe, comfortable life can be harmful to you.

This choice of comfort was taken from me recently as I found my vehicle being unwilling to start on my way to a church meeting.  It ran earlier in the day and then it would not turn over.  First, there was the discomfort of the need to be somewhere with my plan to get there failing.  After finding another ride (and thus putting my wonderful wife uncomfortably out of transportation for the next week), there was the discomfort of being in a new town without a mechanic we have come to trust.  We spent the next two weeks juggling and borrowing vehicles while cringing at the thought of taking on debt to replace it. However, I am grateful for the discomfort of it all.

This discomfort gave me a reason to reach into the wonderful community of St Andrew with our needs.  We received vehicles to drive along with prayer requests to offer, repair assistance along with impromptu play time, and a reminder how wonderful it is to live an itinerant life.  Just over a year ago, we came here as relative strangers.  Yet through the joy of leaving our comfort zone through introductions and questions (and some wonderfully awkward conversations), we have found ourselves not only with good neighbors in West Lafayette, but also in a great church family united by a love of Jesus.  This community has been there for us numerous times, and it gives us comfort to know it will be there again.

I have heard it said the gospel 'comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfort-able.'  Being comfort-able implies an environment in which comfort is always within reach.  Being comfort-able often means turning others' needs and pursuits into something to be avoided and thus misunderstood.  I saw this in a new light recently as St Andrew sent several of us to a Leadership Summit.  There, Bryan Stevenson, urged us to do uncomfortable things, for it is when you get proximate to an issue that you can become broken enough to lead others to real mercy and understanding.  It is from this willingness to discomfort ourselves when we can best offer the love of the true Comforter to others.

I still enjoy comfort and will make many decisions to ensure I have some from time to time.  And hopefully soon I will find a way to pry myself from the known comforts of an old vehicle to one more dependable.  But it is my hope from now until then, you will find me weekly if not daily discomforting myself to be broken for others in God's love.

~Joseph Seger