Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Getting out of Comfortable

"But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through."
-Francis Chan

I would say I have a comfortable life. We have bills like everyone else and owe our debts, but we are able to have extras and fulfill some of our wants. Christmas was two days ago and I can look around this house and see that my children are immeasurably blessed. They didn't ask for anything extravagant...a couple of dolls for my oldest and a Beauty and the Beast tea cart for my 3 year old. We tried to cut down the list of toys this year for family members too. We requested they buy activities for them, art supplies, practical things, etc over toys. For the love of God...no more toys! I cannot wait to give the toys away to the masses. My girls had a great Christmas and I am thankful they did. I can't help but think about my three year old's response after opening all of her gifts. It wasn't from a place of gratitude, thankfulness, or appreciation. It was coming from a place of wanting more and not being satisfied. When my five year old still had two more gifts to open, my three year old,  after she had already opened all of hers, said "Mommy, I want to open more gifts!! That's not fair!" She then bursts into tears.
I had to restrain myself from yelling out crazy things to her. Of course my first thought was "How dare you?!" with a very dramatic gasp. But it makes sense with the way our finite, human minds and longings work. Even a three year old thinks if I get more and more, I'll be happy and more happy. Oh my child, if only it worked that way. If I'm being honest, I wanted to sack up every new toy sitting around her on the floor and take it straight to good will in that moment. But in retrospect, it seems like a reflection of her surroundings. Something that is in us naturally. I have never once taught her to demand more things or if she has more of something, she'll be more happy or content. Children want toys. And they want other kids' toys. They want the loudest, coolest, most colorful, most technologically advanced, most hard to wire, most impossible to get toy. They want that toy with all of their being and with every Santa visit, they beam with joy as they rattle off their wishlist. And Christmas morning, when that gift is opened, it's pure joy for our momma hearts to see our children get what they were wanting so badly.
But a couple days after Christmas...where is that deeply desired tea cart now? It's lying on the floor next to the tub of toys that haven't been played with for months. Where is that longing they had for that toy? It's completely diminished and a new desire for a different toy has taken it's place. Where is the joy they displayed when that gift was opened? It was but a fleeting moment and just like a gust of wind, it's gone too.
Isn't this just like the way we adults operate too? We demand and teach our children to be happy with what they have, that having things isn't important and that people and relationships are. We often say "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit." Yet, how often do we throw righteous adult fits when something goes array? Don't we stomp our feet and throw our hands in the air when someone doesn't fit the mold of our expectation of them? What about when someone does better than you or gets promoted over you or overlooks you altogether? I can hear the inner crying now.
Being comfortable in your life does not equal peace. Just because my daughter was given what she wanted, she was still restless. Still angry that she didn't get to open more gifts. Jealous that her sister had more to open and then disappointed when she didn't have any left to. We often equate joy and peace with a comfortable life. Comfortable financially. Comfortable in our routines. Comfortable in our relationships. Comfortable in our jobs. Comfortable in sitting out of charity work. Comfortable in knowing someone else will do it.
I would argue being comfortable, or society's definition of it, isn't peaceful at all. Comfortable makes me think of lukewarm or stagnant water. Just sitting. Not nurturing anything. Not being useful in any way. Just sitting there in a warm glass that someone has forgotten about on the bedside table. Comfortable is a black and white painting, a richly routined life with no room for things outside of the norm, especially not the things of God or His calling. Because if we were obedient to that calling, we would be pushed way outside of our comfort zones.

And that is exactly where I want to be.

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