Uncomforting Comfort

I am a creature of comfort.

I love cozying up to a coffee, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. I enjoy doing the things I like. I like feeling safe and loved. I prefer to do the things I am good at (or at least think I’m good at) instead of the things I’m not as good at. I like feeling at ease – as though my life is wrapped around me like a warm blanket. I will go out of my way to leave my house 10 minutes early so I can buy a coffee on a Friday before I go to work. I would rather talk with people I know than meet people I don’t.

Do you know what brings me the most comfort? Planning. Not just any plan – a well thought-out, itemized, goal oriented, risk-managed plan.

This is how I approach my life. I’m twenty-three and if I could have everything planned out for the next 5 years I would. I mean, ideally I would have at least 10 with a contingency plan but 5 years is me trying to be optimistic. In my head a 3 year plan is realistic. Do you know those people who say “come any time around 8 – we’re flexible”? I’m not that person. If I say 8 I mean 7:55 – earlier if necessary to account for traffic and weather.

I hate change.

I don’t like the idea of leaving. I don’t want to do things outside my “comfort zone”. I would rather not confront someone and just deal with it myself than bring up an issue. I dislike when employees or processes change at work. I really don’t like the idea of having to change how I set up my schedule. I don’t want to let new people into my bubble.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some changes that I didn’t hate!

I liked changing from not owning a car to owning one. I enjoy not having to go to school anymore. I much prefer life after the discovery of coffee…The only times I like change are when it makes me feel more comfortable – I liked buying a new car because it made it more comfortable to get to work, to do what I wanted after work, and to be less dependant on others. No school? Significantly less stress and more time. Coffee? Um, have you tried it?

The only time I like change is when I have control over that change or I know it will bring me more comfort. (and, you know, I’ve spent a few months working it into my life plan) Change scares me at the best of times, and at the worst of times it’s a thing I avoid like the plague.

Lets see what God has to say about my comforting plans:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
– Proverbs 19:21

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
– James 4:13-15

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
– Proverbs 27:1

I like the way my life is. I’m comfortable in it. But God doesn’t say I get to live a comfortable, “well-planned-out-by-me” life. He doesn’t say I get to stay where I am. He keeps telling me there’s more to life than what I see now – that he isn’t done with me yet. And every time I decide to believe him and take a step forward I see that he’s right. But do you know what he does next? He whispers “Christy. I’ve still got more.” And he’s always right. Every. Single. Time. Even if I’m not more comfortable, the places he leads me are better. And how I view him and understand him gets richer and deeper.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
– John 10:10

I don’t think a full life doesn’t mean that all of my hours are planned. It doesn’t mean that I know what is going to happen in 10 years. I think maybe it has more to do with walking with God through it all. Less worrying about tomorrow, more living in today. Less heavy contemplation about small little things and more openness to things changing. Less focus on how to organize things so life goes “the right way” and more on how to listen and accept that the road isn’t a straight path forward.

When I am comfortable, that is when I ought to be the least comfortable. It is then when I am leaning less on God and more on myself.

 

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Wisdom is Justified by Her Deeds (Matthew 11-12)

Disclaimer: I was slightly confused by the line and wanted to make sure I was right and asked my dad about it. My mind is churning with things, and I tried to spit some of it out as I’m processing. Hopefully it will make sense.

Wisdom is justified by her deeds – Matt. 11:19

I’ve never noticed this part of chapter 11 before, but it stuck out to me this time around in Matthew, reminding me of basically the entire book of Proverbs, but this in particular:

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
     in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
     at the entrance of the city gates she speaks” – Pro. 1:20-21

The concept of wisdom has always intrigued me, and how evident it is in the Bible that worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom are different, but that Godly wisdom is something we should seek. She is “calling out” for us to listen, yet so often her calls go unheeded. And Job 28 talks about how “the fear of the Lord” is wisdom, and that it is not found any other way on the earth or the heavens. So now Jesus is referring to wisdom’s deeds. Interest piqued.

The deeds that Jesus mentions wisdom is justified here, is the same word that Matthew uses in 11:2 when John is asking about the deeds Jesus is doing: εργον (ergon), which means in this context “the deeds that reflect a moral character.” In this case, it is the character of God. Point being, the reference of the deeds Jesus did – the blind see, lame walk, lepers are cleaned, deaf hear, dead rise, and poor have hope – are actions that reflect the wisdom of God.

Interestingly, it is also in reference to John’s deeds that Jesus speaks in verse 19. Both of them were different, one ate and drank, the other didn’t, but their deeds still pointed to the evident fact that God was working through them to display his kingdom. Different styles of leadership, same end result. (hint for future committee) God will work in whatever way he sees fit, it will look different as it manifests in different people. It is a sobering concept, but also a joyful one as it reminds me that God can indeed use me as well in spreading his glory.

What kills me is that right after that we get a list of people who saw the deeds and didn’t believe. I mean, if I saw all that stuff, I’m not sure what I’d do, but I think I’d be rather tempted to believe the person doing them. Especially the dead rising one. But even seeing the deeds of John would have made me pause to think.

This concept of actions reflecting the heart from which they are poured out comes back again in chapter 12 when Jesus talks about how a tree is known by its fruit. If our deeds are an outflow of what is in our hearts, all the more reason to make sure we fill our hearts and our minds with good things instead of evil! 

I realize there are so many things in these chapters I didn’t touch on, but I didn’t want to ramble for 20 more paragraphs….