Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 027 An Uncomfortable Life
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #027 – An Uncomfortable Life
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
One of the greatest perks of being a podcaster is that no one can see me. I can record without wearing makeup, dressed in my shabby “stay home” clothes, and my hair barely finger combed. Nobody at home cares, and my youngest actually prefers this mommy look and attire. If I am just staying at home, dressing this way is ultra-comfortable!
Do you have favorite, comfortable attire? Is it what you usually only wear at home? Or do you always dress that way? I admit that I am picky. I don’t like pajamas that twist, sleeping on sheets with wrinkles in them, or socks that slide and pinch my toes with the sock seam. Who can stand anything that binds or pulls? Being comfortable keeps a person cheerful, at ease, and contented, while discomfort is disturbing, even painful at times.
When I am extremely uncomfortable, it ends up being all I can think about.
There are times, however, when we need to accept discomfort, even welcome it.
Distress or displeasure are not feelings we would normally desire, so why would we consider inviting unease or hardship?
If we desire to grow in our relationship with God, it is imperative that we learn to embrace feeling uncomfortable and we express gratitude through it.
Let’s look to the Bible for some insight.
Here’s an easy question.
Can you think of any Biblical characters that lived a life of ease?
No. Do you know why?
You might remember that Jesus forewarned us in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
No one lives without sorrow, unease, persecution, or discomfort.
But did you catch the good news?
Although Jesus warned us that this world carries tribulation, He also promised us that we could have peace through Him during trials. He also reminded us that He has already overcome the world.
In Romans 8:28 we learn this, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Jesus has gone before us, preparing us for trials by warning of upcoming adversity, allowing the Holy Spirit inside us to help us to pray when life gets so complicated that we do not have the words, and encouraging us to learn that for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose, all things will work together for good. After laying such established groundwork for us, He continues strengthening us by revealing that He has already overcome the world.
Remember when I mentioned Bible characters earlier? I stated that I couldn’t think of anyone who lived a life without trials or hardship. Just a sprinkling of them were Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, David, John the Baptist, Paul, and, of course, Jesus.
None of them could boast of a life of ease, especially not Jesus, yet comfort was never a priority for Him. Jesus’s greatest goal was obedience to God. Affliction and adversity did not distract Him.
This world can bring unfathomable pain and suffering. So much is beyond our control. There are many days when I whisper to myself, “Jesus, come. Save us from ourselves.”
We understand that we are supposed to accept hardship and pain, but knowing doesn’t make it easy.
Abuse, neglect, financial difficulties, marital problems, starvation, temptation, child trafficking, sickness, temptation, pain, anxiety, depression, failure, confusion, betrayal, discouragement, death, and the list can go on and on. Sometimes we are victims to what life brings, other times, we cause our own grief and difficulties. There are times when God must intercede and possibly discipline us by allowing us to experience discomfort. But through everything, God will work it together for good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose. Despite all of it, our lives are intertwined and God allows us to affect and encourage one another through the good, bad, easy, and hard.
No matter what we must endure, Jesus does walk through the pain and suffering with us. He knows suffering, the loneliness and hardship, the feeling of betrayal, the pain, and loss. He is waiting for each one of us to personally ask Him to take our load, and wants to encourage us and carry us through.
Jesus suffers when we suffer.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
If God, who loves us, allows us to endure adversity, shouldn’t we ask ourselves why? Something positive must come from the difficulty and anguish. Because they certainly don’t feel good and it is tough to understand how they could be for any good.
What could the benefits be?
1. We gain empathy – when we experience grief, suffering, or are uncomfortable because of what we have experienced, we are changed. We better understand the thoughts and feelings of others and can actually hurt with and for them in ways never before possible. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
2. We are humbled – through our experiences, pain, or hardship, we better understand that the world does not revolve around us. We are opened to the sovereignty of God and able to modestly accept the calling of Jesus to place others before ourselves. We realize that all we have, whether great or moderate, is from God’s hand and provision. Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
3. We see God’s strength and provision – When we suffer, and still praise and trust in Him, we experience God’s provision. How will we know what He can do for us personally (beyond reading His word) unless we witness it? Just as we can never out give God, He will meet us where we are and provide exactly what we need (and sometimes more). Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” And Matthew 6:31-34 says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
4. We rely on God – As we lean more on God, we gain more trust and faith. We release more to Him and continue deepening our walk with and through Him. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
5. We are prepared for eternity – As we mature our relationship with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit working inside us, we capture each moment for eternity and prepare for our eternity with Him. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
6. We allow God to work through us to affect another for Him. As we are better equipped to live with an eternal perspective, others around us, family, friends, and strangers benefit from the light God projects from our life, which strengthens their walk with the Lord at the same time. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Christ was uncomfortable. He suffered.
We are uncomfortable. We suffer.
Romans 8:12-17 says, “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
It is often easier to believe through hindsight that there are blessings in suffering, but the longer we build and deepen our faith, we trust God’s word, and begin to notice signals from the promptings of the Holy Spirit that we need to become uncomfortable.
Would we really ever want to feel a spirit of unease? Why in the world would we desire to be annoyed, miserable, or distressed?
Hebrews 6:1a says, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.”
Let’s uncover a few ways we can benefit from feeling uncomfortable.
1. We may need to be made aware of danger. There may be a danger hidden in something we are doing, in someone we know, or in a way only God is aware of. The Holy Spirit guides and prompts, and we must be attentive by being attuned to the stirrings within. Psalm 138:7 says, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”
2. We may need to uncover or remove an ungodly habit. When we belong to Jesus, He relentlessly pursues us to return to Him when we stray. If we possess a habit or desire that does not come from Him, He will alert us with feelings that make us uncomfortable. It is true that if we do not heed those warnings, we can eventually tune His voice out, but He never leaves us and we will never experience peace through those activities. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
3. We may need to become more aware of others in need. Sometimes the stirrings in our spirit are meant to awaken us to others. We are not meant to live only for ourselves. Matthew 22:37 says, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
4. We may need to discover a new way of thinking or doing that is more in alignment with God’s character. If we want to live with eternal perspective, we must crave Jesus and love Him with an intensity that propels us to mature each day, allowing Him to transform and mold us to be more like Him. Ephesians 2:3 says, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
5. We may need to learn how to think or process feelings or emotions in a way that honors and models Jesus. The fruits of the spirit do not come naturally. We are so far from where Jesus desires us to be. His ways are so much higher and purer. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
6. We may need to be stretched in order to become capable of handling greater responsibilities through the Lord. God may be calling you to speak out or to stay silent. He may be calling you to begin or end something. He may be calling us to forgive or to love someone. Through our maturation process in the Lord, we have to expect to be stretched beyond what we can imagine fulfilling in our own strength so we can fully experience His. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Psalm 138:3 says, "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul."
7. We may need to develop a stronger reliance on God. If we run from or neglect to build or mature our relationship with God, we will always have distress somewhere in our soul. Nothing on this earth will ever fulfill or aid us as He can. Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
There may be additional purposes for the uneasiness God allows in our spirit.
Jeremiah 16:19 says, “Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.”
We may need to be corrected, restrained, or purified.
Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
If we desire to follow Jesus more closely and develop a heart like His, there are certain questions we should ask ourselves when discomfort settles in our spirit and we are not sure why it is there.
1. Do my family and friends know I follow Jesus? Do they recognize Him in me?
2. Do I only rely on a Sunday sermon to grow my walk and mature my relationship with Jesus?
3. Do I feel challenged? The gospel should pull us in directions that run opposite to this world. Our
flesh wants to satisfy self, so the words and direction from God should stretch us throughout our life. We will never complete Christian maturity in this lifetime.
4. Do my family and friends continue see new and positive differences in me since I committed my life to following Christ?
5. Do I live with gratitude or do I feel entitled to what I have and always look for more?
6. Do I turn blind eyes toward something that God would like me to see as He does?
7. Do I find my identity in Christ and reflect that knowledge in the way I live?
8. Do I constantly complain and fault others instead of allowing Christ to work to change me?
We must allow ourselves to feel discomfort. In a society that quickly wants to alleviate and cover anything that doesn’t satisfy or feel good now, we sometimes have to force ourselves to stop and experience the feelings and emotions.
Acknowledge the pain, distraction, anxiety, doubts, fears, and heartache. Let go of ego or pride and humbly turn to Him. He is waiting.
Take your needs to God and give them to Him to carry them. Ask Him to uncover your heart and motives. Notice what is causing your emotions and feelings. What are your habits? What are your triggers? As you dig deeper into these things and work backwards to find out more about what they were caused by and are causing in your life, you will find how they affect your beliefs and your relationships with God, as well as with others.
Lift those burdens to Him. Surrender. Ask the One who created you and who knows everything about you, for His perfect guidance, direction, wisdom, insight, and clarification. Do not hide your discomfort or pain. Don’t run from it. Continue praying through the difficulties and immerse yourself in scripture. Trust that there is a purpose for what you have or are enduring.
Continue praying and listening for Him. Remain obedient to what He calls. Live with gratitude, despite the obstacles that come from deciphering what you are going through. Remember that there are many seasons in life. Nothing will last forever, despite how it feels right now.
John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Where do you want to change?
Who do you want to become?
Mark 14:33 says, “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.”
Jesus, while in the Garden of Gethsemane, felt such profound and intense emotions. The bible says He was troubled, exceedingly sorrowful, and deeply distressed. Our Savior described Himself as overwhelmed with sorrow, even to the point of death and was so afflicted that He sweat blood. The anguish He felt is nothing we have ever experienced. Through it all, what was His constant state? He sought His Father. He continued looking Up. He desired obedience and remained fixed on eternity and what the Father needed Him to do.
Isaiah 33:2 says, “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”
We do not know when heartache will crush us. There are not always warnings before disaster hits, but as Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Yet, sometimes we do know adversity will come because we have not dealt with something we need to or we have neglected our walk with the Lord. Many reasons could apply, but God is faithful.
Psalm 43:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him. The help of my countenance and my God.”
The most significant action we can take at any time is to worship and praise God. Do not forget to focus on and keep your gaze lifted toward Him. Regardless of whether we feel angry, fearful, sad, overlooked, confused, or distraught, He is always present and waiting. He understands and desires our devotion and adoration.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
God please help us allow You to make us uncomfortable. Help us welcome the uneasiness that you sometimes use to call our attention to what matters in Your heart. Pursue us until we can no longer resist You, so that we yearn for You, Father above all else and we actively follow You with a passion to be more like You daily, looking forward to eternity and striving to already live like we are there. Amen.
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