What do you picture when you think of the word “comfort?”
For me, it brings up images of my family and friends, my favorite blanket, lived-in sweatpants, my spot on the couch, and my favorite foods.
Here’s what all of my comfort images have in common (and my guess is that your comfort images have this in common, too!)– they all involve people, places, and things that have been experienced so many times that they have a worn-in quality. I go back to these things because they make me feel safe, at ease, and they feel good.
Feeling good is not a bad thing– these comfort things can be good for us. Cultivating relationships and places in which we can belong, be loved, and feel safe are some of our basic needs. And there is definitely a time and place in which comfort foods and comfort objects are helpful in re-calibrating our emotional and mental state.
The problem is that we often come back to our comfort zones over and over and over, to the point where we have no desire to move outside of them, or have no idea how to do something different. This can hinder us from growing and changing for the better.
Stuck in a Rut
All of us get to a point in our lives when we feel like we are “stuck in a rut,” or doing the same things over and over and needing a change. This often happens when we have been living in our comfort zones for too long.
The “stuck in a rut” feeling can happen in a job situation, a home situation, a relationship, in a faith community, or in other aspects of our lives. It can even happen in our habit patterns around food, media usage, or schedule.
Time to Grow
This restlessness that we feel when we need change is God’s way of telling us that it’s time to grow. We were not created to do the same thing the exact same way forever and ever. God invites us to grow more into who God wants us to be.
Growth is never comfortable, though. The big irony of life is that we love our comfort zones, but we can’t live in them forever. Eventually, change will find us. That favorite pair of sweatpants will fall apart. Our favorite restaurant closes. Our child will grow up and move out of the house. Younger generations begin to take the reins and do things differently.
We can try to resist the inevitable changes that come our way, or we can embrace them as opportunities for growth. Growth means stepping out of the places that are comfortable, and experiencing some discomfort– but it also means becoming more spiritually, mentally, and emotionally mature, and more of who God is calling us to be.
God is Constant
Whether God invites us into growth in the midst of regular life changes, or the restlessness of being in a rut, we can step into change and growth (and deal with the ensuing discomfort!) with God’s help. Even when it feels difficult and uncomfortable, God’s love for us never changes.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.Hebrews 13:8
Jesus is our constant even when we struggle with growth and change. Jesus is there when change happens, and is helping us to grow within that change.
How is God helping you to grow and become more of who God wants you to be in this coming year?
Did you like this post? Check out the Christian Minimalism book!