Thanks to Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I’ve been thinking a lot about story. What is the story of our life?
What’s the climax?
Who’s the narrator?
Where does the arc begin?
Who’s the protagonist?
Some of these may have answers. While for others, we may never. But let us not fool ourselves, we are all in a story. The choice we have is whether we choose to enter into it and make it the best we can or sit and wonder what our story could be like.
Too often we allow comfort to set in and we never take a chance. I think, how would Jesus’ disciple Peter’s narrative be different if he never stepped out of the boat to walk upon the water (Matt 14). What would the world look like if Dr. Martin Luther King never dreamed of equality and took a step? How many generations would be stuck in hopeless abject poverty if not for an immigrant braving oceans and deserts with all but hope?
The problem being, so often we need an upsetting moment to push us out of comfort into the story we were born to live. For Peter, it was the storm. For Dr. King, it was the brutality of racism and hate. The immigrant, it is loss, governments, and desperation.
“Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story.”
Comfort is just that, comfortable. While comfort is vital from time to time, it can also be like a pot of cold water with a frog upon a stove (not that I have ever eaten or cooked frogs… yet). The water is cold, and the frog is content and comfortable, but slowly the heat is turned up until it’s dead in the water. However, if you put it in hot water, it knows it needs to escape. You might say it knows that the meal it’s being prepared for isn’t the type of story it wants to live.
As I write in Hidden Faces: Discovering our True Identity in Christ,
“It’s easy to be crippled from starting the journey God has for us. It can feel daunting. It’s hard when it can mean leaving the secure job or disappointing a friend or family member. Too often we have to lose the job or the family member or have a health scare to take the step we should take. I know that was what happened to me. It was not until I lost a job that I took steps. It’s easy, especially when you have a young family, to play it safe instead of braving the oceans of discovery that lie before us.”
What is it that your story is waiting to write?
You may not even know. The problem being is that comfort is of no help. If we always escape the uncomfortable, we will never learn what it can teach us.
we decided to try something new?
we went on that trip we always longed?
we sacrificed and took control of our finances instead of the comfort of excess?
we risked our heart and entered that relationship?
Who knows what it is? Well, maybe you do or perhaps not yet. As long as we choose the “Kingdom of comfort where [you] are king[/queen]”, to quote Delirious, you will forever live in wonder.
There will never be an arc.
You will never reach the climax.
You will never know what it’s like to be the hero/heroine.
You will be a frog slowing cooking in your comfortable pot of slowly warming water and your juices.
Now, doesn’t that sound lovely…. not so much.
Jeremiah declared the words of God Judah and Jerusalem a truth that I believe also applies to us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future… You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back from captivity.”Jeremiah 29:11, 13-14
Let’s seek the discomfort of God and allow Him to release us from the captivity of comfort. Let’s step into the plan, destiny–braving the ocean and stepping out of the boat.
Where do you find comfort?
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