Saturday, January 14, 2012

Comfort in discomfort

Kind of a backwards title, but one that makes a lot of sense once you dig into it a bit deeper.

Sometimes the most comforting place that a person can be in is when they are facing extreme discomfort in both themselves and their circumstances. Look at it this way - you can have piles and piles of garbage buried deep under the surface in your life - like a pond with clear water at the top and a lot of dark sludge underneath. All looks fine as the water is clear but the only reason the water is clear is because the sludge hasn't been stirred up.

Regardless of how clear the water may be at the time - the sludge is still there and if you put your foot into that pond it's going to go right through the clear water and into the sludge. The best place for that pond to be in is not where the water is clear and the sludge remains under the surface - but when the sludge has been stirred up and is moving around as then it can be removed.

Our hearts are much like that pond. We may have the appearance of being completely whole and together when our lives are full of comfort - but if we have sludge at the bottom of our hearts that's not getting stirred up, we're not going to be able to appreciate the comfort we currently have. Also, the second something comes into our lives that really shakes us up - or "puts its foot into our pond" so to speak - that clear water is all going to be filled with mud anyway.

That's where the principle of "comfort in discomfort" comes in. The best place we can be in, is when the sludge in the bottom of our hearts is being stirred up by discomforting circumstances. It may be painful and highly distressing but it's better for the sludge to be stirred up so that we can see what it is and "filter it out" of our lives so that when we do return to a place of comfort, we will be able to enjoy it that much more because of the sludge that has been removed due to the discomfort that brought it up. You can't spell discomfort without comfort. :-)

I used to want nothing but comfort in my life and to have a "non-disturbed pond" so to speak, even though there was far more sludge in my heart than there was clear water. Over the years (and some brutal hardships) my mindset has changed and though I still have sludge in my life to a degree, a massive amount of it has been removed due to the times of discomfort that have disrupted the water and brought the mud to the surface. Once it came to the surface, I was able to deal with it and move on. This was a process and one that kept on getting deeper and deeper - which usually meant it hurt more and more - but with time and perseverance I see a lot more clear water in my life and a lot less sludge than I ever have previously.

I'm at a place in my life now where I am very nearly at the end of my journey through the spiritual wilderness and I'm about to enter into the promised land. I feel more ready for this than I ever have yet I am still aware of remaining sludge in my life. I now get frustrated when I feel comfortable as I know that sludge is not being stirred up, which means I am not making any progress. I appreciate the situations that surface the sludge now more than ever as it means that I am dealing with more darkness and getting one step closer to the land of plenty I've been waiting for.

I hope this speaks to someone out there. Don't wait for the sludge to settle back down if it's stirred up. Allow God to help you clean it out of your life and watch the progress happen.


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