Falling From Comfort
by Alissa Barnes
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Isaiah 41:10 -
'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
MY FALL FROM COMFORT
I have long been known as a peacemaker and a reasonable person during conflict. I used to admire these traits in myself, and actually took pride in them. I despised controversy and took great pains to avoid it. The path of least resistance simply seemed smarter to me. Why invite trouble?
I am now 46 years old--a spring chicken to my father, a dinosaur to my children and students. I actually feel somewhere in between, which I guess is why they call this middle age. Paul Simon wrote, ďI am older than I once was, but younger than Iíll be, but thatís not unusual.Ē Simplistic, but brilliant lyrics in one of my favorite songs. In the same song, he also wrote, ďAfter changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.Ē I donít know that I agree with that. I am not who I used to be. Things have happened that made me change, whether I wanted to or not. Many of us are resistant to change. It causes us to leave our comfort zone. Iím not against comfort. Comfort is wonderful, itís just not permanent. It would be glorious to live in perpetual comfort. Day after day of clear skies. Smooth sailing so our boat doesnít rock. As a believer in God, I used to wonder why He allows discomfort.
I have believed in God all my life. I may have questioned his motives, but never his existence. For most of my life, I considered Jesus as a really nice man that loves me. I occasionally thanked Him for my blessings, and frequently called upon Him in times of trouble. But I had no real relationship with Him.
Like everyone, life has given me some hard knocks. I was blessed for many years to only suffer some minor bruises. I would quickly rebound from my injuries and credit myself for my recovery. More often than not, I was comfortable. I was also very spoiled. Life decided to start really throwing some hard punches at me, and it was not so easy to bounce back all of a sudden. Stubbornly I kept doing things the same but still expected change. I was scared of leaving my comfort zone.
At this time I was an occasional church-goer. The main reason I didnít go regularly was pure laziness. I would also remind myself that simply going to church didnít make me a Christian. I took comfort in this. And I really didnít like going to church anyway. I mainly went out of a sense of duty to God, to kind of thank Him for my blessings. Like I was doing HIM a favor. On the rare Sunday I went to church, I would smugly go home and think Iíd done my duty, grateful it was over. My husband pretty much felt as I did.
After about 20 years of marriage, my husband changed his life. He began to attend church regularly. His whole attitude was different. He was so much more at peace with himself. I was far from peace, so I tried going to church with him more often. I still just didnít get it. There was another church I visited occasionally. It was my childhood church, and where my husband and I were married. I really enjoyed the worship services and found peace I had never known in a church. But I thought to myself, ďI canít go to one church while my husband goes to another.Ē That just didnít seem right. What would people in our small town think? It made me too uncomfortable to even consider.
I remember the day that MY life changed where church is concerned. I was at Columbia United Methodist Church, my first church home. I had thoroughly enjoyed the service. It seemed the minister, Bro. Neil Janes, was speaking to me. The hymns were speaking to me. Suddenly I knew what I needed, and wanted, to do. I wanted to join the church. I wanted to be a member of a church family. I wanted to be involved. At the end of the service, I walked down the aisle. Bro. Neil was there, with such a loving smile on his face.
I did join the church that day. It didnít really feel comfortable, but it still felt right. For so long I hadnít really attended church for ME. I had attended because I thought it was expected of me. Since then I have explained to many people why my husband and I are members of a different church. It doesnít bother me, nor am I offended when people ask. It was simply the right decision for me.
Bob and I occasionally go to church together. I do miss worshiping together, sitting side by side in the pew. But now, even when we donít go together, we meet back at home and talk about our church experience, something we rarely did before. Bob is very comfortable in his faith and church home, and so am I. We agree that each of us needs to do what is best to feed our souls. We attend church because we want to.
I still have a long way to go in my walk of faith. But I read the Bible and spend time in prayer daily. I finally have a relationship with my Lord, and I am so glad! I believe he is my heavenly Father, my most trusted friend, and my greatest ally. I know with Him all things are possible, and because he is always by my side, I have nothing to fear. What a blessing.
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