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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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April 12, 2011

The Art of Discomfort

God knows how much I hate asking for help.

I’m reading the Gospel of Mark again. I always forget about Mark. I leave him out of the Gospel writer equation and then I feel terrible amounts of guilt for forgetting him. I wonder if he was a middle child.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this little number last night from Mark 6:47–52:

“Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and [Jesus] was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.

“Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened” (Italics added.)

This event took place less than 24 hours after Jesus took five loaves and a few fish and created a meal that satisfied thousands. You’d think that at this point, the disciples would be looking at Jesus and thinking, This man can do anything. We’re good to go. Instead, they somehow managed to forget about his recent miracle, and found themselves stunned and terrified by his ability to walk on water and calm the storms.

Their hearts were hardened toward his power and greatness, and these hardened hearts kept them from understanding the truth that God’s power rests on those who put their faith in him. Jesus was constantly re-teaching his disciples to put their trust in him.

I can sit around and judge the disciples for being complete morons, and I might have a few valid points (Peter, for example, was not the sharpest tool in the shed. Thomas had trust issues). But in reality, the reaction of the disciples to the power of Jesus Christ acts as a mirror into my own doubting, blinded soul.

I’ve had countless experiences with God performing miracles in my life. Now, granted, he’s never multiplied my coffee beans or enabled me to ice skate down a waterfall. I still can't fly, which is kind of a bummer. He’s not flashy like that with me. He does things far better, and works where I need him most. He led me to a new job when I was scared of leaving the security of the old one behind. He provides for me when I'm not sure how I am going to make it financially. He’s blessed me with friends and protected me from relationships that would have hurt me. Countless times I’ve seen a blessing that’s put upon my life when I’ve stepped out in faith. I know as I walk through my days that the hand of God is upon my life.

I know all of this, and yet I still find myself afraid. I’m going through some uneasy transitions—at 24 years old and single, I think I’m always going through transitions. There are constant unknowns in my life. Where will I live next year? Who will I live with? Will the price of gas keep going up? Am I doing enough at my job? What will I do if my car breaks down? Are my parents going to keep their health for a long time? Am I ever going to manage to settle down enough to get married? I’m so selfish. How do I even become a person capable of marriage? Am I serving enough? And I serving too little?

And on . . . and on . . . and on.

These are the thoughts that fly through my head on a daily basis and keep me up at night. Last year at this time, I was forced to trust God in a way that drove me to my knees on a daily basis. I saw his providence and was able to begin thanking him for providing for me before he’d actually done so. My entire perspective changed last year, and my faith was strengthened through a power that was not my own, but was the Holy Spirit working on my heart.

But now . . . I find myself having lived comfortably over the past few months. And such comfort leads me to a place of false self-sufficiency. And that self-sufficiency leads me away from relying on God. So here I stand, knowing I need to get back to that place of constant dependence, but annoyed by it in the same way a petulant toddler feels annoyed that he can’t yet walk across the living room floor without the help of his mother.

Doubting in the power of an almighty God is a dangerous game that leads to anxiety and helplessness. It can crush my spirit if I let it. So today, I will fight the good fight. I will to ask God to soften my hardened heart and allow me to see and trust in his ever-perfect ways. I’m going to lift my hands and ask for a little help as I try and take my next step.

I hope you’ll do the same.

Related Tags: discomfort, faith, Fear, Trust, worry

Comments

Thanks for making me remember to ask for help and not be anxious which is always my default!

As a 46-year old, I can tell you the transitions are lifelong and the questions persist. Sometimes they're different question and sometimes they're variations of the same questions. You ask will your parents live a long life and I'm now at the stage where I'm faced with the reality of thinking about what their final disposition will be. Will one or both come to live with me? Will I need to hire someone to come in and check on them? Will I need to move in with them? Do they have enough to eat and on and on....It helps to know that life is just one transition after another. It helps me to look at whatever state I'm in as another transition and to wait it out to see what the end's going to be.

Thanks, Ashley, for this timely reminder of our need to trust God. I especially love the reminder to thank God for his provision before I see it.

Ashley, I'm so glad you wrote this. So much truth, expressed so well. Thank you, friend!! I (and I'm sure many) needed it!

Thanks for writing this. It came at a time when I was asking myself if God had forgotten me or if my life was mainly about carrying crosses or if God couldn't perform a miracle in my life.
Its a reminder that I have to trust, trust that God sees all we are going through and He will always be by our side.

So much of what you said I could relate to --and I'm over 60! I loved the last paragraph. It reminded me of another devotion I read sometime within the past 2 weeks which basically said ---I know how important God is to me--but I also have to realized that as His child I'm just as important to Him!!

This is mama - sometimes I wonder what my old age will be like too, but I know that God is faithful. Your expression of trust and growth demonstrate and express that fact in a lovely way.xxoo

Yes life is a series of transitions and most transitions create some amount of discomfort-anxiety because it can be such an unknown territory and coping abilities can be so challenging. But God is good all the time. If He carried me thru in my last transition He will do the same again because His Mercy and Grace is boundless. Thru all my transitions God`s abiding presence and loving promises enables me to be comfortable in my discomforts. Praise be to Him!

These comments are so encouraging to me! Thanks, all of you, for your fellowship in trusting in the provision and plans of God. :)

Living life independently without God leaves one to struggle and striving to do better, to get more, to lose more in the end. When I am dependent on God, I turn to Him, trust in His goodness, trust Him to do the right thing even if it means to suffer for a while. Bankruptcy and foreclosure is something my family has faced this past year. My husband has been diagnosed with a chronic illness and he has lost his job. I am looking for one, but we are not giving in. We are giving it up - up to God, because He is our provider. Transitions hurt - God never does.

Praise God! I am right there with you. I am believing God for a job. I had had the interview yesterday and am waiting and thanking Him for it now. I have no desire to return to my old one on Monday.

I'm believing God for a place in ministry, to serve the wounded hearts of His daughters and for a godly husband.

Your story really increased my faith. I too become 'self-sufficient' or at least that's what my mind attempts to make me believe, when in reality, it's God who holds all the cards. Everything in and on this earth is His. I am not even my own. I have to thank Him that I'm not.

I wish I could hug you right now, WOW! I feel like I wrote this, but because I didn't I KNOW God had led me to it. I am praying for you sister, for your faith as well as mine because HE is always working and when we believe he does exceedingly and abundantly over what we expect.

I've been struggling all day with the fact that the man I thought I was going to marry is now dating someone else. I am 24. And single. When I read that you are too, I knew God brought me to this article on this exact day when I needed it. Needed to be reminded that He is good. He is faithful. Thank you!

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