Today you get the product of my thoughts while I was pushing baby girl on our hot sticky morning run the other day when I was off work. Our MORNING. RUN.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am NOT a morning person, and I am NOT a runner….and yet, here I was doing one of those things during the one time of the day I don’t feel like doing anything at all.
As I was thinking about that, I was smiling so hard while I was running up one more hot, sweaty, humid hill. God does amazing things for us, in us and through us if we just ask and get out there. If you don’t get out there, if you don’t talk to and connect with God, you’re not going to go anywhere farther than your own two feet and sluggish willpower can take you.
Friends, complacency is killing our faith. Our desire for comfort and control are boxing out God just like we are playing good defense. “No God!,” we throw our hands up to push back – “I’m comfortable here –there are no big challenges, I know what I’m doing, I can have relax time, I have ‘self-care Sunday’, I can have a few bucks in my fun money jar. I’m not moving, I’m not stepping out into an unknown”.
God can surely speak to you in your comfort zone, but He’s not going to really use you, change you, or make you grow there. When you are “comfsy” (as my 2 year old says), then you aren’t showing Him, and all others, that you rely only on Him and His provision and not your wits, your qualifications or your bank account to survive and thrive in this world.
We shy away from hard things because we hate to fail. We hate to look like a beginner or like we don’t have it all together. We hate to look messy. But you know what? Faith is sometimes – oftentimes – messy, I hate to tell ya. But it is the gateway to a beautifully abundant life in our God and Father and a relationship with Jesus Christ our Savior that changes and transforms all parts of your life in ways you could never begin to explain.
Complacent self-talk is a weapon that the enemy uses to keep us from achieving our full potential and living out the purposes that God has called us to —
So, instead, slap the enemy in the face, step out and do one more scary thing in the name of Jesus today. Ask God what you are supposed to be doing and ask Him for strength do it even though it looks scary or seems hard, or dang near impossible – stop standing still and let your faith be that outside force that pushes you into motion. Run one more hill than you did yesterday instead of sitting and doing nothing and living in bad habits and feeling like you can’t. Write one more page of the book that has been on your heart for years but you’ve told yourself you’re no good and haven’t pursued it. Talk to one more stranger in the grocery store even though you’re busy and jaded and no one bothers to talk to you first. Give away a little more money being generous this week even though it looks like you don’t have enough for your own needs. Volunteer for something that inspires you but gives you butterflies. Pray one more deep prayer truly pouring your heart out to God instead of spending a superficial minute in front of the throne of grace. Talk to someone about Jesus even when it gives you the nervous sweats and you assume they are going to ridicule you. Read one more chapter of the Holy Word of God and boldly ask for insight instead of glossing over it to check your Bible box on the to do list for the day. Pray over someone who you know needs it, or even better, pray over someone who is frustrating or hurting you! Do the hard thing. Do the thing that seems scary. Do the thing that God is whispering for you to do, and watch Him open doors for you to connect with and interact with people in the midst of it; and then be ready to tell them all about the God who has given you life and strength and made it all possible!
Faith opens doors once you are in motion, and you will do things you know you never could have done on your own. Remember that every single thing you do in this life is a witness to who you serve and love, so don’t be lukewarm.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:15-16
Remember that comfort and faith don’t usually go together – Esther wasn’t comfortable when she got gathered up to be presented as a young virgin to one of the most powerful men in the world, and then outsmarted one of the worst villains in the world. David probably wasn’t very comfortable when he marched up to kill a giant with some stones. Daniel most likely wasn’t cool as a cucumber as they lowered him down into a den of hungry gnashing lions. You need me to go on? None of these pillars of faith that we read about were in comfortable situations!! But they moved! They went forward in faith, not being comfortable or complacent in their situations, but went forward knowing that God was with them, and before them, and taking care of it all.
And while we are on the subject, don’t let yourself succumb to another of the enemy’s weapons, either, which is self-debasement in the face of a victory. “I ran that, but I should have been faster” — “I lost 10 pounds but should have lost 50” — “I wrote that story, but it wasn’t good enough.” — “I taught my kids ‘Jesus Loves Me’ but didn’t teach them the sign language version.”
The enemy steals our joy and has us so wrapped up in comparison and negative self-doubt that we self-destruct and end up right back knee-deep in the complacency trap, saying “if I can’t do it as well as her, I’m just not going to do it at all.”
Listen. You’re never going to be good enough. BUT GOD. He is the reason you are able to do any of the things that you do anyway, so DO NOT steal away from the glory of His victory in your life, no matter how small it looks. A win is a win is a win; celebrate those wins as the gift they are from the grace of God. He will take them and keep you going bigger and better and stronger IF you acknowledge Him in the small things too.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” – Zechariah 4:10
Now, by now, y’all should know that I don’t usually write to you about anything I’m not going through or have just gone through myself. This is coming right from the front row of my life, and these are things God is teaching me through His word, our chats, and through the teaching of some of His faithful servants – I CANNOT do hard things on my own. I am weak, I am a wimp, I am fearful, I am rigid, I am self-conscious, I am self-righteous, I am proud. BUT God. HE gives me the power and the strength to do those hard things, and as I step out and do each new one that He asks me to, it gets easier and easier to let go of all of the things I thought I needed to be comfortable. He is my comfort and my strength, and as I learn each day more and more how to walk by faith, I pray He opens your heart too and gives you the strength to do the hard thing you think you can’t do, and the boldness to tell everyone how you did it when you blow the doors off!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil 4:13