Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Becoming Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
I'm not sure what there is for you.
Perhaps it's the gym. Or maybe the treadmill in the other room. Listen, I get it! The "quaran-ten" struggle is REAL.
Maybe it's a new job. Filling out applications and enduring the series of interviews, well it's a job in itself. And the thought of trying something new? Can we just not and say we did?
Could be you've always dreamed of something more, but that more requires going back to school or working towards a specific certification and you feel like that opportunity is long gone.
Maybe you could use a good friend. But having a friend means being a friend first, and what if they reject you?
I feel ya. I really do. More than I'd like to admit.
Fear of rejection and failure - it can paralyze us. Leave us feeling stuck. But ya know, I've come to realize we can't ever stay in one place in life. You see, life keeps moving.
Imagine a conveyor belt if you will. Maybe the one from I Love Lucy when the chocolates, once moving at a steady pace, are now racing past and you can't wrap, gobble, or scoop 'em up fast enough!
Yeah, but those chocolates, for us, are opportunities. And life doesn't slow down. In fact, it's like the conveyor belt. It just keeps getting faster and time seems to pass more quickly with every year. And so, you see, life keeps moving and if we aren't moving forward with it, we're actually falling behind.
We may become overwhelmed with so many opportunities or caught in paralysis by analysis that we just give up and let it all pass by.
Or, we may try to scoop up everything remotely close to us, allowing FOMO (fear of missing out) to have the last word.
Either way, the mental space this creates makes it very difficult to make wise decisions.
The enemy knows this. He doesn't want us to have peace to make wise decisions and reach our full potential. He knows if we step out in faith, God will be glorified through us. So what does he do?
Well, Jesus is pretty clear (and by that I mean, perfectly, absolutely, unmistakably clear) about Satan's motive. In the book of John, He teaches us,
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. - John 10:10
See what I mean? Subtle as a thunder bolt.
But, exactly how does he do this? Remember Adam and Eve? Yep, same trick.
Did God actually say, "You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?"...You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." - Genesis 3:1, 4-5
He plants one, tiny seed of doubt in our minds. That one negative, insecure, doubting thought - "Did God actually say...?" - makes us question God's goodness and begins the awful, painful, downward spiral. Soon we're wrapped in anxiety and fear instead of anchored in faith.
I have a tendency of listening to this voice of fear. Maybe you do, too. Except, I don't initially recognize it as fear. Instead, I find myself calling it being practical or realistic.
I begin to talk myself out of an opportunity. And let me tell ya, I'm really good at it. I can talk myself out of nearly anything God is leading me to do. Why?
The voice of fear becomes louder than the voice of faith.
I recently wrote a book. That was the hard part, or so I thought. Turns out, if God leads ya to something, He provides each step of the way. Having stepped away from social media four and a half years ago, I quickly realized the book is written but no one would ever know about it. The thought of re-entering the 21st century with Instagram and Facebook came swirling in with fears of rejection and failure.
What if I do this - put myself out there - and nothing comes of it? What if I'm not cool or interesting enough for this? What if I try and fail?
My rebuttal to God sounded something like this.
Oh, this is just a silly dream I made up. People who become authors have connections. They're born to someone famous or married to someone famous. That's not me. Maybe my book was just meant for me like I originally planned. Yeah, that's it. And yeah, that's enough.
But, my heart knew different. I didn't make this up in my head. I'm perfectly content off-the-grid not sharing my highlights, let alone my vulnerabilities, with the masses. That's my comfort zone. And, I like being comfortable!
I didn't even set out to write a book. I was obedient to write down a prayer and God met me there. I don't yet know what God has in store for this book or for me, but I do know the root of my practical, realistic self-talk is the very ugly and uninvited fears of rejection and failure.
Sharing some of these fears with one of my mentors, her truth hit deep. She's blunt and a straight-shooter. I like that about her.
After spending a few months of trying to talk myself out of what God had laid on my heart, I didn't need it sugar-coated. I needed to be called out. She said, "Don't you dare hide your gifts under a rock because you fear disapproval!!!"
Seriously, her text had three exclamations. Rightfully so.
I have a feeling maybe it's not just me. What gifts are you hiding under a rock because of fear? Yep, I'm sending you the same text...
Don't you dare hide your gifts under a rock because you fear disapproval!!!
Changing the radio dial and tuning into the voice of faith sounded like this.
What if God laid this so heavily upon my heart because He has a plan?
What if He wants to speak encouragement and lift the chin of 1 person through me?
Is that worth Candace feeling a little uncomfortable?
Is that worth Candace feeling a little silly?
My response, well, I think Forrest says it best.
"And that's all I have to say about that." - Forrest Gump
I also feel this fear disrupt my peace in other areas of my life. After a relationship ended the first part of this year, the heartache left me wondering if I'd ever find that best friend to do life with. Getting out there again. Gosh, just the thought is overwhelming. Where to begin?
My friend and I were joking that God may just have to bring him to my doorstep. And wouldn't ya know, God has quite the sense of humor. Just a few days later...
Let me just say...
Don't block a fire exit and don't use "Oh this is NON-bug related" as a pick-up line.
After hearing a knock at my door, I find myself standing barefoot on the front porch in a conversation with (we'll call him Michael) about proper pest control. Content with my current provider, I try to politely express my disinterest. One thing's for sure.. okay, two. 1. He's persistent, and 2. I'm too polite sometimes - why did I even answer the door?
He kept on. So I give in and give my contact info for a free estimate thinking this will be the quickest way to return to my relaxing evening. Seemed to work. Two minutes later, my phone rings...
"Hi, umm this is Michael. So I finished my rounds early tonight and since I live in the apartments near your neighborhood, I was wondering if you wanted to go hot tubbing tonight?"
Bold move, dude. Bold move.
"Ah, I'm alright."
And then the kicker, "Oh this is NON-bug related..."
"Yeah, I'm still alright."
...and you realize even in your comfy t-shirt and Nike shorts, a messy ponytail and 30 around the corner... you stillllll got it.
Alright, alright, alright.
Sure, getting out there again is scary. It's uncomfortable.
Living on the edge of yikes can be scary and hard, and it's sometimes even painful. That's okay. Keep breathing. Stay after it. Move toward your edge where Jesus is waiting for you. God's not leading us to the safest path forward, but to one where we'll grow the most. - Bob Goff, Dream Big
In short, Bob is reminding us that living on the edge of yikes is where we'll grow the most!
So, be bold and courageous, my friend. Remember, you don't have to scoop up every opportunity around you. Be focused, be prayerful, and choose the next right ONE for you. This choice may involve picking something up or putting something down.
What if you choose the wrong one? Well, you're still going to be alright. God is sovereign. His Word says,
...in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28
Take the next right step. And ya know what will happen? Your courage will grow! You'll be given the strength for the next step after that, then the next. And one day, you'll look back and realize just how far you've come. The rearview mirror isn't just one big step. No, it's a lot of baby steps that come together to create this new path for you.
And on the journey, it won't be perfect. But seek joy, and you'll laugh through it (even the really terrible pick-up lines). And soon you'll see that trading the fears of rejection and failure for trust in your heavenly Father leads your heart to peace.
And you'll find rest in His sovereignty.
So get out there! Go for it!
(This is the time you expect me to say, "You can do it!" but the truth is, you can't. But, take heart, the story doesn't end there.)
With God, you will do it!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!