Journey to Rediscover Jesus Day 33: Comfortably Comfortable

I write this post as I sit on my bed, propped up by pillows, exhausted from a long day (I spent much of it in the ER with one of my daughters). While I am tired, I am comfortable. The temperature is nice in my room, my pillows are soft, I have a diet coke sitting beside me, and I just ate a little bit of chocolate. My kids are tucked into bed and it is very peaceful. I have looked forward to this part of the day all day long. I have longed for comfort and am thankful that I am engulfed in it right now.

But life isn’t always comfortable. If I look at the majority of my day {heck, the majority of my week} there was very little comfort for most of the day. There were problems that arose, worries that troubled my mind, constant busyness with no way to rest, and the weight of the world sitting on my shoulders.  However, I suppose that is just indicative of life in general: life never seems to slow down to give us a break. There is always something to occupy our hearts and minds. And, for those of us who incorporate our faith into everything we do and live it as fully as possible, life is even more uncomfortable at times.

But… Jesus warned us this would be the case.

Chapter 33: Comfortably Comfortable

As I read this chapter it made me think about the varying degrees of comfort that we feel. Over the last few years my family has had to sacrifice various areas of comfort that perhaps others have not. I think there is a benefit to this though as I think it helps us appreciate what we previously took for granted. Matthew Kelly tells us that for most of us even the slightest discomfort makes us irritable, restless, and upset. He also said that many of us simply want the easiest, softest way to do things. I think he’s right.

Of course we know that if we are to truly live out our faith that we are definitely not going to be comfortable. Jesus asks us to pick up our crosses to follow him. Those crosses are heavy, burdensome, and painful. He also reminds us that when we pick up our crosses and follow him that we will be hated (John 15:18).  Faith requires us to do the difficult and the most counter-cultural thing we could ever do- to sacrifice in this lifetime for eternal life with Christ in the next.

Point to Ponder: Being too comfortable, too often, makes us weak in mind, body, and spirit.

I think that being too comfortable is dangerous for Christians. God asks us to do difficult things out of love and respect for him and ourselves. When we are too comfortable we don’t spread the Good Word, we don’t attend Mass regularly, we don’t help others in need, we don’t look to better ourselves and thus better the world around us.

When we sacrifice some of our comfort we not only see ourselves as we truly are but we are able to see how we can change to become better- to become the people that God calls us to be. Matthew Kelly says that when we sacrifice we open ourselves up to God’s grace and we need this grace to overcome the sin that separates us from Christ. I have no doubt that I need more grace in my life and I would venture to say you could benefit from it in yours too!

Verse to Live: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

It is easy for us to look at other people’s lives and wish for the crosses that we think they are carrying. I once heard a story that went something like this:

A man cried out to God for help. He couldn’t understand why he was asked to carry the crosses that he was burdened with. God took his crosses from him, tossed them in a big pile with the crosses of others, and then asked him to pick out which crosses he wished to carry. As the man looked over the crosses, he saw that there was so much more to other people’s lives than he could have ever imagined. The crosses they carried were very different from him but they were so heavy too; some he couldn’t even imagine the pain of carrying. He dropped to his knees in tears. He wondered how he could be so blind to the crosses and the pain that others bear. He realized that in his despair over his own worries and sorrows he completely missed that others were carrying their own crosses. Humbly he stood up, walked over to the pile of crosses, and picked out his own once again. He realized while his crosses were heavy that there were others who also carried crosses he knew he could not bear.

We often look at others and think that we would rather have their problems. But if we were to honestly see what those people face, more than likely we would embrace our own crosses knowing that we would never want to have to carry their crosses.

We have to pick up our crosses just as Christ picked up his. This requires that we deny ourselves and face a world of judgment, hate, and pain. Our reward though is a life where Christ helps us to shoulder our crosses and brings us to eternal life and love.

Question to Consider: What is one way you can deny yourself today?

The day is almost over for me {finally!} but there is one way I can still deny myself. As I reflect on how much went wrong and how overwhelmed I felt, I can deny myself a pity party and instead focus on how God sustained me throughout my trials.

Your Turn: What crosses do you bear? Which is the heaviest one at this time? Is it difficult to bear it? What would help you to shoulder your crosses more faithfully?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for all the comforts of this world; help me to discern when they are good for me and when they are not.

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