When God takes us out of our comfort zones and it hurts
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
"My knees hurt mom!" Miya complains. "Did you jump a lot today or something?" I answered back. "No, I didn't. It hurts, I can' t sleep." Miya replies. "You are probably growing honey. Sometimes it hurts when we are growing. The good news is that you are going to be taller soon."
God used this conversation I had with my daughter to remind me that growing can hurt.
Are you in a season where nothing makes sense? A season where you don't understand what's going on with life and wonder, "why do I have to go through this?" It HURTS. It hurts emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically.
I am just coming out of a season like this. We had a big life transition a year and a half ago from being full time missionaries overseas to being back to California living with family.
We are blessed to have a great family who welcomed us and allowed us to live with them for practically nothing. Our kids are blessed to have new opportunities and experiences from being here. We are blessed to have shelter, food and some relationships.
But, it HURTS. The dryness of this transition hurts. Leaving friends and community from our life overseas hurts. Losing our missionary "identity" hurts. Losing our home hurts. Adjusting to new life, new community, new home, new city.... hurts.
Many of you have been in similar situations like this where God is opening up new things for you and your family. But to receive it, He requires change. He requires being obedient and leaving what is familiar and comfortable and exchanging it with something unfamiliar, new and uncertain.... NOT COMFORTABLE.
Why? I've asked God this every single day. Why take me out of what is familiar and comfortable.... to this? Why are you taking me into a place where you are not as "present"? Is it to punish me? Did I do something wrong?
In this season of change and dryness, God reveals things in our hearts that we would have never seen if the change didn't happen. You see, in the comfortable we are good. In the comfortable we are satisfied. In the comfortable the drive to grow is not pursued daily.
This is something I'm learning through this hurtful transition of dryness. A lot of my character, which I thought was good enough, surfaced. How I responded to situations here are shocking to me. I wasn't the person I thought I was back on the mission field. There, I was full of grace. There I had passion, vision and compassion. Here, everything bothers me. I have less grace for people, I have no passion, no vision and definitely no compassion. I was really disappointed at myself. Growing pains! It hurts when you thought you've arrived at a certain "level" spiritually only to see that you're just really getting started. I thought I got rid of bitterness. I thought I got rid of doubt. I thought I was full of faith and passion for Jesus. I thought I'd changed! But being here reveals a lot of things in my heart that were hidden. God is revealing things in my heart not to shame me or put me down. He didn't bring me here to show me how much of a sinner I am.
He brought me here and revealed things to me..... to heal me. I needed to grow in my relationship with Him. I needed to grow in grace. I needed to grow in the way I see ministry. I needed to grow as a wife and a mom.
Growing pains! Had we not moved, had we not obeyed, had we not made the decision to go to the unfamiliar, I would not have seen these things hidden deep inside my heart. I would not have seen what needed change and growth. I would not have seen God and the ways He moves in seasons like this.
Was it painful? YES. Is it enjoyable, NO! Is it what needed to happen for growth, ABSOLUTELY YES.
In times like these we have to remember the promises of God. Why? Because He is faithful.
Psalm 77 is a great example for us of what to do in times of growing pains.
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Here are some ideas you could do during these times as well:
- Be as honest as you want to be with Him.
He wants to hear it. He is not afraid of what we're going to say. He already knows anyway so just pour out your heart to Him. Just like the Psalm. It started with an honest outpour of the heart. We can cry out to God at anytime and tell Him exactly what we're thinking and feeling. AMAZING right!
- Remember who God is.
We always have to remember that we have a loving and compassionate God. We have to remember that he is for us and not against us. Just like Psalm 77: 10-20. The outpouring of the heart didn't just end in complaints. In the midst of the sadness and questioning he started to remember the ways of the Lord. He CHOSE to remember what God has done before and who God is.
- Be in constant prayer.
Romans 12:12 "rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer". Being in constant prayer helps us keep are eyes on Jesus. It reminds us that He is greater than whatever it is we are going through.
Here's a song you can listen to as well to meditate on. I always find worship songs helpful and encouraging.
Here are some great devotionals you can use as well. You can click a book to purchase at amazon for your convenience.
Drop me a note if you need prayer or email me.