“Babe, I have something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“It’s really, really good news. You’re going to love it.”
“Okay? Keep going.”
“Now that we’re married, I’ve decided I’ll never have sex again. Ever.”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told to get out of my comfort zone, I’d use that money to fly somewhere they don’t speak English or subscribe to verbicidal cliches.
“What are you talking about? That’s really good news?”
“Isn’t it!? I thought you’d be happy! Are you not?”
“Not at all! I thought sex was part of what we were looking forward to?”
I’ll admit, I wasn’t always this tired of the phrase. I’m only over it now because I subscribed to it. Some kids played baseball and memorized stats. I memorized sermons and mouthed them out loud in my bedroom. I latched onto this idea of fleeing my comfort zone in pursuit of pleasing God. I made it my mission to make myself as uncomfortable as possible as often as possible. If the amount to which I suffered was the amount he’d be pleased, I’d sacrifice whatever it took to make this God of mine happy.
“What makes you think I want you to never have sex again once we’re married?”
“I don’t know…I guess I…well—“
“Sweetheart, listen. It’s not that I want you to swear off sex forever…it’s that I want to be your only source of it.”
You can perhaps imagine my shock and surprise when it seemed, through adamant, overlapping lessons, that God was thwarting my attempts to jump into what’s uncomfortable in order to please him.
It started to hit me—the Holy Spirit is, among many things, our Comforter.
To view God as one who’s intently after our discomfort for his pleasure is to miss his heart by miles. If I were the devil, this would be all I’m about. Can you imagine that married couple arriving at the confusing crossroads I arrived at?
“I thought you were pleased by whatever made me uncomfortable. I thought being comfortable meant hurting you.”
“No. What you’re talking about is numbness. I’m against you numbing yourself with stuff that’ll betray you.”
Comfort, like discipline and character and integrity and grit and whatever other trait you hold in high regard, is an invention of God. It’s actually one of the ways he speaks to you. No wonder the devil has sought to hijack the feelings associated with comfort until you’re walking around thinking God is trying to make you uncomfortable so he can be happy.
What Groom, in his right mind and heart, would be pleased by this? These are the twisted and sociopathic tendencies of a rapist, not a Savior.
“Okay, I’ll have sex with you, but you should know…it makes me really uncomfortable.”
“Good. I actually prefer that.”
Are you kidding me?
Can we please begin to reclaim comfort? Can we start identifying comfort for what it is and who it comes from?
You can argue I know nothing about marriage, but I’ve sat across from enough dumbfounded grooms whose responses to this scenario are more confirming than they need to be.
“Of course I wouldn’t be happy to find out she hates having sex. I want to be pleasing to her.”
“BUT ARVIN—we in America have worshipped comfort. That’s all this idea is about.”
My friend, you’ve dissected and abandoned Comfort, rendering it unrecognizable. Imagine I accused you of worshipping any other of the Holy Spirit’s attributes. Advocate? Counselor?
Come on, we’ve let the devil steal and run with this word.
My chances of burnout and morally licensed lasciviousness tanked when I realized God didn’t want me to be uncomfortable. He doesn’t want me to leave my comfort zone.
No, he wants his presence to be my comfort zone.
Can you imagine what that might look like? Being comfortable only when and where God would have you?
With this at work, I’ve found myself at peace and rest amidst devastating conditions. I’ve found myself befuddled and confused when people identify my circumstances as trying and difficult because I’m too busy enjoying what’s actually going on. I’m comfortable.
Inversely, I’ve found myself uncomfortable in moments and places where everyone around me, even many Christians, seem to be doing okay. It was only later on, sometimes even years later, that the truth came out about what was happening behind the scenes that should’ve been addressed. I was right to be uncomfortable [Side-note: I’ve learned my female friends are actually really good at catching vibes like this, often feeling uncomfortable even before knowing exactly what it was that made them feel that way. I’ve learned to pay attention to this. I regret the times I’ve dismissed someone as simply “too emotional.”].
Things like this have happened enough times over the last 7 years of my life to convince me I’m right to stand firm on this.
The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. He’s about reclaiming comfort for himself so what pleases God comforts us and what displeases him makes us uncomfortable.