Thursday, February 13, 2014

Called. Not Comfortable

Being is Christian is not a comfortable calling.
Sometimes you are sent where you do not want to go.
And, yes, you still have to go.

There is a great deal of talk about discernment these days. I suppose there has always been, but maybe I'm noticing it more lately because I've been trying to discern my next steps. The thing that troubles me about it is that when I talk to someone about my discernment process, they always tell me that I'll be "more comfortable" or "happier" when I follow God's will for my life.

That can't possibly be true of all callings.

I think the call to holiness is the most uncomfortable path we could choose. 

Think about it:

  • Jesus wept tears of blood during His agony in the garden. Not a comfortable place to be.
  • Jonah was not happy to be called to Nineveh. And even after he got them to repent he wasn't happy.
  • Noah was an old man. Do you think he wanted to build an ark?
  • Moses did not want to go back to Egypt. And he certainly wasn't comfortable with the idea of talking to Pharaoh.
  • Paul spoke of working out his salvation in "fear and trembling".
  • Peter actually tried to leave Rome before his martyrdom. 
  • And speaking of martyrs... 

Well, you get the idea.

The bible is full of stories of people who followed God's will and were very uncomfortable about their mission. But, if we are to be purified and tested like gold in a furnace, you have to believe that it's not going to be an easy process. And it won't be safe either.

That sure doesn't sound very hopeful or joyful, does it?

But, God promises His help.

The way of holiness is narrow and hard. It's easy to fall into the ditches on either side. But that's because we continually try to rely on ourselves. We get into to trouble when we don't trust God. When Moses struck the rock twice to draw water, he was punished for his lack of reliance on the mercy of God.

It's the same with us. Our peace is found in our reliance on the providence of God. When we take our eyes off of Him and look down into the chasm that has opened up at our side, that's when we grow dizzy and fall. If we keep our eyes fixed on God, He will not let us fall.

Psalm 91:11-12
For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone. 
God does not promise temporal comfort.

He promises eternal life and peace. Not peace as in the absence of war or turmoil. Peace in the sense that you belong to Him and He is guarding your path so you come straight to Him.

There is a peace in doing God's will, especially if I don't fight with Him about it (and I am a fighter). There is a sense of resignation about it, but there is joy in that resignation. I haven;t found the words to describe it, only to know that there is a state in my heart of absolute peace - even if what I am about to face is awful.

Sometimes we have to go where we do not want to be. Sometimes we have to say things that are hard to say. Sometimes we have to stay where it is uncomfortable.

Always, we must go where we are sent.


  1. This was a great reflection, and very true.

    You don't know me, but you're reading my mind anyway. Ever since having gone through the Called & Gifted process, I've had similar thoughts. "Doing God's will" - or "being in His will" - sometimes means "pissing other people off". I'm blessed to have a wise spiritual director helping me to navigate the discernment journey, but there will come a point in time where discernment time is over. God will tell me when that time will be, and by golly, I hope I have the courage and strength to say "yes".

  2. I think you have to discern if what you are doing where you are is Godly. If it is, whether you're comfortable or not, you probably have to keep doing it.

  3. This is well done, Katie! I love the reminder that being a Christian is not comfortable. Focusing on the will of God and not our will, along with keeping a servant's heart, is a daily battle that draws us out of our comfort zone. This would be a great theme for a homily: )