I think it's easy for us to get comfortable in life.
Comfort zones can be danger zones, though. When we get comfortable, we tend to become self-centered. We take things and people for granted. We stop giving. We start taking. We become proud. And God's not a fan of our stagnation, and He tends to only let us stay comfortable for so long before He begins to create some friction in our lives. Gently, at first, and then with increasingly more force as we stubbornly hold on to what we believe we need and have a right to - whether that's a certain emotional state of being, a particular relationship, an orderly set of circumstances, or even a way of thought and belief that is comfortable to us.
Our response to these disruptions reveals our heart. The right response is surrender to what God doing, trusting Him, and being obedient even in the hard things. When we surrender, we grow. We change. We become strengthened emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
But often we respond negatively, with anger, resentment, and a stubborn refusal to change. That's when things tend to get bad, because God often has to use pain to motivate us to change, as most of refuse to budge until the pain of staying the way we are is greater than the pain of change.
Jonah is an example of someone who had a very clear comfort zone in life, and when God began to challenge him, he responded in anger. His desperation to maintain control over his life and choices made him emotionally unstable and ultimately estranged from God.
I'm excited to share this study on Jonah with you. it's one of my favorite lessons to teach. And yes, I know, I'm breaking the cardinal rule of blogging by publishing an article that's over 1,300 words - but I felt like it would be worth it.
I recommend you pull your Bible out and follow along. For the sake of time and space, I'll only be including key verses as we go through. Start with reading the book (it's just 4 chapters) to familiarize yourself with the story.
I think it’s safe to say that we all know of an area in our lives that God is calling us to surrender to Him. And we all believe surrender is worth it. At least, we want to believe that. But still, we struggle. Surrender requires faith, and faith has to be exercised to grow. And so when the extra strain is placed on our faith, we can often falter, wrestle, and be tempted to collapse under the pressure.
And on top of the pressure we feel from the feeling of losing control, the fear of the unknown, and the struggle of wrestling with what we really believe about God’s nature and character is the horrible feeling of isolation and loneliness.
I have a feeling you know exactly what I’m talking about.
My father had many verses that were meaningful to him, that he drew encouragement from. But the most meaningful thing to him in his relationship with God was this simple word, “hupomeno.” It quickly became the theme of his life, and he lived it in full, to his last breath.
from hupó = under, as in under the rule of someone + méno = to abide or remain)
- literally to remain under, but not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope.
The idea of enduring is not just to "grin and bear it"
but to remain under trials in a such a way that we glorify God
as we learn the lessons the trials are meant to teach us,
instead of seeking ways to get out from under
the trials and be relieved of the pressure.
Examples in scripture
I am constantly inspired by the meaning of this word to choose hope, to choose trust, and to choose God. I am inspired by my father’s example, and how he endured all things with hope, with expectation of God’s deliverance – and how God continually proved faithful to His promises in each and every trial. I hope to live my life in such a way as to inspire others the way that my father inspired me.
One way to remind myself to keep perspective is a bracelet which says “hupomeno.”
I’m now selling those bracelets for $6 on Etsy. You can purchase them at my store, TheSurrenderedLifeCo.
I am so thankful that God uses people
We need encouragement. We need help. We need hope.
When we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, and broken, we are tempted to isolate. But it’s in those broken moments that we most need each other. We benefit the most from our relationships when it’s the hardest – when we’re most tempted to give up, close up, or shut down. When we’re vulnerable. When we’re scared. When we’re desperate.
The pattern in scripture is that when people (or even the nation of Israel) were desperate, they cried out to God. And God sent a man. God sent a woman. God sent a person. And He used that person to help, encourage, and bring about deliverance, both personally and corporately.
When Adam was alone and needed a helper,
In scripture, we consistently see God’s power at work in the lives of those
he loves. We see his love, his goodness, his compassion, and even at times his discipline, as he intervenes on behalf
of his children. We see him working deliverance for his people, setting them free, healing them, and blessing them.
waiting for freedom, waiting for healing, they were doing just that — waiting. They did not know the end of the story. They did not yet see God’s intervention. They didn’t know how he was going to work things out for their good, how he was going to fulfill his promise to them.
So they waited.
Some waited well. They “strengthened themselves in the Lord,” as David did in 1 Samuel 30. They fixed their eyes on the Lord rather than their circumstances, they chose to trust him,
not their emotions, and they were determined to walk by faith, not by sight.
Others waited, well, badly. They focused on their pain. They focused on their circumstances. They took matters into their own hands, afraid that God would fail them. And the results
always proved tragic. The deliverance was delayed, their relationships damaged, and often, their testimonies tarnished.
I want to wait well.
In a word: passionate.
About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even
iced skinny soy mochas.