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The Gospel of Discomfort

Recess was part of the standard schedule in the Alaskan school I attended. However, for six months of the year there was so much snow on the playground that it was impossible to use any of the recreational equipment. For much of the winter, the seats of the swings were virtually at ground level due to the depth of the highly packed snow, which made swinging impractical. See-saws suffered the same fate—the snow was so thick that one could neither teeter, nor totter. So, for a majority of the winter, recesses consisted of my fellow students and I standing huddled together outside with nothing to do except stare blankly at one another.

Further, recess was mandatory until the temperature reached twenty degrees below zero outside. Unfortunately, the average winter temperature in my hometown was fifteen degrees below zero. The only reprieve from the cold was the “warm-up room,” a moderately heated room attached to the school building. After waiting in a long line outside, the warm-up room monitors guarding the doors allowed a few of us to come in from the frigid temperatures and sit. As we sat in silence trying to get the blood flowing back into our hands and feet, our minds frequently drifted away to some tropical, faraway place like Tahiti. However, the thawing only lasted a few minutes until the warm-up room monitors ushered us back into the arctic air.

Given the choice, most of us would likely not choose to be freezing in sub-zero weather over lying on a warm, balmy beach. It is human nature to desire comfort and ease. We have grown accustomed to having our homes air-conditioned in the summers and heated in the winters. We coddle ourselves with microwave ovens that prepare dinner in five minutes and television remotes that can change channels without having to get out of our recliners. But living dangerously is not leading a wimpy, lackadaisical existence. Just as the warm-up room monitors would send us back into the cold, Jesus calls us to move beyond our comfort zones by reaching out to unbelievers. We would rather be content in the familiarity of the warm-up room than face the cold unknown of making disciples. Leading a life committed to the gospel is not natural or relaxing; it is uncomfortable. Nevertheless, when others join us in the journey of transformation, we will enjoy basking in the warmth and joy of Jesus together!

–excerpted from my book, Living Dangerously.

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