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What I Learned From Discomfort

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: What I Learned From Discomfort


What I Learned From Discomfort

An older man sits alone in a nursing home for abondoned seniors. 

The Journey

There is something about abandoning all you know: your home, your friends, your comforts, your expectations, and hopping on a plane to travel to another country and let God wreck you, let alone. doing it with 20 strangers and a writing guru from Tennessee. 

When I said yes to myself and to God about a missions' trip to Guatemala, I knew God had something for me, but I never imagined the reality of what a trip like this would mean. 

I wrote this on the airplane ride to Guatemala: 

" For me, all I have wanted is to be broken and pliable, yet somehow I always fell short. I've had moments- glimpses of what a life broken open at Jesus' feet looked like, but the perfume of a broken alabaster jar never quite reached my nostrils. 
There are miles and days to go on this trip. The discomforts have been few so far. I know there will be more moments...that grab me, shake me, and dismantle me further. I long for them. Those moments are the raw unadulterated moments which strip away the layers of me and reveal the work God designed me to be in the first place." 

Whispers from God

No one wants to be uncomfortable. We will reach for food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or anything else we can to make "uncomfortable" go away. We live in a society that equates uncomfortable with "bad" and spend our lifetime avoiding it. I hid behind a snarky attitude and self-deprecating humor. I thought these hid my insecurities, but in reality they highlighted them. I was living behind a defensive wall and trying to tell people about freedom in Jesus. No wonder my message was not as effective as it could have been. I was not living it. 

But, discomfort is what rattles around and confronts our defenses.  Discomfort slams into us and begins to open our eyes to the world- to the hurting, the lonely, and the dying. So when God whispered "You are a fly trying to teach people to live like giants" I knew I was in for some discomfort on this Kingdom Journey to Wrecked.... and I knew that everything would change. 

The Moments of Discomfort

You may ask yourself what could happen in three days that can so radically change everything? The answer is not short, and it is not easy. If I told you we roamed a city and asked for the eyes and ears of Jesus, you may think, "and?..." but that simple act started a process similar to a chemical reaction in my heart. I began to see there were people. like me, crying out for something more. Like a kid who studied for the test the night before, I knew the answer, but could not recall much past the A, B, C's of "the answer is Jesus". 

So the team from Adventures in Missions began to set us up for real moments that tested us in ways that I never dreamed. We visited a city dump where over 6,500 plus children lived and where their families eked out a life by digging through mountains of trash and selling what valuables they found there. Society calls them scavengers, and God calls them tresoros, or treasures. There I saw Jesus moving and living.

In the faces of people, God's holiest creation, I saw spirit and worth. 

Then we visited a children's home where kids are recovering from neglect, abuse, even malnurishment and we played soccer, basketball, and blew bubbles. Simple things, but taking the moment to play with these kids reminded us "let the little ones come to me" meant more than a Sunday school story. It was a command. 

We visited other ministries and other places. Places where I saw lonely people neglected and hungry. Places where the physical act of holding a hand and wiping a tear were enough to show the love of Jesus. 

These moments slammed into me. They stripped me bare and left me raw. I questioned God, why am I here, and in the faces of an old man with no teeth and the sweetness of a woman with dementia I found the answer.

I was there to be Jesus- to be his hands and his feet. 

Love Has No Barriers  

My Spanish is abysmal. I understand only a small amount of what is said, and then I still get lost. Yet, love never gets lost in translation. Love does. Love is. Love multiplies. Love lives. Love strips us of our defenses and leaves us standing in the presence of God. 

My life will never be the same. What happens from here out, I do not know, but because of this trip, I now know the complete love of Jesus. I have seen it: in others as they laid hands on infants screaming in pain and loneliness, or as they held a young man with cerebral palsy as he cried in pain and frustration.  

Love has no barriers, and it is the only answer to the discomfort we feel. Love soothes and love acts. Love changes everything. 

Join The Conversation

Have you experienced uncomfortable moments that left you questioning God and yourself? How did you handle them? 


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