The Wind Will Blow
Comfort does not provide stability or strength. Comfort provides a beautiful way to relax, unwind, show appreciation, etc., and recover from the things that make us feel uncomfortable. Yet we live in a world that is full of things designed to make us more comfortable (understandably, the majority of these things have helped in improving our life expectancy, from 30 years to 70 years old in the last century alone). Now we face the struggle of living our years too comfortably… by avoiding discomfort all together! “The human struggle” is something that can not be avoided, because we are an imperfect being, and because we cannot control lifes events. Therefore, we must accept that certain things need to be done, and most of them require making a conscious choice to step into discomfort and understand its importance.
My friend and I love going out backpacking, loading up food and necessities on our backs for nights in the natural world; the one thing that remains true everywhere we go is that the most challenging and grueling climbs lead to stunning and breathtaking views... and the difficulty makes it all the sweeter. After putting our bodies and minds through such discomfort (and sometimes agony due to a puzzling case of my quadriceps cramping on long climbs on the first day of most hikes), reaching the pinnacle (see what I did there) of a mountain couldnt be more comforting. I know this, because some views are accessible by road, and driving there greatly reduced the beauty and the comfort. The true appreciation and feeling of comfort must be challenged by discomfort.
Consider trees and plants; “Tree’s need wind to blow against them because it causes their roots to grow deeper, which supports the tree as it grows taller”. There was an experiment done in a large glass dome in the dessert in attempts to create the perfect growing system, but once the trees got to a certain height they would fall over, because there was no wind to encourage the need for strong roots.
These metaphors have been used over and over and yet it’s difficult for us to relate and truly comprehend the similarities to our lives. The wisest of people have pushed themselves out into the world with the wind to ebb and flow with its discomforting gusts. The strongest of people have challenged their bodies by performing tasks that are anything but comfortable. The most spiritual of people have devoted unfathomable amounts of time in the depths of their beings. The effect of these actions is deeper roots, which allows us to grow taller without falling over in the absence of difficulty (wind).
Do you want to be a person that falls without even the smallest of breezes because of living a life of comfort? Or, would you prefer to be able to withstand what comes to you in life, bending and dancing in the wind, and becoming older, stronger, and wiser because of it?
Do you have a desk job? Stand. Stand up long enough to feel your feet and legs. This could be 15 minutes, or even 5, but the more you embrace this discomfort the longer you will be able to stand without discomfort! You might even go the extend of getting one of those fancy computer lifters so you can spend the majority of your work day on your feet. Imagine how sweet getting home and taking a load off will feel! (Another great part of spending a few days in the woods is coming home to the comfort of home. I love every minute outdoors, but nature can throw many things at you that we have spent years overcoming. Think about it, we can keep our homes at the same temperature year round, and we stay dry if it rains. If that isn’t comfort, I don’t know what is!)
Do you get bored or uncomfortable if you don’t have a TV on or a phone in front of you? Go to a quiet room or go sit outside without either of them. Again, at first you might make it 5 minutes or 10 minutes, but I promise, the more you put yourself into something that feels uncomfortable, the more comfortable it becomes, and you will grow stronger because of it!
If you are now, or the next time you are going through something that is not comfortable and you are looking for a way out (to any extent), stop looking for the escape. The discomfort brings strength and growth, even if you aren’t asking for it. We can’t control the things that happen to us sometimes, but we can control how we respond. If a tree decided to not sway and flow with the wind, it would uproot.
Go out into the wind, strengthen your roots, and grow as tall as God intends you to! The days in the sun and a slow breeze will feel so much more comfortable.