BELOVED Blog by Coach Carla O’Brien
The American Idol
We, Americans and Western civilization, idolize comfort. This is a Holy Grail of a 1st world society. We shop for comfortable clothes and shoes. We live in comfortable homes and have comfortable conversations with comfortable friends. We eat comfort food in a comfort zone.
Bishop TD Jakes once shared in a message, “God is not a Lazy Boy chair.” In other words, following God and the teachings of Jesus Christ should not make us comfortable.
Comfort: a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
You get the picture, right? But before you get defensive about me getting all up in your “stuff” let me tell you that the Almighty Creator of this World has been having a “come to Jesus” meeting with me. I am just the messenger here and I would like to share a few Biblical truths He has revealed to me during this COVID Pandemic that has rocked our world and shaken our comfort.
God is not a Lazy Boy Chair.
I have had to repent over these past few weeks. I have had to die to idols of comfort. My schedule was interrupted and I pouted and whined (and that is just the beginning).
Let us look at a few of my personal comfort idols I have had to confess to God:
- My hockey season was postponed. (Go Bolts!)
- The Final Four NCAA basketball tournament was canceled.
- My school was closed (but I kept my job).
- My favorite restaurants were closed.
- Concerts and entertainment venues closed.
- My travel plans were scrapped.
- I could not get a pedicure for my nasty feet.
- The Master’s Golf Tournament was postponed.
- MLB season was delayed…see a pattern here, obviously, I idolize sports.
What does your comfort list of idols look like?
Most of us, and let us be honest here, have made our daily schedule an idol of comfort. Even though we complain about how “over-scheduled” we all are, we still find it comforting to claim this as “normal”.
Schedules can become idols.
I have had many a conversation with friends and co-workers during this pandemic. (Note: not a fan of Zoom!) Stress and anxiety ring out loudly in this interruption and the one statement I heard repeatedly were “I wish we could just go back to “normal.”
Let’s talk about the idol of “normal”: God does not call us back to “normal.”
The Israelites did not get “normal” when they made their Exodus from slavery out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Yes, they whined and complained about that freedom – and wanted to go back to the “normal” they knew (slavery) because it was comfortable.
But God’s ways are not our ways and He has a “better” plan for us. The God of the Universe (who by the way was not surprised by any of this) calls us forward to “better”.
“Better” begins with a better relationship with God that puts God first in everything: our schedule, our relationships, our passions, and concerns. He wants to free us from the bondage of idols and especially the idol of comfort.
The Apostle Paul in a letter to the Philippians puts it this way:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
My friends, as the country begins to reopen and our schedules begin to fill back up, please stop and ask yourself a question: “What does God want me to pencil in on my daily to-do list?”
Be brave. Ask God to organize your schedule.
This forced time of sheltering in place has blessed me with stillness. The stillness of mind that has allowed God to speak with me about my comfortable schedule that did not always put Him first.
I know this for sure: God is good.
He is not a Lazy Boy chair and I know He is calling us all to “better.” He does not want us to struggle daily with the idols of comfort that are keeping us from living out a victorious life of freedom in Jesus Christ!
Our idols of comfort hold us back from living the adventure God has created us to live. Adventure is never comfortable. God’s vision for our lives is easy and challenges us to grow. Living God’s way is hard but we are, not for a minute, alone in it – God is with us:
God does provide comfort. He is the Holy Spirit who is the “Comforter”.
In John 14:16-17 Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.”
He is the only comfort we truly need. Let us move forward to better. Amen.
“Carla is a gifted communicator who inspires the listener to believe for more, go after all that is available to them and to not stop until they get it. She’s energetic, highly engaging and makes you laugh so hard you cry. She inspires with her honesty, is passionate about God and His Word with power. Her schedule will fill up, so book her today!”
-Pastor Cindy Grasso