When God Makes Us Uncomfortable (It’s Often To Bring Others Comfort )

My husband spent 11 years in a job he sometimes hated.

During those long years, we constantly reminded ourselves to choose joy! to be grateful! to love what we’d be given!

But working to live instead of living to work can be draining.

Especially when you dream of doing something that matters.

We had countless conversations about his sweet spot–that place where passions and skills collide (you know, once we crossed Nascar Driver off the list.) The same words surfaced again and again in our long talks–words like helping people, traveling, discipleship, serving others. We had a big picture dream without a map to get there.

But he kept on doing the last thing God told him to. . . which brings us back to that job.

I’ve always marveled at my husband’s patience. Because his faithful and often unfulfilling work all those years not only provided for our family, but created space for me to pursue life-giving work through writing that resulted in starting Mercy House.

Sometimes it’s hard to see where the road is leading. But God still leads us into the unknown.

God rarely does things the way we think he should.

God is doing something important in us

While we’re waiting to do something important, God is doing something important in us.

He is refining us. He is making us uncomfortable. Dependent. He is revealing His strength in our weakness.

It’s a truth that’s hard to grasp in the middle of the waiting. But it’s truth our heart needs to hear.

Most of Jesus’ life was spent doing what he wasn’t sent to do. He was preparing Himself. And if Jesus needed time to prepare, we do, too.

Story after story in the Bible reminds us how God impositioned his people, only to position them. He made Joseph uncomfortable in a prison to position him on a throne. He made Daniel lion’s food, only to proclaim His glory in the fire. He made Esther prepare her body and heart to be queen, only to position her to save an oppressed people.

And He will do the same with you.

Because it very well might be that the job you hate or the one you can’t find is part of His great plan for your life. He may just use your discomfort to comfort others.

God often impositions us in our work, our health, our lives because he is preparing us to position us to reveal His glory.

I will never forget the day, my husband and I said the words outloud, the dreaming kind that make your heart pound. “What if somehow God made a way for me to quit my job and lead Mercy House?” I cried at his audacity because the weight of the burden was crushing me. We asked it and then we waited a long time for the answer.

It came nearly a year ago, when my husband left his well-paying, tenured position to travel, disciple, and help people in our work to remind women around the world God has not forgotten them.

Don’t think for a minute He has forgotten you either.

We can see now that all those years of being uncomfortable were making a way for us to comfort women around the world.

That uncomfortable place you’re in today? Offer it to Him. Ask God to use it for the comfort of others, for His glory.

He doesn’t waste anything. Even our discomfort.

Why Service & Hard Work Are Two of the Best Things We Can Give Our Kids

My teens spent a week as counselors at our church’s kids camp earlier this summer.

They spent a week in the hot Texas sun singing crazy camp songs, cheering and high-fiving a cabin full of young campers.

They spent a week tying shoes, passing out bandaids, and encouraging homesick hearts.

They spent a week putting others’ needs before their own.

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More than once, I got a message from an adult at camp letting me know my kids were giving the week everything they had. They came home without a voice and a load of stinky laundry and fell in bed for a 5 hour nap.

That first night back at our dinner table, they begged to go on the youth missions trip a few weeks later to do construction projects for some marginalized people in a Texas community. We didn’t really have it budgeted or planned and my first response was to say no. I could tell my kids were disappointed.

Later, my husband said, “Honey, let’s rethink this. Our kids just spent a week serving others and instead of complaining about all the work, they are asking for more. They want to spend a week on an air mattress repairing homes for marginalized people in a segregated area. I know it will cost us, but this trip could be priceless.”

I thought long and hard about his wisdom. Because I know how physical, selfless work and serving others has turned my life upside down.

I’ve seen how working at the Mercy House warehouse a couple of days a week has got my kids thinking less of themselves and more about others.

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When we told our kids we were reconsidering, they offered to contribute some of their own money. I knew something good was going to come from this.

service and hard work are two of the best things we can give our kids

They left on a Sunday and the first update from my daughter read, “Mom! We just finished our first day of hard work. Today was so hot and we are so tired! We are giving this lady a new floor, so we had to rip out the old one, leaving a huge hole in her floor and then add new supports, more flooring and then tile. It was a lot of work, but it was fun!! This lady’s house needs a lot of work, but we are just doing what we can. I miss you. Tell everyone I said Hi! Love you!”

So. Yeah, my kids are working their tales off this week as construction workers for the disadvantaged and they are having fun! Who knew?! Most importantly, they are being changed from the inside out and probably don’t even realize it.

We live in a culture where kids are often encouraged to do nothing and avoid things that are hard. We often don’t find selfless serving kids headlining in the news. But not only can our kids do hard things, they should. Here’s why.

6 amazing things kids learn through hard work and service:

  1. It’s harder for them to think about themselves when they’re busy thinking about others.
  2. It’s easier to be thankful for things they normally take for granted. Hello, a floor.
  3. It’s something our kids can feel really good about. Can you hear the pride in my daughter’s text?
  4. It’s something that is contagious they want to keep doing. See above.
  5. It’s always more fun than they think it will be. I have the texts to prove it.
  6. It’s become clear that working hard and serving others matters. I’ll let you know if this carries over at home.

I only got one text from my son all week. It read, “Mom, I love you. The week has been amazing! We just washed each other’s feet and now we’re at Dairy Queen. Serving rocks!”