From the Reverend’s Desk

“Ships are safe at harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.” -John A. Shedd

Have you ever been pushed beyond your level of comfortability? Do you know what it feels like to take your capabilities to your known edge? Not everyone does, nor has everyone moved out of their zone of comfortability. Not every church has moved out of the harbor, or zone of comfortability.

The church is like a boat or a ship. The church is called to move out of the harbor and sail the seas. God created the church so that those lost in the oceans of despair, disunion, disempowerment, and discord could be fished out of the cold waters and given shelter, food, and other forms of care to help them become reoriented. The modern church has to be sailed by seafarers who are comfortable being uncomfortable, because the winds and storms which change the surrounding environment in an instant have to be navigated.

I first learned to become comfortable being uncomfortable during the dreaded pool work of the Marine Corps Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC). Treading water with weights as a class in close proximity to each other and being instructed to touch the bottom of the 16-foot-deep pool at irregular intervals pushes you to a physical and mental limit. Exhaustion and fighting the water became the norm. Our class would struggle to breathe regularly and stay on the surface, only to receive the instruction to conduct a bottom sample and descend under the water. Descending under the water is the last thing that you want to do when you are struggling to breathe, but once you go under the water, you realize it is not as chaotic there as it is on the top — with limbs thrashing every which way and the whole class struggling to stay afloat. It is calm and almost serene. The brief moment while you descend and then resurface provides mental tranquility — as long as you are comfortable being uncomfortable — because you are holding your breath.

After several of these pool sessions, the class size had dwindled due to students quitting. Those of us left realized that if we became comfortable with the idea of our own physical and mental discomfort, we were calmer and could more easily work together to accomplish the tasks we were assigned.

Becoming comfortably uncomfortable can be practiced and learned in any setting. It requires pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone whenever possible. This includes our lives as Christians in the church. It’s remembering this and having confidence in God that will allow us to step outside of our comfort zones. Regular application of Philippians 4:13 to your life will improve your confidence. Once you are comfortably uncomfortable, you can set your mind on a goal and ignore all distractions, committing yourself to its accomplishment.

Train yourself to become comfortably uncomfortable and carry this attitude into your participation at church and go spread the Good News of the Gospel in the world outside of the church walls. The church is God’s ship built for the sea and oceans, and it needs courageous seafarers at the helm.