“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9
Tennis commentator and analyst Paul Annacone remarked awhile back that, “You become great by learning to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” He talked about how the truly great players learn over time how to deal with both physical and mental adversity, how to adapt to challenging situations and still find a way to win. Those who never figure out how to do this usually never reach the top of the sport.
All of us, at some point along the way, begin to realize that we cannot reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves and fulfill the purposes God has planned for us unless we are willing to be uncomfortable. The lives of great individuals throughout Scripture and human history are proof that greatness in anything comes at a cost, that one must be willing to suffer a bit in order to reach destinations worth aiming for.
Our culture has, sadly, misled a lot of people into thinking that the path of least resistance is the quicker, smoother way to one’s goals and even to growth in the Christian life. We’ve been taught to avoid and eliminate discomfort as much as possible, forgetting that, according to God’s Word, character is built by suffering. Nobody that ever did anything worthwhile for God and the world did so by living a life of comfort and predictability.
If we’re honest, we all have comfort zones. We all have places in our lives where we’re afraid to get uncomfortable — with ourselves, with others or with God. We wrestle with these areas because, deep inside, we know that they hold us back from reaching our true potential in many aspects. But still, we talk ourselves out of doing the hard things because we’re afraid of the consequences and the discomfort it may cause us along the way. But excuses never did win great battles; they only kept good people from the fight and a share in the victory afterward.
Only you know the areas in your life that you’re afraid to get real with, or the risks that you’re scared to take. Only you know what the voices in your head keep trying to talk you out of. It’s OK to be afraid or nervous about taking a necessary leap of faith, but it’s never OK to back out of a challenge you’ve been called to take on or a character-building experience you’ve been led to endure.
Whether on or off the field or court, you will inevitably be faced with circumstances that necessitate getting uncomfortable. When you face those times, remember that settling for the status quo never did get anybody anywhere worthwhile. Even if the risk you take doesn’t produce the results you hoped for, there is never any shame in having left it all out there. At least you will have grown as a person, and that is never something to regret.
— Katherine Singer
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