It’s easy when it’s easy and it’s easy when it’s familiar. The familiar patterns and circumstances of our lives give us predictability which allows us to master our surroundings to some degree. When we have done something before, particularly if we have done it a number of times, we have a greater confidence in our ability and approach that thing with a boldness which wasn’t present the first time we faced it.
When I was practicing law, there were always variables in a courtroom. While my confidence in the courtroom grew generally, the variables demanded that I stay sharp. Either the judge, opposing attorney, facts of the case, my client or other factors were different each and every time that I was stepping into the otherwise familiar setting. This kept me thinking and needing to stay humble all at the same time.
There is great value to the variables we allow in our lives because they require us to be continually learning and humble in new settings. We can no longer rely on yesterday’s ability but have to develop today’s skill and tomorrow’s vision. While we covet the comfortable we benefit from the uncomfortable.
In the last several years, my situation, location, vocation, employment status and many other factors have been fluid. Each and every step has brought challenge, discomfort and sacrifice. Several things have been happening inside of me, along the way, as far as I can tell:
- In my discomfort, my reliance can’t be on me. I have had to learn how to do my best, which no longer carries the confidence that it once had, and trust that God will take up the slack.
- The depravity of my heart condition is exposed to be redeemed in greater measure. With each uncomfortable step, insecurity reveals ugliness such as pride, jealousy, selfishness and other crud that needs to be traded in for His glory. Only by way of my new surroundings have these things been exposed at the depth in which they apparently existed all along.
- As those things become redeemed, I become a more mature son. It doesn’t always feel like it as sometimes it seems to be one step forward and two steps back, but I know that I am growing along the way.
- I approach a level of knowing God’s faithfulness that exceeds yesterday’s belief. By experiencing His consistent protection, provision and promotion in the middle of my choices based in faith, I doubt less. As yesterday’s doubts produced today’s proof of His goodness, I am more convinced that tomorrow will do the same.
By no means am I finished and I often find myself in challenging places from the inside out. The target of the fire which burns off the temporal becomes deeper and more intense. As uncomfortable as that is, I’m never going back for the sake of predictable.