Make Yourself Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable

By Weldon Smith

I was talking to my brother recently, and he said it seemed to him that people should not get too comfortable. He was thinking of history and the present, and what people have accomplished and what kinds of people accomplished them. It seems to me, too, that people should not get too comfortable.

The people who have done great things, from pushing the boundaries of countries into unmapped territory to protecting freedom to making life easier for other people to improving health and well-being for world populations have not been allowed to get too comfortable. As soon as we’re comfortable, we’re not accomplishing much.

To look back in history, perhaps the Bible is one of the most ready resources. You may remember that Jesus told comfortable people to sell what they had and give the money to the poor, and to follow him. He saw that their comfort and their wealth were cankering their souls, and he wanted to give them an opportunity to work on getting to good and worthy places rather than resting where they shouldn’t have been.

Do I think there is necessarily a connection between wealth and comfort, and that people should not be wealthy? Not for a second. Many very wealthy people use a lot of their wealth and their time helping other people. But I’ve also seen wealthy people who are too comfortable and are not doing anything of any worth. They are not helping themselves nor anyone else. If life is easy and comfortable, we’re doing it wrong. There is always someone to help and something more to accomplish.

On the other hand, I’ve seen poor people who are too comfortable. Haven’t you? There is nothing more tragic than someone who is nowhere and has nothing, and is comfortable with that, or uses supposed discomfort to feel that they should be given what someone else owns.

Look around in life. You’ll see people who are camped. It has nothing to do with their talents or their wealth or their stamina. They’ve just camped and are going nowhere. Leaders, winners, and worthy people break camp and move out. They know they can’t be in place very long before they stagnate. Learning and accomplishment come only from some profound discomfort.

I’m not the be-all and end-all of leaders, winners, and worthy people, but I’ve noticed that when I’m “comfortable” for too long I start to get uncomfortable. That’s usually about three days or less. I can’t stop trying to produce something, I can’t stop trying to learn things and gather truth, I can’t stop trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be and how I’m supposed to get there. So in a way, I’ve become more comfortable working like a dog than resting like a cat. In that case, I can live with some extended comfort. Since I’m more comfortable trying to produce than be lazy, I’ll put up with some comfort.

I am in no way saying that our lives should be drudgery. That we should work hard at all times and never have any fun. That life is all about making sure that we are miserable so that other people can have a better life. That we should never sit down and rest. I am saying that work becomes fun and satisfying. That helping other people is very fulfilling. That accomplishing things helps us feel better about ourselves. Life becomes better and more comfortable as we strive.

In a newsletter I received from Dan Miller (www.48days.com), he taught that some people get so comfortable with “prison” that freedom frightens them. For instance, the children of Israel in the Old Testament were freed from Egyptian bondage, but it freaked them out and made them very uncomfortable, and they wanted to get back to Egypt and the familiar slavery they had known for so long. That’s tragic. Let’s make sure that never happens to us–in politics, in relations with others, in our jobs, and in our relationships with ourselves.

If it’s uncomfortable, then do it uncomfortable. If it’s supposed to be done, then do it anyway. Anything we’re supposed to be, anything we’re supposed to accomplish, any place we’re supposed to arrive at–and no one will ever convince me that they don’t know pretty much what those things are–is worth whatever it takes. Break camp and move. Get off the couch and work. Get out of bed and get going. Don’t get comfortable with the wrong philosophies, beliefs, attitudes, and practices.

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