Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth: Do you not see it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
I know what you’re thinking-this scripture says nothing about uncomfortable spaces but oh friend it does. Often when we are in an uncomfortable space, we cannot see clearly. The only thing we are concerned with is getting out of the space, which is human nature.
Uncomfortable spaces manifest in our lives in different way, like being in a tight space. Recently I was on a plane traveling home from a writer’s conference. It was a full flight. My seat was stationed between two guys that clearly showed they were not willing to give up territory so I could have space to be comfortable. The space was tight. And there was nothing I could do about it because it was the only way I was going to get to my destination. The man to my left was agitated and really did not want me next to him. So I just put my head down and closed my eyes. It was the longest hour and ten minutes flight of my life.
There’s something about not wanting to be uncomfortable. Who signs up for that right? But there are lessons we can learn in this space. Ask yourself – what if this uncomfortable season is what God has created you to be in?I want to highlight some lessons we can learn in uncomfortable spaces. While I was on the plane cramped between those two guys, it reminded me of how God uses some of the most inopportune spaces to accomplish His will.
The uncomfortable space stretches us. One interpretation of stretch in Hebrew is paras, the spreading out of something to its widest extent. An example would be of wings being fully spread. I think about the eagle mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:11, “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,that hovers over its young. He spread his wings and caught them.” This imagery of the eagle speaks of God’s wise and loving parental care. As an eagle must force its young out of the nest so they can learn to fly and fend for themselves, the Lord stretches us by spreading His wings to make us feel uncomfortable. God stretches us by pushing us, just like the eagle does. By spreading His wings He puts us sometimes in uncomfortable positions.
Like the eagle in order for us to leave what seems safe (the nest) to get to where we are destined- we must be stretched.
This stretching is what gets us to our purpose. If the eagle never spreads its wings, the eaglets will not be stirred to a place of movement. The stretching is what pushes the eagle out of a safe place to the uncomfortable. The eagle goes from the safety of the nest to a place where there is uncertainty to learn to fly on their own.
- God stretches our faith. By placing us in these situations it creates our dependency more on supernatural as opposed to the natural. Friend, God seeks to show himself in some pretty amazing ways. The stretching of our faith is for us to recognize who we are. Think about the example mentioned above, if the eagle is not encouraged to step out of the nest-they will not know they have wings to fly. If we are never pushed out of the comfortable how will we know what we have been equipped with for the journey?
- God stretches our ability. On the plane I found myself between the two men and it was a very uncomfortable space. At one point I started looking around to see if I could find another seat but I realized that getting to my destination was more important than my comfort. The lesson for me was not to focus on how uncomfortable I was. Although it was temporary, it was necessary. If we never embrace our uncomfortable spaces, how will we know we can endure under duress? God always provides what we need through the stretching. The uncomfortable space allowed me to not focus on what I was going through but where I was going.
- God stretches the level of our commitment. To be committed means to attach to a thing. Let me just say commitment is not always ideal nor is there always a reward that is seen. I knew I wanted to get home no matter what. My flight was uncomfortable, however, my reward would be when I landed safely at the airport. I did not attach my commitment to what was uncomfortable but to my destination. What are you committed or attached to? A great reminder of this is the Apostle Paul. He understood how to get along in various situations. If he had a lot or had none. (Philippians 4:12) Paul’s commitment was unwavering and in return he knew how to survive whatever he had to face. We cannot just break free but we are connected. There are blessings when we can endure uncomfortable spaces. It shows our level of commitment. God wants to stretch us so that when we look back we can say I survived in that small, uncomfortable space.
So when in the uncomfortable space do not focus on it but begin to change your mind set to forget that which is presently happening but focus on what is on the horizon. Friend I am here to tell you it will be good if we just look at it new and embrace how God views us. He asked in the scripture “Do you not see it”? Look with faith filled eyes to embrace God’s newness of where He is taking us through what seems uncomfortable.
Stay committed friend do not give up. It will pay off in the end.