Being uncomfortable can do one of two things. It can either give you an excuse to move out of the uncomfortable position as quickly as possible, or you can choose to stay and sit in the discomfort and allow the situation to move you.
I moved to the DC area 12 days ago, and just about 12 hours after I arrived in my new home I found myself in a series of meetings that lasted two days in which people who are changing the world one precious life at a time convened and prayed, planned and processed the role that faith communities have when it comes to giving children the right to a quality education.
This is A HUGE topic that I am very passionate about (without education of some sort we all live in a state of blind-spots to the world around us that can be very detrimental), but we will save that for another time.
I found myself sitting around this table with 25 other people and I was uncomfortable. Not only was I most likely one of the youngest ones there and had less experience in advocacy work than anyone else there. But I found myself being uncomfortable to be white. Much of the discussion surrounded the very horrific truth that children of color are incredibly more likely to be deprived the right to a fair and full education than white children are. There are also many other issues that face children of color that causes them to miss out on experiencing life in a way that liberates and empowers them rather than the reality for so many that ends up placing them in a metaphorical prison of stereotypes that follows them for the rest of their lives.
It’s tragic. And uncomfortable. And I had a decision to make. Would I swallow my naivety and pretend to care while all the while silently defending and justifying myself? Or would I allow myself to sit in the discomfort of the truth and humbly learn and experience and grow in a world that I don’t know nearly as much as I should about?
Over the past year or so God has allowed me to get in incredibly uncomfortable situations, and the more that I have spoken out about them, the more my heart has slowly been breaking. It has been breaking over the realization that justice does not always prevail, it has been breaking over my own naivety and how many times I’ve looked the other way when I should have been a voice to the voiceless, and it has been breaking for what breaks Gods heart, which is the worth of all people, of all colors, of all genders, of all of all of all of ALL to be fought for and stood for and counted as worthy of love and grace and truth and embrace.
Advocacy is uncomfortable because we will be asked to stand up for that which we do not understand, which means we must become constant learners. Moving out of our comfort bubbles is scary and unknown and causes us to be humble and kind and patient with others who are trying to step out of their own bubbles, but how else are we supposed to be Jesus to this world?
My discomfort was not caused by anyone targeting me, which is a privilege that I have as a white person, but rather it was caused by me realizing just how much I do not know and how blind I have been to the fact that there is suffering all around me that, as a follower of Christ, I must speak out for.
The past few months have been a transition season for me even before making a physical move across the country. I have been questioning so much; the Church, my self-worth, the role of the body of Christ for each other, and I do not have the answers.
I do not have the answers.
But Jesus does. And Jesus made people uncomfortable. I’m afraid that as the Church we have sat in our comfort and labeled anything of discomfort as wrong or something to avoid. But Jesus embodied discomfort! He asked his disciples to follow Him into crazy situations. He was not what people expected. He healed on the Sabbath and stood in front of an adulterous woman and stared her oppressors in their faces until one by one they broke eye contact. They were uncomfortable, and as far as I can tell, Jesus came to create that discomfort.
He shook things up, and as long as we are simply staying within the walls of the church and praying and singing to God and yet not fighting for anything to change in the hearts of those around us who are hurting – NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND – then we are at the very least missing a huge part of who God has called us to be to this world, and at the worst we are actually completely misrepresenting Him.
Advocating for someone—anyone, your neighbor, your sister, your enemy, yourself—is uncomfortable because it forces us to actually respond to someone instead of just pray for them (what! Controversial comment alert).
I chose to stay in that room and learn.
I CHOOSE to stay.
I choose to stand with my God right beside me moving and shaking and stirring up something in me that is filled with more discomfort than I’ve ever known and yet it’s as if the discomfort is acting as just the spark that was needed to cause life to well up inside me that had been sitting idle for way to long masked by the illusion of comfort; by the illusion of avoiding making other people uncomfortable at the expense of my voice.
Maybe discomfort isn’t really the thing to avoid at all. Maybe we should revolt against the dreaded comfort bubble.
Maybe it’s the place where we actually meet Jesus. Where we actually start to experience abundance in this very heavy world. Maybe it’s where we start to take full breaths, deeply inhaling the true life that Jesus showed us while He was physically present.
What causes you to move? What moves you?
What awakens a fire in you that screams that’s not right! That’s not Jesus!
Would you do me a favor and stop waiting for it to make sense and stop waiting for the “right time” to speak up and out and in and all around about it?
Be on your face before Jesus about it, yes! But then get up and do something!
Move with the ultimate mover and shaker, the one who came to earth and turned everything upside down for the heart of the adulterous woman and the soul of the blind man. For you. For me.
Stop being politically correct (or church appropriate). Stop the apathy. Speak up. Now please hear me, wisdom is key. Love is absolutely necessary. But God is still a God who moves.
Let’s be the ones who actually bring about the things we speak about such as justice and reconciliation in the name of God. Let’s move and love and shout and cry and rejoice and repent and apologize and laugh and dance and sing and confront and relinquish control to the almighty God when it’s out of our hands and then get up and start all over again.
God created me with a LOUD voice, and I intend on using it now no matter how cracked it gets.
I intend to move.