I used to hear preachers talk about “getting uncomfortable” and to be honest I didn’t like it. Why wouldn’t God want me to be comfortable? I like being comfortable. I like predictability, I like stability, and I like warm fuzzy socks.
I am in this weird place I don’t know how to describe. I read books like, Kisses from Katie where a 19 year old girl left EVERYTHING she knew to be comfortable and lives in Uganda. She is now 22 and mother to 13 once orphaned little girls. I hear stories of friends who just last week returned from Honduras where they saw countless houses made of magazines, and scrap wood with no electricity and plumbing.
I see pictures like this:
I read radical too and that probably didn’t help.
It cost $20 a quarter to send a Ugandan child to school (including their meals). Yet that cost is 4 times the cost of their electricity or plumbing which many of them can’t afford anyway. Lack of education just continues the cycle of poverty.
We can spend more than $20 going out to eat for ONE meal!
It just makes me, well, uncomfortable ya know?
I love nice things as much as the next girl. I don’t think smart phones are sinful, and I love our home.
But I just can’t help but see things differently. It is uncomfortable. It would be much easier to ignore. I don’t see poverty around me everyday. I don’t personally know any starving children.
And I think that’s the problem.
I have heard it said it is not that we don’t care about the poor, it is that we don’t know them. Just this glimpse from books and stories from missionaries makes me WANT to know them more.
But it’s messy helping the poor. They need soo much, some need more than you can give, some are looking for handouts, and some are dirty. It isn’t always safe, some have disease and some are unkind.
But God doesn’t just ask us to help if we have nothing else to do, He commands it…of all of us.
As Katie Davis said, “I am not afraid of disease or death, I am much more afraid of being comfortable.”
I guess I am seeing through all of this that comfortable isn’t such a great thing after all. A restless hunger to do more to the least of these isn’t comfortable. From the small amount I have experienced helping, it is pretty messy and time consuming too. But it is so much better than staying comfortable.
Part of me wants to sleep on the floor and skip meals out of guilt, but I know that solves nothing.
Lord, break my heart until it moves my hands and feet. Open my eyes to see your love for ALL people. May I worry less about being comfortable and more about being used by the King of the universe to do great things.
I can’t change the world, but I can start with one. Making a difference for ONE person…can change that person’s world.
Katie, you are so, so right. The problem, the reason people do not connect/act on and see poverty/starvation as an urgent need is because it isn’t personal to them. It’s much easier to feel compassion for a friends child who is sick because you know them/have a relationship with them. Since returning from Honduras, I have been very uncomfortable. Uncomfortable knowing that there are children, beautiful babies, whom I now know by name, that only get one hot meal a week…and we get upset if the drive-thru takes too long. Uncomfortable knowing that my dogs,whom I love, have more food and better living conditions than families, whom I now know.
I’ve always been comfortable inside my ‘bubble’ of family, friends, work, church, etc….but I will be honest…now that it’s personal, now that I’m uncomfortable, I pray that I’m never ‘comfortable’ again.
Katie @ Imperfect People says:
Shannon I love you! I have heard about your trip from Heather but I would love to hear about it more from you. Wow it is rocking my happy little world…and I think that’s a good thing.
I’ve been extremely uncomfortable lately about poverty, and where I fit in. I am constantly aware that children and adults in this country and other countries don’t have enough to eat. That poster on your blog, “Define Necessity”, really got to me, because that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do in my own life. I am constantly torn about how much money is enough to give – am I entitled to even the smallest extra things, like that CD I want, or body wash, when people are starving?
So I become so anxious about it that I become immobilized, and do nothing. I vowed I was going to start the New Year by volunteering at a soup kitchen, but I have’t picked up the phone to set it up as of yet. Maybe this will be the day when I push past my anxiety, after reading this.
Thank you -
Katie @ Imperfect People says:
Aww I hear ya Janet. I heard that last part on a song, break my heart until it moves my hands and feet. I’m with ya girl
Shana Carnes says:
Joe and I are praying that we get to go to Haiti this summer with Bill and Natosha…maybe you and Brian could join us? I went to Bolivia when I was in the Army and the poverty there was….well, there aren’t words for it. Ever since I have felt moved to do some sort of mission work. Hopefully, God has that in store for me I know that there are a lot of people who are in poverty and starving right here in our country by you know we are doing what we can for them as well…pray about it…I’ve been thinking about you two going ever since this all came up, just hadn’t had the time to talk to you about it.
Losing your life