So many narratives about separation and isolation; very few about remaining in uncomfortable environments.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
I recall the time ( actually very recent time lol) I wanted to leave my local church because everyone there annoyed me. I didn’t feel appreciated. I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel wanted. I hated that it was a small church, and so intimate that just about anyone could offend me and then sit right next to me the following Sunday. It was an environment that I hadn’t in the past been exposed to and it annoyed me. (The nerve of a church to annoy the very important Christina, right?) Coming from a mega church that seated thousands and being completely content as a lukewarm Christian, I never experienced more drama than I did in my new and very small 4×4 church.
So I wanted out. Because ultimately, it should be all about Christina, right? (sarcasm)
God only knows how many times I left my local church. Mentally, I’ve clocked out more than 10 times, but physically I departed twice. The first time I left, I didn’t really feel like going to another church, so I stayed home. Well, during that time, I got into 3 car accidents in less than one month and that put a lot into perspective for me. God was showing me that without a spiritual covering, I was availing myself to be attacked by the devil. Three car accidents and hundreds of dollars later, I returned back to church and all seemed to be going just fine.
But my feathers were ruffled again, and this time I planned a proper exit. I found a church where no one knew me, and started “over.” Again, I left my church and started afresh. No [physical] attacks from the devil took place this time. It was a much bigger church. Everyone looked friendly, shiny, and at peace and I just knew in my little ol’ mind that I found a new place to worship. I had total peace about my departure because I knew for a fact that God gave me the green light to leave the smaller church.
So many people attempted to reach out, “pray” for me, or inquire about my departure. And while I appreciated the sincere inquiries, I only needed to hear clearly from God about the decision I made. Although I knew for a fact God released me to make the move to another ministry, I will never forget the day sometime after my departure that God spoke so subtly to my spirit. He said to me, “You can settle for good, or you can decide to be great. Greatness lies in the church you hate. Goodness lies in the church you love.”
Well if you know me, you know I always want to be great. So I took heed to that Word and I decided to humble myself and return back to my small church for no other reason than to be great… You see, greatness doesn’t come from shiny places. Rarely will you find a great person derived from a background filled with rainbows and butterflies. If you take the time to read the biographies of great men and women, you will always see a common denominator: STRUGGLE.
The popular narrative centered around topics of discomfort and distrust is usually one of separation and isolation. We are always advised to isolate and distance ourselves when placed in uncomfortable environments, and when surrounded by uncomfortable people. But can you imagine for a second that your growth might lie in that environment? Maybe your growth lies in dealing properly with difficult people rather than separating from them. We can’t always afford to run from discomfort. The price might be one of premium. Rather we are to learn how to find the message in the mess.
I’m constantly learning how to 1. be patient and 2. get over myself. I’m so quick to reject people and situations that work against me rather than try to learn the message behind it. There’s a story that usually gives me peace about difficult places and difficult people I’m always tempted to run away from, and that is the story of Jacob in the Bible. Putting aside the deceptive ways of Jacob for a second, we can learn a bit from all that he endured. Jacob was a very patient man to have worked over 14 years for a chance to marry one woman he loved. Being deceived after the first 7 years of work, Jacob could have easily given up and moved on. But he decided he wanted a great wife (Rachel) and not just good one (Leah). You should read the story of Jacob to gain inspiration on how to deal with uncomfortable situations.
You have to make the decision for yourself. Are you content with a good life, or do you desire a great life? Great lives are manufactured in uncomfortable situations. Good lives hardly ever challenge you. Great lives force you to see the areas of your life that need renovations. Good lives allow you to stay stagnant. Great lives require you to learn many lessons after lessons. Good lives allow you to settle for safe.
So ask yourself. Do you want to be good or do you want to be great?