Sunday, June 01, 2008

Comfort Food

The best comfort food, for me, is an omelette of mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese, with toast (the kind of buttered toast that actually crunches loudly when you bite into it) and tangerine-orange juice. That's perfect comfort food for your every morning, and it's generally what I eat almost every weekday morning. (Weekends I just have coffee, first thing, and maybe a bit of toast). As for midday meals and midnight comfort food, there are other things you can eat but I can't think of what they are right now. That's because for me, mornings are the key turning point of my day. Mornings are when I need food that will satisfy my body, and spiritual food for thought that will take me onward through the day.

God's idea of comfort food is an altogether different story. When you ask God to comfort you, while He often gives that satisfying peace and consolation that is so soothing to the soul, the real comforting work of God (d0ne through the Holy Spirit) is challenging, convicting, and a bit unpleasant- at least to the initial taste. I think it's because when we ask God for comfort, we are in a predicament, or we've gone through a storm, and we are just looking for a bit of relief and consolation. He wants more than that for us.

God's idea of comfort involves the remedying of our thinking and our understanding. He wants to comfort us but not placate us or keep us as foolish children making the same mistakes over and over. God's way of comforting us is to liberate us (Isaiah 61:1-2, Gal. 5:1). And for God to liberate us from bad patterns or strongholds or erroneous beliefs means He has to shake things up a little and get us out of our deadly comfort zones into His Comfort Zone of true Freedom and Progress. God comforts us with the Truth of things, not with flimsy hugs that do not open our eyes to see what we must see.

I have often asked God to comfort me, and then later on found out that I really asked Him to bring me to a new level of understanding. I just didn't realize at first that that was what I wanted. We ask God, often, for things that we think are good for us, and fortunately God answers us by giving us what we are asking for along with what we forgot to ask for. After all, we don't know what we do not yet know. We don't always know where we are lacking. We don't always see when we are asking for a touch of something when we really should be asking for a flood of it. Asking boldly and riotously, even.

When I comfort my children, my instinct is to soothe and to settle them down. When my daughter is sick, I make lots of hot tea, toast, and pile on warm blankets, lots of reassurance that she doesn't need to worry about a thing, and that I will take care of everything while she is "down for the count". When my son is sick, he just wants to sleep and enjoys me feeding him, dispensing the medicine, and generally letting him be. I know how to comfort my kids. And now that they're on the mend, they're back to pushing away my maternal smotherings.

But when I want God to comfort me, I am now asking , directly, for something different. He sees that I've grown up a little and that I am not expecting His comforting touches like I used to. Now I am expecting His comforting presence and His power- and He is expecting me to understand that He wants to comfort me in a way that might not initially feel good.

When He sheds light on a situation, I see things that I may not want to see. When He teaches me to discern- because we are commanded to- I may have to deal with what I am now "seeing". There will be decisions to make, and there will be a type of navigation through uncharted stormy seas that I would never, on my own, decide to go through.

But He comforts me. He comforts me with His counsel and His challenge that I must grow up and go up...higher. Mountain climbers cannot stay in a tent and have comforting massages all day. No, they have to get up, gear up, and set their sights on that peak that is calling them. They are comforted by the fact that their job is to climb mountains. Their calling is to go up higher. And like that mountain climber, God's presence and His whispers of instruction are so comforting to my soul, that my shaky knees take heart, and I too take a deep breath, and get ready to climb...higher.


Mike said...

That is so perfect! I praise God that He chooses to comfort me with His Spirit and that it is REAL and not just a nice idea. But I can also take comfort in His guidance and leading and know that He is in control.

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my testimony Lauren. It's a scary thing to put that on the Internet, but really it's HIS story. Praise Him!!!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel said...

We're an ocean apart, we've never met, and yet we fellowship together when we "visit" each other, and it means a lot to me. It is sooo God's will for us to encourage each other by sharing our story. It's risky and scary, sometimes, to do so...but so worth it.

~Robin said...

A beautiful, thought provoking post today Lauren.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome post! So much there to think about....thank you.

Angie said...

Such a nice post. So true! I'm glad to hear your kids are doing better. Pet Harry for me.

Liara Covert said...

I find my sense of comfort food is seasonal. For instance, when its cold outside, I like to drink hot apple cider with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.

You have a way of warming the hearts of readers with your storytelling ability. Sharing yourself can be viewed as the right thing to do. If you choose, you can rise above any sense of risk, which is grounded in fear. To accept love for what it is and what you are enables you to reframe everything in life. said...

Hmm...good "food for thought."