In spite of the fact that I’ve had a lot more years to mature, there are many ways my daughters are way more Jesus-y than me.

I was uncomfortably aware of this again over the holidays when we were sitting around the dinner table and Maggie was sharing how she and her husband were talking about the possibility of adoption down the road because they feel it might be selfish of them to bring another child into the world when there are so many who need homes and parents to love them.  They know this isn’t for everyone, but were discussing it.

My immediate response was to recount the tremendous heartache and family upheaval of ALL OF THE PEOPLE I know with adopted kids.  Dealing with violence, mental illness, rejection, personality disorder, resulting divorce…

In that moment of conversation all my Mama bear protection and control impulses went into over-drive.

As I reflected on this later when I went to bed, it struck me how selfish I am, and how comfort is my true god.  That I couldn’t fathom disrupting my “Wonderful Life” to consider adoption as a way to live out God’s love for orphans is a sad reflection on my lack of spiritual maturity. I was disappointed in my small heart.

Now, I don’t think this is an easy or uncomplicated decision. It has far-reaching implications and consequences not only for parents, but for extended family as well.

But this post isn’t about adoption. It’s about our willingness to enter into pain and inconvenience.  I don’t mean spiritual masochism, but the practice of willingness to be uncomfortable for Jesus’ sake.  So although I can’t imagine adopting a child, today I need to take small steps to move me closer to that – to being open to any hard thing God might ask of me.

The discipline of discomfort, and service, even on a small scale will better align my heart with God’s.  You know…God who took on the ultimate discomfort of laying aside heaven to join us in the mess of earth in a feeding trough.

What might the spiritual practice of discomfort might look like today?

Think. What’s that one job both you and your roommate or husband hate to do?  What’s the chore at work that everyone avoids (like keeping the coffee maker clean?)?

John surprised me by cleaning the bathroom the other day.  Definitely out of his comfort zone.

This morning I was pulling out of the driveway in the -15 degrees of zero dark thirty. and realized our garbage hadn’t been pulled down to the curb for pick up.  A delightful opportunity for the discipline of inconvenience. 🙂

Maybe the practice of discomfort might include:

  • Going out of my way to run an errand for a family member.
  • Letting people in line in front of me at the store.
  • Giving up a close parking place.
  • Getting up in the night with the crying baby and letting my spouse sleep.
  • Being the one to do the chore no one likes (like cleaning the toilets)
  • Fasting.  From food, from spending money, from t.v….
  • Saying “no” to something you really really want to do.

Do these sound stupid? Too little?  Nothing like adopting an orphan?  I know.  But we all need to start somewhere.

Spiritual practices are NOT about earning brownie points.  They are not an end in themselves, but merely a means to better identify with Jesus and become more like Him.

How about sharing one “discipline of inconvenience” you did today in the comments?   If you sign up through DISQUS it’s easy after the first time!

This Jesus stuff is no easy thing! Maggie shared this meaningful blessing her mother-in-law gave her this Christmas.  I wanted to say, “Uh, right, thanks for sharing.  I need to start with toilets.”IMG_9122