New Year, New _________

Title: New Year, New ____
Written by Erika Gabrielle Mendoza

New Year, New ____
Fill in the blank. New "You," "Job," "Attitude?" Whatever it is, make it happen. I'm telling myself that as well. My spirit, along with the Holy Spirit, is SO exhausted of living so comfortably.

I live this paradox in which the thing I fear the most is comfort, yet it is the most difficult sin I cling to. Have you ever felt complacent in your life - purposeful job, able to save money to travel often, close to your family, be with your best friends & do ministry with them, and have a loving Christ-centered church family? That's my life. Almost everyone and everything I could ever want, I have now. So, what's so bad about it?

When I'm in a comfortable place in life, I tend not to ask God for another challenge, such as "ok, what's the next thing You want me to do?" I haven't actively & specifically prayed, "God, do You want me to pursue this next?" What if he wants to lead me out of the country, away from my beloveds? Or He may tell me I need to go back to school in order to fill another role. I avoid these discussions about the future. Attaining comfort is one of the end goals according to the world, but God knows we're much more capable than staying stagnant throughout life. It's so dangerous because anything that touches my comforts practically rattle my world. Going to be vulnerable here - I get lost in it, and it puts a pause in becoming the person I'm supposed to be by God's grace.

Ask yourself as well: are you so fixated in your own comforts that you struggle in taking the next steps in becoming the best version of yourself?

What does it mean when we hear, "God asks of us to have child-like faith?" It means to depend on Him in every circumstance. This can be very difficult because we live in an influential society that says once we're adults, we don't need to depend on anybody or anything else. We often forget that God uses people to talk to us. Our God is a relational being and so we're relational too; if you are in Him, you long to be in a relationship with other people.

This year, I finished this devotional book called "New Morning Mercies." I was really convicted when the author reminded that I must not live in a shrunken kingdom of one. If you know me, imagine me saying "ouch!" with the skull emoji. Life is to be journeyed with others. The people who do life by themselves, for themselves, are distracted by placing comfort in other things that are just out there to dissapoint.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

The application is to surround yourself with a great cloud of witnesses. How does this look? Find wise, trustworthy people who will journey with you (ex: accountability partners, in slang: hype men/ hype women that will cheer you on, etc.) These people are the ones who will point you back to Jesus & His purpose in our lives. Along with Matthew 6:33, this is also my "grounding" verse. God calls us to be active participants, to work, to be present in the work He's doing here. And God's always at work. He won't stop working until redemption has come ("New Morning Mercies").

The more rooted we are in our relationship with God, the faster we will realize "oh, discomfort. Ok, this is a learning experience. Let me trust God with this."

For the Christ-followers: If you can't make better decisions for yourself because you're too comfortable, then you must ask yourself - why? If you believe that you have to glorify God with your whole life because He gave it to you to begin with, then ask yourself, "What am I lifting up to the Lord? Is it glorifying Him?" God loves seeing us joyful & feeling pleasure.  Comfort isn't a sin until you sin because of it.  And discomfort doesn't always suck because God uses discomfort so much in the Bible and there's so much to learn from it!

God allows discomfort in order for us to grow. God reminds us in multiple verses that He sustains and makes complete the work that He is doing in you (Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 46:4, Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Having the Holy Spirit in you really gives you another perspective in the purpose of living. You have a choice to see the beauty in the difficulties you face.

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