We all have bad days. Things don’t go as we planned. We don’t feel well physically, emotionally, or something.
Life can be hard.
And when life gets hard we reach for comfort.
What do you reach for?
Do you head for sugar? caffeine? alcohol?
Maybe you like to hide in sleep, turn on the TV, go shopping, eat junk food, excercise until you drop, or escape in a book. Maybe you turn to something you might not like others to know about such as drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, online activities, or even something criminal.
We all have something we turn to for comfort. Sometimes what we choose to turn to stems from hurts, traumas, fears, or areas of confusion that have not yet been healed. We have a need that is unmet and we are trying to fill that need. I have friends who turn to many things on this list. Some how it make them feel better. I have been lucky that most of these things have never been a temptation or issue in my life. I may eat too much sugar at times, or I might grab caffeine when I have pushed too hard or not slept well, but that has been about it.
So where do I turn for comfort? The answer surprised me. When I hit those difficult times what I turn to is negative thinking. I know what you are thinking. I thought it too. How can negative thinking be comforting? The truth is, it isn’t. It is comfort turned wrong. So are all our other addictions.
Food is needed for life, but when someone indulges in it in great quantity it is turned wrong.
Excercise is healthy, but when it is overdone it is turned wrong.
Buying a pair of shoes is okay, but owning 200 or more is way beyond what is needed.
An extra hour or two in bed is sometimes needed and can be a blessing, but all weekend is unhealthy.
How can negative thinking be comforting? It allows me to stay in my funk. I give myself permission to not work hard to change my perspective or outlook. I allow myself to think thoughts that put others down, criticize situations, and spiral a small situation into something much larger.
This past year I have been working hard to change how I think of comfort and where I look for comfort. It has been a process, but every week I know I am growing, learning, and walking more in the way God wants me to. The verses below have helped me rethink comfort.
Are there other things you have learned about comfort that have helped you find comfort in God instead of circumstances, people, or things?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them.
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.