I just finished week six of stay-at-home isolation. As my plans for the year have dramatically shifted and I have been adjusting to this new normal, I have found myself leaning toward two defense strategies to cope with this radically changing environment: comfort and control.
Clinging to Comfort & Control
Let me be honest with you: I like to be comfortable. I like to have my needs met quickly and my desires fulfilled completely. I like to go about my day with ease. In fact, I tend to twinge when there is a bump in my path that forces me to course correct. I do everything I can to preserve my level of comfort and protect my small kingdom in my immediate surroundings. I rule the small confines of my home from a comfy couch throne with a remote as my scepter and leggings as my garb.
I also like to be in control. I want to know what is going to happen next. I want to be able to make plans that are efficient and reasonable to me. I’ve seen this desire play out through my life, particularly in my high school and early college years. During that time, I lived a protected existence. I was under the false assumption that I determined the plans for my life and what I imagined for my life God was going to fulfill. After all, my plans were good plans and he wanted what was good for me, right?
Here’s the thing. God didn’t call me, or you, to live a comfortable life. He called us to live a life that is glorifying to him in everything we do. He’s called us to trust him and follow where he leads us.
Thankfully, during the time in my life when I idolized comfort and control, God didn’t leave me. Instead, he radically changed my view. As we see in Scripture, there is always a “but God” moment. For me, that moment came when life didn’t go as I had planned.
The Day Comfort & Control Failed Me
I grew up in church, so I had heard the proverbial verse in the middle of the Bible that said, “It is good for a man to bear to yoke in his youth” (Lam. 3:27). But as a young married twenty-something, I didn’t have ears to hear that truth.
Thankfully, God opened my eyes. I still remember when the truth of Lamentations 3:27 landed on my heart for the first time. After an eight-year struggle with alcoholism, my husband was in the hospital, dependent on doctors to save his life. Because of the damage done to his liver through alcohol abuse, multiple new procedures were needed, quickly.
After visiting him in the hospital one night, I remember coming home late and asking the Lord, “Am I going to be a twenty-six-year-old widow?” I knew that Romans says “God works everything out for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” But I couldn’t see how such a promise would play out. Was this God’s purpose for my life? That my husband would be taken only after four years of marriage?
Making a Choice to Trust
I had to make a choice that night. I had to believe that even if God did not heal my husband, I would still believe that he is good. This was not how I had planned my life, my marriage, or how I would spend my twenties—becoming the primary caretaker for a recovering alcoholic.
But God knew it was for my good. He was removing the idols of comfort and control in my life and inviting me to replace them with peace and trust. This is part of how God is making me look more like Jesus.
Comfort, Control, or Jesus?
Which defense strategy do you favor: comfort or control? It could be that God is using this time of isolation to reveal idols in your heart that you are going to instead of seeking him.
Remember, this is not a backup plan for your life, this season was part of God’s plan for your life all along. Just like God used my husband’s health struggle to awaken my need to trust him with my plans, he may be using coronavirus to point you back to Jesus.