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Give – Day 9 – The hidden dangers of being comfortable

Selfless Service is always a sacrifice.

That’s why it’s called ‘selfless’ service. You forget about yourself for a while and focus entirely on someone else’s needs.

There is actually nothing quite so freeing and fulfilling as this.

In this age of constant connection we are more disconnected from God and others than ever before as a society.

Depression is more rampant than ever as a result.

The surest and fastest way I know out of depression is to get busy giving your life to someone else.

I’ve experienced severe depression at times and I have never been able to ‘just snap out of it’ instantly.

But turning my attention to service has been a huge factor in pulling me out of it every single time.

In fact, one of the deepest depressions I have ever known was marked by the feeling of uselessness, when I was confined to bed, being waited on constantly.

Feeling incapable of helping or serving others deepened my despair.

The daily battle of finding some way to serve others is what pulled me out of the darkness.

Most common was just committing to smile at the nurses and visitors, or express gratitude, to try and brighten their day somehow.

I barely had the strength to do either, but when I did it always lifted the darkness a bit because my heart was turned out toward others.

It’s really hard to be truly happy when we are living just for ourselves…yet all too often in our society that’s the trap we are in.

So how do we break out of an unhappy focus on our self?

Well…we need to get rid of our comforts and realize that comfort kills.

We’re only doing good when we’re serving, sacrificing, or giving.

And that is hard. It’s never the ‘comfortable’ route.

But do you want to be comfortable or do you want to be happy and deeply fufilled?

Thought so 😉 The only answer is to get UN-comfortable.

Making comfort your top priority is also making a hollow sadness your top priority (sorry to break it to you but it’s true.)

In today’s day and age most of us have to actually force ourselves to get uncomfortable because it is so easy to just stay in our comfort zones.

We have too much it seems.

So that is why we are forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone by building this habit of Selfless Service.

I have a vivid memory of a sweltering hot Wednesday August 18, 1999 in the town of Eagle Pass Texas on the border of Mexico and the USA.

All day, every day, as volunteer missionaries, my companion and I would ride our bikes back and forth across that dusty town…usually over 30 miles each day, in our slacks and ties, teaching people and looking for ways to serve.

I think it must have been 90% humidity and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. (40 Celsius).

The very moment we walked outside the apartment door our white dress shirts (short sleeve thankfully) were instantly wet from our own sweat.

This day as I pedaled in tired exhaustion behind my companion I remember glancing longingly at the tall, brown, withered grass by the side of the road…wishing I could join it there so badly.

I found this journal entry from the day: “I felt really horrible today. To tell you the truth–there were times during the day where I just wanted to throw my bike in the bushes and take a nap on the side of the road.”

I actually had little urges to just dive off my bike into the pavement. To say the least it was a hard afternoon. I could hardly stand it. I tried to pray to get help and I believe it helped–but wow–it was hard.”

That’s an extreme example of the pain of selfless service.

But I’m 100% sure that any parent knows intimately this type of pain. There are moments it can be so hard.

Like when you are up in the night for the 5th time with that newborn, just dragging yourself through the day on 3 hours of broken sleep. There’s nothing fun about that.

But yet, we keep doing it. As a race we keep having children. We put ourselves out there for others and sacrifice our own comforts.

Why?? Because that is what life is truly all about. Giving. Serving.

Service is where true joy is found.

And though it won’t always be intensely difficult, selfless service is always a sacrifice.

Any time you do something selflessly for another, you sacrifice time you could be doing something for yourself – seeking your own comfort and pleasure.

But seeking comfort ends in empty despair. Sacrifice sustains life and brings joy.

So today, write down at least ONE selfless act you will do – then DO it.

Keep up this daily effort.

This habit will give you a built in source of joy throughout your life and protect you from slipping into the comfort zone your natural man or woman craves – a zone that is devoid of happiness.

Make Today Amazing!