Comfort might be the most attractive temptation in our everyday lives. There is nothing more tempting than surrounding ourselves with people we are comfortable with and agree with. It’s easy to stay in one place, to generate an everyday schedule and to enter a social bubble that surpasses other areas of thought.
We see these bubbles all over. They are friend groups that are so tightly knit and emotionally attached that it seems no one else exists. They are relationships where instead of two people challenging each other, it is two people fully obliging to whatever desire they have. Even Azusa Pacific can be categorized under this umbrella: a university that requires its students to attend three weekly services and take yearly classes that are generally absorbed by one area of theological thought.
I can place myself in all of these bubbles and others probably can, too. It is easy to develop an identity of your own when you aren’t challenged. Why would anyone want to be challenged in their understanding of who they are? Maybe an individual’s true calling is to be placed comfortably in a bubble, surrounding themselves with those who can attest to their lifestyle. It all seems so easy this way.
But, what happens when that understanding is challenged and confronted with other ways of thinking?
It is a scary thought. What if someone who is confident in who they are is faced with a circumstance that pushes them in a different direction? When considering the fulfillment of life, I am reminded of a quote from motivational writer Denis Waitley.
“It is not the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is the happiness of pursuit,” says Waitley.
The quote, of course, can be dissected in several different ways. To me, it represents the idea that when we are constantly looking for comfort, it is impossible to live a fulfilling life. Rather, it is the journey of personal reflection that leads to contentment.
The journey can be compared to a puzzle. It is impossible to finish a puzzle until every piece is connected; the journey is impossible to complete when one fails to acknowledge what is placed outside of their own bubble — which is just one piece of the puzzle. When we restrict our beliefs and moral attitudes to only what we know, a comprehensive understanding of the world ceases to exist. The puzzle could never be completed.
It’s impossible to discuss with someone what they believe and why if they are unaware of the general biases of their own thought process. We need to examine our biases by asking ourselves the question, “How can you confidently say what you believe in if you have never attempted to look at things from a different perspective?”
It seems that this practice is frowned upon within the Christian community. There lies a fear that a shift of focus would distract you from your relationship with God. However, when applied correctly, the opposite effect can happen. Shifting your perspective allows you to strengthen your beliefs when you realize how powerful your faith is.
I encourage everyone to take a chance and step out of your comfort zone. Learn new things and customs that are not applicable to your everyday life. Test your faith by exploring new ideas. Not only will you grow stronger as an intellectual, but it might let you dive deeper into why you believe what you believe.