Campouts, Summer BBQ’s, and sunburns are in full swing!
For the next two months this summer, we will continue to explore the surprising adverse effects on our health caused by comfort. And learn the enriching power of stepping into discomfort!
Is it possible that much of our physical, mental, emotional, and relational health can be tied back to one’s willingness to get uncomfortable?
We wake from our pillow-topped mattresses, take a steamy hot shower, shuffle to the temperature-controlled car, where we sit before sitting some more at our desks, only to drive home in the evening, sitting down in our overstuffed La-Z-boy chair to watch some screens. We had a “hard day” in the office so we eat comfort food that contains far more calories than we burned in our sedentary lifestyle; rinse and repeat. And we wonder why we are overweight, tired, sick, and depressed.
Our modern lifestyle of unquestioned and unchallenged comfort is turning us into the round immobile people of Wall-E.
But the solution isn’t always found in a pill, tech, or some life hack.
Our prescribed reading for the summer is Comfort Crisis, by Michael Easter.
An excerpt from the intro:
“In many ways, we’re more comfortable than ever before. But could our sheltered, temperature controlled, over fed, under challenged lives actually be the leading cause of many of our most urgent physical and mental health issues? . . Easter uncovers the blueprint for leveraging the power of discomfort that will dramatically improve our health and happiness.”
Study after study as revealed in the book is showing that if we are willing to get a little uncomfortable, huge shifts can be made in our overall health, happiness, and longevity.
It wasn’t until the most recent timeline of human existence have we exchanged our survival grit for the comfortable unchallenged lives we now “enjoy”.
No longer are we hunting or gathering our food, going days on end without eating. We don’t sleep outside on the ground in the elements. We don’t bathe in cold creeks and rivers. We’re beginning to discover all of these previous inconveniences our ancestors endured, were actually healthy and formational!
For the past seven years of doing PURSUIT, we have stumbled into the power of discomfort. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable in our bodies through the workouts has enriched our mental, relational, and spiritual lives.
In our inception the concept was proven through Neil’s pier jump, overcoming his discomfort with heights and hurling himself over the edge of the pier into the cold water below. By him stepping into discomfort, a brand new sense of adventure and freedom was unlocked in his heart and life.
Another member of PURSUIT found his way to us in the midst of the hardest time of his life. His marriage was unraveling. He stepped into the discomfort of being vulnerable with us about his pain and loss and found a community willing to carry it with him. What a privilege it’s been to witness the restoration that has taken place in his life.
Anxiety and depression plague 1 out of 10 men. One of the most difficult things I see men overcome is to show up when they are depressed. In our last 90-Day challenge, one member shared with me that he was suffering from deep depression. After just one workout with us, the next day he reported his first solid night’s sleep and anxiety-free day he’s had in a long time. That took tremendous discipline to overcome the feeling to hide.
Witnessing spiritual discomfort has been the most interesting for me to observe. We have all walks of life, faiths, or lack thereof, join us on the beach. For some, the spiritual conversation is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Talking about God can bubble up trauma and pain caused by the church or other Christians. Others, there is curiosity about this alternative way of living. And still, others are inspired and opening their hearts to walking out a life of faith, integrity, honor, and love.
The PURSUIT prescribed lifestyle is modeled after the life of Jesus. The Bible claims him as the perfect man, and so we follow His way. His disciplines, challenges, and discomforts lead us to our edges. Because the end of ourselves is where His abundant life in us begins.
The stories over the past seven years are endless, and the evidence is overwhelming that when we step out of our comfort zones, the power of discomfort is unlocked in ways that modern science and medicine are only beginning to validate.
As we can see in the examples above, discomfort transcends the physical into deeper parts of us.
The physicality of PURSUIT is important, but it is merely the baseline on which we build everything else. Our mission is to activate men to become who they are, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Going beyond where you thought possible is faith. Faith is stepping into that which you are not sure about. Faith is risk; releasing control to something beyond you. A starting point is to push your body past your comfort zones. It makes space for God to meet you and show you who you are and what you are made of. This is why I believe personal challenges are so important. They take us to the edge of ourselves.
Imagine discomfort as a key to unlocking the things you desire in life.
If you want to lose weight, allow yourself to experience hunger.
If you want to get fit, commit to regular exercise.
If you want to have meaningful relationships, serve others and make time for them.
If you want more money, experience lack and spend less.
If you want to experience deeper intimacy with God, spend quality time with Him in daily worship, prayer, and study.
If you want to see miracles, step out in faith and pray for strangers.
On and on it goes.
We become self-controlled, powerful, and free men when we embrace discomfort.
So we begin on the beach, (or your garage where ever you are) at 6:00 am to push our bodies minds, and spirits to discover the enriching power of discomfort.
See you on the sand.