It makes sense, naturally, to avoid pain at all cost. That is the pure, raw instinct of the flesh. The problem is, that tendency, to instantly quench all desire immediately, to instantly fight off all kinds of discomfort and displeasure, is a short-term remedy, which often comes into conflict with the long-term gains.
Not that we have that much control anyway. There was a time, when I first really committed my heart to God, and one of my very first prayers was, "Just don't send me to Africa." Of course, years later, my close friends move to Africa on mission. I got very close to praying, "Please let me go to Africa." I was lying in bed one night when panic seized me, as I envisioned myself in my friends' shoes, and I felt I could never survive away from the comforts of MINE. My morning mocha, my daily shots of sugary caffeine...and most of all, MY bed at the end of the day. I NEED the comfort of MY bed at the end of the day. I REQUIRE the comfort of MY bed at the end of the day.
I realized then, even if I surround myself with comforts...even if I stay in my own, "safe" little world...there is no promise my own comfort will remain. I can experience pain, sorrow and agony no matter where I am. I can set up every system to keep it out, but, ultimately, I can do nothing to ensure my own security. Any number of things can come along and destroy the promise of security. So, I can sit here and hide and avoid as much of that as possible, or I can step out, reach out, and trust God to carry me through whatever discomforts I face, wherever I face them.
I'm not certain my husband appreciates my sacrifice. (A lot of the household weight has fallen on him.) He doesn't seem to mind my full-time job, but the additional commitment...it is the internship he seems to have come to resent. (He was spoiled with a housewife for 12 years, and now I am gone so much of the time.) It's a sacrifice he has had to make.
And that sacrifice has become my reward. In August, we will celebrate 20 years of marriage. 20 years, my friends. How can this be?!!! (Am I not just 20 myself?!) This week, my husband proposed an anniversary trip. I wish I could relate to you the profoundness of this proposal. My husband WILL NOT leave his family. We have not left the children behind for anything but a one-night stay in a local hotel for all of the duration of their combined little lives. I can't even get him to come with me on the one-night work trips. He WILL NOT leave them. (He is so loyal, so committed, so responsible. His steadfast servitude so trumps my naturally selfish tendencies, that I am ever humbled in his presence.) In other words, it is not a small thing that he makes me this offer, and I believe a good part of it has to do with the fact that, in my constant absence, he has become more desperate for my time.
So, really, the decision is already made. I will deny instant gratification for the greater gain. I will set aside my own desire for the security of control, and I will accept the gift of surprise with gratitude. (...at least that's the plan. I will keep you updated on the reality of how this all plays out. 😉 😂)
Your little homie