The Microwave Generation is sadly the reality we are living in, flavoured with entitlement, self-satisfaction and impatience. I think we can all freely admit that we have all bought into the culture of instant satisfaction.
Lime scooters, UberEats, and the looming 5G network were all created to speed up our lives and make satisfying our desires easier. While there is certainly nothing sinful about convenience or ease, I believe it becomes an issue when it becomes an idol.
Comfort disguised as fear
A speaker at a conference once explained her journey with surrendering her comfort idol. She used the example of wanting to stay in pyjamas at home rather than go out and disciple girls as God had called her to; constantly prioritising her comfort over serving in the Kingdom.
I think what we often label as fear is actually unwillingness to be uncomfortable. We say that we are reluctant to get out of our comfort zone because of fear of failure, rejection or embarrassment, when the truth is that we may just be fearing the feeling of discomfort.
Shaking hands, the metallic taste in your mouth, jelly legs and a suddenly thick tongue characterise a crippling fear. Or do they represent discomfort? Are these symptoms present in both situations the reason that we categorise our feelings wrong? Or is it something else?
“Success is never achieved in your comfort zone”
As addicted as we as a generation are to convenience, so we are to success. We have however, lost the willingness to work for that success. Everyone is looking for a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme. The emphasis being on quick.
As with everything in our instant-satisfaction saturated lives, we demand instant success. Comfort is treated the same.ComfortComfort is not something that we are willing to work for, it is something that we understand as being an innate human right.
Let me be clear, I am not talking about comforts such as running water, warm shelter and enough to eat – those should be accessible for all people. I am addressing that self-satisfying comfort where all your needs are constantly, instantly met.
Self-care is a hot topic – first the message was stressing the importance of it, then how to apply it, and most recently I have been seeing many articles popping up about potentially overdoing it.
I think we can all agree that a treat, by definition, is an occasional occurrence. When we treat ourselves too often, the treat loses its value as a ‘treat’.A massage. That is my idea of an ultimate treat. Imagine now that every time I woke up with a stiff neck or sore muscles that I booked a pre-work massage.
Not only would I find myself broke pretty quickly, but I would not appreciate the value of saving up for a decent pillow or that my sore muscles mean I am getting stronger from exercising. Massages would probably lose their novelty as well.
In the same way, comfort has become our idea of a constant state of being – a right, not a treat.
Why comfort must stay a treat
If success is gained outside of our comfort zone, and we grow when we are pushed and stretched, why would we want to live in a state of comfort?
Living in comfort means that success and growth would only occur occasionally and in small doses – almost like a treat. Difference is though, that we would never seek out to treat ourselves with a time of feeling uncomfortable. Therefore, we would be stagnant and mildly unsuccessful.
In contrast, if we are more often uncomfortable, we would be learning and achieving while still seeking out times to be comfortable. It is a more sustainable and successful lifestyle, right?
The biblical basis of discomfort
God’s heart is not for us to suffer, but as a good Father He knows that we must learn and grow. As Creator, He knows that our world is not perfect, and that sanctification is a process. While God has proven Himself time and time again as rescuer, Saviour, warrior and a safe shelter, He never promises the easy road.
Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30).
He also says: “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew chapter 16, verses 24-26).
In order to follow Jesus, we must deny ourselves. He promises that His burden is light, but He does not promise that there is no burden.
Sanctification and following Jesus is easy and light because it comes from a place of humility and knowing that becoming more like Christ comes hand-in-hand with peace and joy – regardless of our circumstances.
This principle applies to our purity, speech, thoughts and conduct – it will not always be convenient, comfortable and easy to walk in purity and truth. As with success, we will not be sanctified by remaining in our comfort zones.
In grey area decisions therefore, it is always important to question whether the immediately self-satisfying path is the correct decision based on ‘rights’ or truth.
Do not fear making the unpopular decision. Do not avoid being uncomfortable because of that stance that you have taken. Do not expect instant sanctification.
Let us not buy into the microwave expectations, but instead pick up our crosses, and wear God’s yoke with humility and joy. Let us deny our desire for instant comfort, and work towards sanctification.
Petro Swart is a recent physical education graduate from the University of Otago. Originating from South Africa and growing up in New Zealand has given Petro a unique view of the world, as well as a love for all things sport and travel. Writing is Petro’s way of making sense of the world around her and expressing the convictions God places on her heart.