How Embracing the Uncomfortable Can Unlock His Plans
By Julie Lefebure
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Julie’s Story
I love the beginning of each new year. With it comes hope, promise, and the excitement for what’s ahead. I anticipate how God will grow me and what He will teach me over the next 365 days. This year was no different. I was excited to begin 2023 until God gave me my word for it: uncomfortable.
Yes, you read that right. For years I’ve chosen—or I should clarify, God has directed me to—a word for each calendar year. After seeking Him and praying about it for this year, the word “uncomfortable” kept coming to my mind. I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried. I ignored it, I tried to choose another word, and I even told God I didn’t want it. Who did I think I was to tell God that? I knew if I chose another word, I would regret it all year long.
But honestly, I didn’t like “uncomfortable.“ Who wants to be uncomfortable? We’d much rather choose comfort and contentment and coziness and any other antonym of uncomfortable, right?
Then I waved a white flag of surrender and begrudgingly accepted “uncomfortable“ as my word for 2023. Instead of digging my heels in and avoiding all that was uncomfortable, I asked God to help me learn to appreciate it, and if it was possible, to even enjoy it.
Is it possible, to enjoy being uncomfortable? I doubted it. But within the very first week I began to get a glimpse of just how God was going to use this word to completely alter my then comfy life. He pointed me to this verse, and I memorized it.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long,” (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV).
I decided to do something every day that made me uncomfortable and that would stretch me. Whether that was to exercise a few more minutes, or change the food I put in my mouth, or learn a new skill, I was not going to be afraid of being uncomfortable any longer.
But I didn’t expect this.
I can’t tell you exactly how, but God began laying on my heart once again the desire to publish my book. You see, I had all but given up on this dream after receiving rejection and after rejection from book publishing professionals. I kept getting the same message, “You don’t have enough followers to sell a book,” or “Your platform isn’t big enough.” I knew it was true, but I just thought if someone, anyone, would give me a chance, I would do all I could to make it worth their while. But that’s not how it works.
The one message, however, that rang truer and louder than all the others that January came in a whisper from my Creator: “Your platform isn’t too small for Me.”
What? Am I hearing You correctly, God? Am I to resume writing this book?
As I sat at my desk in the months that followed, uncomfortably pouring out the words through my hands, those words began to form sentences, then paragraphs, then pages, then chapters. Pretty soon, doors began to open.
An affordable course in how to publish a book came across my path. I was introduced to a design group who could format my book and make it look beautiful. Then I found out my editor had one opening left for the entire year—at the exact time my manuscript would be finished. What?
God was lining everything up, at the right time and in the right place and space. He was the One making it all happen. I was just the one hanging on to Him for dear life because I had never done anything like this before. Ever!
To make a long story a little less long, ten short months after God told me my platform wasn’t too small for Him, my book was published into the world. Thanks be to God!
I learned many lessons through all of this, but two stand out to me today: 1) Nothing is too small, big, or difficult for God, and 2) when God calls us to do something we’ve never done, it’s going to be uncomfortable.
Friend, what in your life feels too small, or too big, or too difficult right now? The truth is, it’s not too big for God. What is He calling you to do, but it feels so far out of your comfort zone? If He’s calling you to it, He will equip you through it.
I’m still walking this uncomfortable road with God as I’m in the process of finalizing a Bible study, to be released in a few months, to go with my already published book. I can honestly say I don’t fear being uncomfortable anymore.
As I wonder what word God will have for me in 2024, I'm thankful that we can all rest in the truth this Scripture: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track,” (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG).
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest essay series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive each new essay in your inbox, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a FREE download of a Prayer Planning Worksheet, a resource to help you prepare your heart to listen for His voice in prayer.
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Julie Lefebure is the author of Right Now Matters: Empowering Right-Now Women in a Culture of Distraction. She is also the host of the Encouragement for Real Life Podcast. There she offers hope, inspiration, and encouragement based on biblical principles to help women live the abundant lives Jesus came to give them. Julie speaks at various women’s events and groups, and she is the founder, host, and presenter of a local quarterly women’s event, “Real Encouragement LIVE!”
Knowing firsthand what it’s like to live distracted, Julie helps women experience abundance and joy by embracing a “right now” mentality and presence in their everyday, priceless lives.
Julie lives in rural Iowa and is an avid tandem bicyclist with her husband. Some of her favorite things are wearing inspirational graphic tees, hanging out with her family, and watching sunrises and sunsets. You can find Julie at https://www.julielefebure.com or on Instagram and Facebook.