I had a very thought provoking moment last night as I was munching on a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I know, a brilliant setting for a brilliant idea. I really didn’t need the doughnut. In fact, I was already over my calorie goal for the day, but I thought “what the heck, I’ve been eating junk food all week”. Yesterday was still technically a “camp” day so way not end with a bang. That was my logic. However, I will admit that I was nursing my hurt feelings. Like I mentioned yesterday, my conversation with a cabin staff member shook me up a bit. For some silly reason I thought eating this doughnut would minister to my hurt feelings. Then I realized that I had used junk food all week to find comfort. Yes, at camp, it’s the thing to do – eat terrible food. I figured I was walking it all off, so what was the big deal? The truth is, I’m out of my element at camp. It’s not my normal routine and I’m “on” all the time. Eating junk food was a way for me to feel better. I was finding comfort in it. By this time in the thought process I was done with the doughnut. I pulled out my phone and started to make a list of all the other things that I find comfort in. Here are a few of the things I came up with:
- In the approval of others – This can look like people complimenting me, having a positive opinion of me or it could look like me sharing my side of the story looking for affirmation that I’m right. I often feel crazy and weird, so I’ll run my thoughts by close friends and family. When they give me that approval, I relax. I find comfort in their affirmation.
- In escaping my world – Through books or television, I find comfort in leaving the life of Amy Scott and walking in someone else’s shoes.
- In my achievements – I don’t want to be the type of person who feels better than others because I’ve done this or that. When I compare my experience or education, I can feel a sense of entitlement or security.
- In perfection – If I can just stay on top of all the details and daily disciplines… I’m a perfectionist, so when all my ducks are in a row, I feel good.
- In my stuff – This might look like my favorite sweatshirt or my own bed or a blanket. There are comfort items that when I am near them or using them, I just feel better.
- In quiet – I love quiet. I love stillness. I enjoy being alone. I find comfort in the quiet.
These things aren’t all bad. To some degree they help me keep my sanity and are my driving force to move forward and keep going. Not all are holy motivators and I’m aware of that. However, what do I do when these comforts are stripped from me? What do I when I can’t get a quiet moment? What do I do when the ducks will not make a straight line? What do I do when my achievement don’t matter? What do I do when I can’t gain the approval of others? What do I do when I’m away from my own bed or my favorite sweatshirt? When I don’t have time to read a book or watch a show?
I’m never guaranteed these comforts in life. They are nice, but they not owed to me. As I was eating my doughnut last night, I felt like I deserved it because I was hurting. That is crazy! I don’t deserve a doughnut. But this how I self-medicate. This is how I feel better. A couple blogs back I wrote about what is saving me right now. While these saving moments are truly blessing from the Lord, I realize that they are not my God. They will not ultimately have the power to save me from myself and my destructive ways. In a strange way, I turned from the false belief that a doughnut can make it all better and I turned my heart towards God. I told him yet again that I was sorry that I had stepped on someone’s toes. I didn’t mean to. I confessed that my motives had been in the right place and it was an accident. The side of me that finds comfort in perfection was struggling… Not only did I not have their approval, but I had unintentionally messed up. So when one comfort is shattered, I had moved on to the next. Looking for comfort wherever it can be found. I am reminded that my comfort ultimately comes from the Lord. There is nothing that I can do fabricate true peace. I can only turn to the one person who offers it – Jesus!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ. If we have troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is so that we can comfort you. And this helps you patiently accept the same sufferings we have. Our hope for you is strong. We know that you share in our sufferings. So we know that you also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)