Who wants a slice of pain spread with a little discomfort?

Beginnings, endings, and our comfort zone...

My family eats a lot of bread. No surprise, right? If everyone eats a slice of toast (or two) and a cup of hot cocoa for breakfast we pretty much destroy an entire loaf, or at least close to it. Making everyone a sandwich? You don’t even want to know.

Good thing bread is still relatively inexpensive.

The other day some of the girls were going through the autumnal phase of their seasonal cocoa and coffee ritual. Do the females in you life go through same ritual? Not sure?

Let me explain.

As soon as the weather starts to turn a little chilly, girls trade Frappuccinos and Frappes for hot cocoa, flavored coffees and other similar overly priced warm drinks. Then when the weather begins to turn again and the sun begins to produce heat again (note: it doesnt from November to March here in MO) they move back to expensive coffee drinks of the frozen kind.

I am pretty sure a law was passed a few years ago that requires all females in the US to participate. I don’t fully understand it, but no doubt Starbucks lobbied heavily for that one.

I digress. The girls were making cocoa (with a generous daub of marvelous Cool Whip) and toast. From somewhere in the vicinity of our well-used toaster came the feisty little voice of Suni (Allison to strangers), my seven almost eight year old. You might remember Suni. Find out more about her here and here.

“Why are there only beginning and endings? No one wants beginnings and endings? Why aren’t there middle pieces. I don’t want beginnings and endings!!! No one likes beginnings and endings! Wah! Wah! Wah!”

You gotta know something about my Suni. She is spunky, bossy, mouthy and sweet as pie all at the same time. She knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to tell you. But not all the time. Sometimes she can be quiet and reserved, maybe even borderline shy. Then other times…watch out!! She can filet you and give you a tongue lashing that will leave you sliced, diced and ready for the frying pan.

–Don’t tell her, but I absolutely LOVE this about her. I believe that God is going to use her spunk, her tongue and her attitude to get some stuff done in this world. We need to some straight talkers and strong leaders in this world.–

(take a deep breath: Don’t get political. Don’t get political. Don’t get political)

I pray constantly that God will help Vikki and me raise this crazy group of Little Rods into an amazing group of World Changers, Suni included.

I keep getting off track. Back to the toast…

So Suni was upset that there was only ends left in the bread bag. “Beginnings and endings”, she called them. “No one wants Beginnings and Endings” she said in her signature mouthy way.

She was right. You don’t like them. I don’t like them. They are dry and difficult to chew. It is like having a whole slice of crust. It is a whole slice of crust!! Ack!!

I began to think more about Sunni’s plight that day. She is right. I don’t really likes beginnings and endings. Not talking about bread here.

New beginnings can be exciting and the thrill of a new adventure is attractive for many outgoing “A” personalities. However, for a introvert like myself, the possibility of failure and the fear of the unknown will often find me sporting a sparkling uniform. But safely sidelined as a cowardly observer.

It is more comfortable as a bench warmer. Your jersey stays clean and after the game you can just hang it up and it is ready for next week. Perfect.

No sweat. No blood. No tears.

Nah, my comfort zone is good. Really good. No chance of getting a face full of turf or blowing out my knee from here. High and dry, safe and sound.

I find a safe warm solace in the arms of the monotonous. The bread in the middle is less stale and much easier to swallow. Life is much more comfortable when the boat isn’t rocking much.

I don’t like beginnings or endings very much either, Suni.

“The End” sound too omnious and scary. An ending means change is about to occur. What we had “going on” is over and done. We have to search for a new normal. Tomorrow will not be like today and today is about to become another yesterday.

Ugh! Chills all over!

Change is disruptive. Change can be painful. It is uncomfortable.

I absolutely despise change. Or at least I used to.

I have learned something in recent years.

If I was going to become my best. If I was going to be the leader my family desperately needs. In order to become the best “me” I could possibly become, I would have to…change.

I was going to have to learn to embrace Change and Discomfort.

To become the best Husband, Father, Leader, Boss, Manager, Employee, I could be,  I was not only going to have to learn to tolerate change, but I would need to become an agent of change.

Not only would I have to stop avoiding discomfort, I was going to have to become a promoter and lover of discomfort.

Beginnings, endings, tough times, trials, valleys, cloudy days, discomfort, changing times. It doesn’t matter what you call them. These are the moments that shape and mold us into what I need to become. They are the only way to hone my flat dull unimpressive edge.

Ripping myself out of the lazy reclining position of my comfort zone is the only way to break free of who I am and propel myself down the path of whom I so desperately want to become.

You know what I mean guys. We all like to think the lazy life is the way to go. But down deep, we are not happy with ourselves. And we know our wives are not to pleased as well.

And if Momma ain’t happy…you know the rest. 🙂

So how do we break out? How do we endure uncomfortable beginnings and discouraging endings? How do we embrace discomfort and change even when we would rather be binging on Netflix, splayed across the recliner, stuffing down Cheetos and Cookies and Cream ice cream?

Let me tell you what Vikki does with those crusty “endings and beginnings”. Promise me you won’t  tell my kids:

Butter it up, slap a piece of sharp cheddar on it, flip the crusty side toward the middle and toss it on a hot cast iron griddle. That’s right, Grilled Cheese. Deeelicious. No one can even tell the difference. Nicely done, Lady. Someone has to eat the beginnings and endings! Too many mouths to feed around here to waste good bread.

We have to realize that our comfort zone is holding us back.

Change and discomfort are not the enemy. Our complacency is.

The only way to break out of our laxness and comfort is to hit them head on. No holds barred. Face to face.  Approach the sleeping lion and jab him right in his scrawny ribs.

Do the thing that you fear the most. Don’t wait for your fear to be replaced by courage. Do it afraid if you have to. But break free.

Those you love and lead are counting on you. They are cheering you on. They need you to be the man you were called to be.

We have to stop avoiding those “beginnings and endings”. We have to bust free from our comfort zone and embrace the change we have been running from for so long.

Flip that stale bread heel around and make into a melty, tantalizing morsel of gooey goodness. Even if it brings on temporary pain and discomfort.

Because there’s no gain without a little pain, my friend. You know that.

So embrace that pain. Get off the couch and trade your comfort zone for the life you are really looking for.




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