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To Combat Comfort-Addiction, Become Interruptible

My parents now live in Smoky Springs, a retirement home here in Gainesville, GA. Some of the residents are spry and alive. But many of them have checked out. Life for them is measured by the distance between lunch and dinner. Their mental capacity is still good, but their experience has narrowed …
By Seth Barnes

My parents now live in Smoky Springs, a retirement home here in Gainesville, GA. Some of the residents are spry and alive. But many of them have checked out. Life for them is measured by the distance between lunch and dinner. Their mental capacity is still good, but their experience has narrowed to something not unlike zoo animals.

Who can blame them? Old age is, they say, not for the faint of heart. It’s hard to see your faculties diminish year-by-year. In the face of pain, it is normal to seek comfort.

This is not an academic question. I turn 60 this year – people like me need to be thinking about the paths we will choose in the last third of our lives. How will we navigate in a society addicted to comfort and awash in resources? 

To an extent we are pre-programmed to do what everyone else does – to respond according to the norms culture gives us. We grow up living in the narrow realm of our own experience and relationships. The possibilities available to us are a subset of that small world. We get programmed to respond to stimuli in predefined ways. Culture is our operating system. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can build a back door in our operating system by learning the habit of interruptibility.

The interruptible person lives in the present, in liminal space (where we make a conscious choice instead of merely reacting), and is available to consider the questions and needs of others. They recognize that their own experience is limited and their true needs are few. Interruptions may actually be the mechanism through which God speaks to them.

God wants to set us free from our small world and our limited thinking. But most of us are not available to be interrupted. We’ve made choices and commitments based on comfort. We can be found living in a narrow range of possibilities.

God wants to invite us into kingdom living. He wants to invite us to partner with him to live as free sons and daughters. He may be speaking to you today, “Will you please speak to your brother? Will you seek reconciliation? Can I interrupt you?”

God may be asking you, “Will you run my errands?” Perhaps he’s whispering to you, but it’s hard for you to hear him. Are his whispers being drowned out by the noise in your life? And if you hear him, does your programming makes it hard to respond? Are you interruptible?

Four tests

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Can I hear the voice of the Lord?

2. Can God ask me to change my commitments?

3. Am I available to leave home on an assignment God gives me?

4. Do I regularly submit my plans to God and let him change them if he wants?

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