[EDIT: Christina Fox has written a very insightful blog post about uncomfortable times and how they have helped her grow in Christ:
Free stock photo from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/614039Let’s face it: nobody enjoys being uncomfortable. We avoid situations where we’ll feel out of place. We cringe if we feel singled out. Inadequacy haunts.

We’re great at surrounding ourselves with things that make ourselves comfortable: familiarity, tasks we’re good at, and people who make us feel good.

In my recent conversations, I’ve been asking “What has made you grow spiritually?” It’s been remarkable to hear responses from folks. One of the common threads I’ve observed is that people tend to point to discomfort as a time when they grew spiritually. Being outside of one’s comfort zone can foster spiritual maturity.

This is definitely true in my life. Maybe it was a new ministry opportunity that made me feel inadequate. Or maybe it was someone who urged me with some tough love. Or maybe it was receiving some difficult biblical teaching that made me feel convicted that I fall short. Or maybe it was a tragic circumstance that drove me to rely on God more. In these times, God used discomfort as a way to bring me to love and trust Him more.

For Asian Americans, we’re especially prone to staying comfortable. Maybe it’s our hard-working tendencies that lead us to affluence. Or maybe it’s the value of passivity and not making waves. Or maybe the perpetual discomfort of the minority experience pushes us to surround ourselves with as much comfort as we can. We’re good at being comfortable. How can we encourage the risk-taking in our Asian American ministries?

Time and again, as I hear more accounts of spiritual growth, I see that discomfort is a major theme. How does this observation inform our ministry model as we seek to create environments that facilitate God growing people?

What about you? How has being out of your comfort zone been a catalyst for growth?