I once heard that God cares more about my character than my comfort. I’ve found that to be true. My sister, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation right now, it’s because God loves you too much to let you stay the same. It is out of total and complete love for you that he makes you uncomfortable enough to keep you from settling for less than his best.

For many years now, I daily pray this prayer over my young adult children: Lord, set them free from anything or anyone that is causing them to settle for a life that is less than you have available for them. I’ve truly seen God work in that exact way in their lives. My children in their 20’s came to me and said, “Mom, I feel like God is telling me to stop settling and that he has more for me than this.” And I, as their mom. am having a secret party inside screaming YEAH JESUS, while holding a straight face and saying, “oh really, tell me more about that.”

But it’s not just our kids settling for less than God’s best … it’s us. We find comfort anywhere and we just settle right in. Relationships, jobs, circles … we settle for familiar comfort over uncertain opportunity. But God wants his girls totally unsettled. He wants us continually open to his promptings, ready to take action on the opportunities he brings our way. And there’s only one way for God to keep his girls from settling again … he allows problems.

Why would a good God allow problems? Because he’s so good he knows comfort threatens our character. It makes us less of who he created us to be. It forms ruts in our lives which turn into holes, and we get stuck in those holes. Then we pull a rock over our head and we hide in our holes where we’re stuck. This is an image of settling. Settling brought on by comfort.

The truth is, our continual quest for comfort and ease ultimately creates some of our deepest ruts and darkest holes. Enter PROBLEMS in your life to save you from forming that rut and digging your own hole. Yes, problems actually save us. They wakes us up. They makes us do something different.

My friend, what if the current problem in your life is much more of a saving grace than a nasty attack? We give the enemy so much credit. Girl, the problems in your life aren’t’t always an attack of the enemy. Sometimes that problem is the saving grace of God swooping in to rescue you from your own comfort seeking self that was heading right toward the next hole where you were going to get stuck.

Romans 5: 3-5, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

There was absolutely zero punishment in that scripture. Your problems aren’t always brewed up in the pits of hell. Your problems are tools God uses to bring you into the fullness of who he created you to be, living the life he designed you to live.

The Message translation of Romans 5: 3-5 puts it like this, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

Create a little flow chart to track where God wants to take our troubles. In the first box, write PROBLEM. Then an arrow leading to the next box where you write PASSIONATE PATIENCE. Then another arrow to the a box where you write VIRTUE. Finally, one more arrow leading to the final box which says ALERT FOR GOD.

This is how God uses problems in our lives. Problems wake us up from settling and create passionate patience in our lives. There’s a tremendous difference between settling out of comfort and passionately waiting for doors to open and things to change. Passionate patience is a characteristic built in the middle of problems we can’t fix ourselves. Passionate patience is a spirit that isn’t giving up in the problem, but waits with hope and expectation. I will not built a house and decorate it here in this desert because honey, I’m just passing through. I KNOW THERE’S MORE FOR ME. And I know I will come out of this more like the person God created me to be!

And this creates virtue. Virtue is not only knowing the right thing, but doing the right thing. It is moral excellence, strength and courage, charcter. Yes, this is what God wants to develop in your life. And guess what .. virtue is like a big ol’ gluteus maximus muscle. You don’t get glutes by laying in a chaise lounge. You get glutes one way … squats! Think of squats as the problems in your life. They feel like a punishment, but they’re growing something for you!

Your problems are keeping you from settling! They’re growing you into a virtueous woman who knows what is right and does what is right. A woman who is strong and courageous and willing to work hard, keep going, and never lose faith.

And this finally makes you alert for God. Once you’ve seen God work through your problems and your troubles before, you see the next issue with a different perspective. God, is this you working in my life again? Did you set up the impossible so you can show me your power again? Did you allow this to fall apart so only you could put it back together again? Did you blow this up so I wouldn’t have the option of settling here?

Once you start seeing God work in your life, you become aware of him. You start looking for his fingerprints on the details. With full faith and total trust we stay alert for what God will do next.

What will God do next in your life? Girl, I don’t know … but I know he’s not going to let you settle for less than his best any longer. I know he’s going to allow problems and troubles so you develop a passionate patience that leads to virtue.

God really does care more about your character than your comfort. If you’re in an uncomfortable situation right now, follow the boxes … God is taking you to passionate patience, followed by virtue, so that you are alert for what he is doing.

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