So often in my life, I look around and realize how comfortable I am. Not just physically with the blessings of a house, car, clean and ample water, food, and clothing, but am spiritually comfortable as well, and it gives me pause.
Why you might ask? Simply because to be growing in the spiritual life means so often to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s a phrase I use to gauge whether I truly am doing all I can in my life to avoid sloth and pursue holiness vs being distracted by the allures of the world.
Because sloth is not simply being lazy. Sloth can subtlety undermine all of our attempts to grow closer to God and be transformed by His love and mercy.
Peter Kreeft writes in Back to Virtue, “Of all the seven deadly sins, sloth is the most distinctly modern. Nothing so distinguishes modern Western society from all previous societies as its sloth.”
Why is this? Because our world encourages us to lose focus, become distracted, and waste time. We struggle to do the right thing at the right time when there are SO many other things that I would rather be doing instead that are much easier or enjoyable. In other words, more comfortable. And this is how sloth undermines our pursuit for holiness.
In his book, The Spiritual Combat, Dom Scupoli writes, “If you desire to fight this vice in earnest, begin by avoiding all curiosity and vain amusements. Withdraw your affections from worldly things and stop all pursuits that are not in harmony with your state of life.”
I don’t know about you, but I have LOTS of curiosity and vain amusements going on in my life. How often have I “lost” an hour checking out articles online? Or by reading Facebook posts? Or by playing a game on my phone? Or by re-watching a movie that I have already seen or watching a tv show that I have no real interest in simply because they happen to be on? Sigh. Lots of sloth for sure.
And for me, the root of it is because I am allowing myself to be comfortable, rather than disrupting my comfort and become uncomfortable by doing the right things at the right time so I only use my computer for work related activities, limit my time on Facebook, and turn off the television instead of surfing for something else to watch.
In other words, I keep working to master the art of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As long as I keep trying to do that, I will have the comfort of knowing that although I am far from perfection, I will have at least done my best to pursue holiness. And that is a comfort I can live with. 🙂