Comfort has become something of a secular god in recent times. Its perhaps better marketed twin, happiness, is frequently stated (by people who I often admire) as the ultimate goal in life. Find your passion, find what makes you happy and go make your dreams happen etc.

But I do find this line of thinking to be somewhat limiting. Because all of us know deep down that happiness is forever fleeting and is so often here one moment and gone in the next.

Our natural inclination is of course to believe that we simply need to get to the next goal to experience more of it.

At some point we would be wise to realise that the pursuit of happiness seems to result in the constant sense of missing it. Which in turn leads us feeling somewhat mellow aka unhappy.

Comfort seems to fall in a similar category. The more you pursue it, the more it eludes you.

What if comfort or happiness is not the goal but instead a byproduct of a meaningful life?

All of us naturally desire to be happy or comfortable of course. Who doesn’t love the taste of medium-rare steak on a balcony in the south of France with a mountain view and a nice glass of red? Whatever lifts your soul – I’m not sure this is such a bad thing but maybe orientating our lives around such is not truly serving us. Happiness makes for a cruel master.

In my (relatively short) experience of life, it seems that all of the best moments are not found within my comfort zone but outside of it. Those moments when I feel proud of what I did, said or accomplished rarely occurred within the zone of ease and endless relaxation but under the pressures of life, complete with their own difficulty or pain.

Discomfort however uncomfortable seems to produce stuff on the inside of us that ultimately leads to happiness. Conversely, what drives us into the pursuit of comfort is actually most often fear.

  • The fear of running out.
  • The fear of not being enough.
  • The fear of what other people think.
  • The fear of failure.

All these things stop us from living in the zone of faith and exploration and confine us to a life that doesn’t even deliver on its promise of happiness but leads us on an endless pursuit of unfulfillable comfort.

As a wise man once said, the best way to die is to die quickly.

So too should we put our seemingly innocuous yet deeply poisonous pursuit of a nice life into the ground. What we’re really looking for is meaning and purpose. And these things just nearly always happen to coincide with serving and lifting other people. As we know, this is deeply inconvenient and almost never easy to do.

The desire for a nice life will limit your ability to make a difference.

The comforts of life are a gift from God to gladden our hearts and to sweeten our lives but they were never designed to be the main course.

Perhaps comfort is better to be experienced as a verb not a noun, on the journey of life rather than to be set as a destination to get to.

Moments of happiness will come and go but whilst we always welcome them we would be wise not to pursue them. Because happiness makes for a cruel master.

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