Back to school. Those three little words have the power to instill dread in some and excitement in others. For me, it was always a mixed bag. I looked forward to seeing my friends every day but the thoughts of homework and waking up early were enough to make me want to flee the country. Things never got quite that drastic and though I longed for the days of sleeping in, I soon grew used to the seemingly endless school days. I didn’t particularly enjoy some aspects of school but I got comfortable there. It was a routine. Every year in the fall, I knew where I’d be.

Now, you may read this and think, “All right, so Bianca didn’t like school, which means she was uncomfortable but then she adjusted to it, which means she was comfortable. Cool, she was comfortable being uncomfortable.” But that’s not the case. You see, I was never truly uncomfortable. School was a part of my comfort zone. I knew more or less what was expected of me and I could do what was required, and nothing more, in order to skate by.

So what when I say: “be uncomfortable”, I mean challenge yourself to be better. For some of you that might mean just that you show up to school with an open, more positive mindset, not dreading the day ahead. For others, it may mean that you sit next to someone different in class or at lunch, or you don’t procrastinate with your schoolwork, or you don’t gossip­­–and you encourage your friends to do the same. Really, it’s just thinking of the out-of-the-ordinary ways you can be love every day.

For me, writing this blog post is something that’s outside of my comfort zone. I studied English in college but I still often think my writing is not good enough for other people to want to read. But I knew I was trapped. How could I say no to writing a post about being uncomfortable just because I was uncomfortable with it? That’s right, I couldn’t. And now I’m writing it and I know it’s probably not perfect but that’s okay. I’m leaving it all on the page. The discomfort I feel now is worth the amount of growth I’ll gain from it later.

When we externally push ourselves toward good, it no doubt makes us into more well rounded, loving people. However, we can’t forget to push ourselves in our relationship with God as well. Because of course, He is where we find all our strength when we’re uncomfortable. Personally, I’m not very comfortable with silence in my prayer time. But I’m going to make an effort to be silent for at least a few minutes every day and open my ears to what the Lord might have to say to me. There are so many new and different ways you can challenge yourself spiritually. You can have a longer prayer time than usual, or keep a list of things you’re grateful to God for and refer to that when you want to complain about something, or you could make an effort to talk about the Lord more in your daily conversations. So don’t hold back. And don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable.