Stress-free Amoeba

Too much comfort is dangerous. Literally. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley did an experiment sometime ago that involved introducing an amoeba into a perfectly stress-free environment. Ideal temperature, optimal concentration of moisture, constant food supply-the amoeba had an environment to which it had to make no adjustment whatsoever. So you would guess that that was me happy little amoeba. Whatever it is that gives amoebas ulcers and high blood pressure was gone.

Yet, oddly enough, it died.

Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.

When teachers want students to grow, they don't give them answers-they give them problems! ("If a train leaves Cleveland at 3:00 going 50 m.p.h....") It is only in the process of accepting and solving problems that our ability to think creatively is enhanced, our persistence is strengthened, and our self-confidence is deepened. If someone gives me the answers, I may get a good score on a test, but I will not have grown. Just as our bodies simply will not grow stronger without being challenged to the point of exertion, so it is with our mind and spirit. Comfort is not an adequate excuse for an unopened gift.

Ortberg, John. If you Want to Walk on Water, you’ve got to Get Out of the Boat.. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, p. 47.

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