Sometimes parts of our lives seem stuck. A valued relationship isn’t growing. Your career isn’t moving forward. You just don’t feel like you are personally growing. One cause might be that you are turning away from the very door you need to walk through, metaphorically speaking. One problem we face is that discomfort is uncomfortable, so we avoid the things that cause us discomfort/emotional pain/anxiety. But sometimes it is the very thing making us uncomfortable that we need to face into in order to keep growing.
It’s natural to avoid pain and discomfort. There are many times when this is the right thing to do. If you feel pain in your hand, you take it quickly off the stove. Pain avoidance serves a purpose, but it can also keep us from growing.
When athletes are training, they actually look for a little pain. They want to “feel the burn.” It is the pain the tells them that they are getting somewhere. That’s not natural response to pain. Athletes have to train themselves to push through it. But they do and they grow stronger.
Discomfort with ourselves and our relationships can function much the same way. If you have a relationship that is stuck, it may be stuck because you are avoiding the uncomfortable. If you feel stuck in your personal growth, it may be that you are having trouble facing some uncomfortable or painful truths about yourself.
Can you imagine retraining yourself so that if you are in the middle of a conversation and you find yourself becoming uncomfortable or anxious, you think to yourself, “Now we’re getting somewhere,” instead of thinking about how to steer the conversation in a different direction? Can you imagine having a mindset where you could look at yourself honestly and, without judging yourself, say to yourself with regard to something that happened, “That really made me uncomfortable. I wonder why?” instead of trying to make sure that thing doesn’t happen again.
Not every moment of discomfort is an opportunity for growth, but many are.
For the Christian, trust in God’s unconditional love frees us to face into these moments of discomfort/pain/anxiety with others or with ourselves because we don’t have anything to earn or prove to God. God displays his love for us on the cross of Jesus Christ and shows his power for our lives in the empty tomb that could not hold Jesus. All this he does without condition or restraint. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.
That kind of unconditional love creates a free space in our hearts wherein we can face discomfort/anxiety/emotional pain and ask what it is about instead of running from it.
Pause for a moment and reflect. Recall a recent time you felt uncomfortable, nervous or anxious? Why is that? What is going on inside of you that let you to discomfort at that point?
So go ahead, get uncomfortable. It might be just the thing you need!
Peace to you.