Uncomfortable with Discomfort (WW #2)

Whispered Wednesday #2 (9 Jan 2013)

I started this day feeling a little like I was cheating.  I had scheduled a procedure for this day several weeks ago, and only realized last week that it was going to fall on a Wednesday.  The procedure requires me to not eat or drink for several hours beforehand, so that kind of felt like cheating when part of my focus on these Wednesdays is dealing with the temptation to NOT stick with the plan for “fasting” from things- food, spending, “drama”, media etc.  As the day went on however I found a very obvious theme playing out.  I realized I am not at all comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I did not physically feel well Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, and it was very uncomfortable- literally.  I was unsettled in my mind and heart about a couple of issues related to work that needed to be addressed but were not “fun” topics at all and so I’d been putting it off.  That was uncomfortable.  I was hungry and REALLY thirsty (I hadn’t planned enough ahead and had enough water before I had to STOP drinking water) and that was really uncomfortable.  There were five people weighing on my heart for different reasons and that was also contributing to my overall discomfort.  I was “behind schedule” before I even woke up- also uncomfortable.  As the day wore on and I tried to focus on and pray for the three families I’m supporting this year, I found some overall comfort in that focus, but I found it hard to STAY focused on that.

The day continued.  During the procedure I woke up a little from the sedation and was REALLY uncomfortable (before you feel too bad for me, I fell right back out and only have a vague memory of this).  This has only happened once before so I thought about the relatedness of this physical discomfort to the mental, spiritual, emotional, total discomfort I was feeling that day.  When I woke later that night, I was really hungry and wanted to eat what I wanted so was really uncomfortable with just having fruit.  It was a delicious bowl of 8 different kinds of fruit, and more than adequate nutrition, calories and amount but I was still uncomfortable b/c it wasn’t what I wanted.  I realized later that night that I’d forgotten to pay for something that had a deadline and wanted to do it right then- not major, but uncomfortable because I like to check things off my list and now this would have to wait.  In addition, I felt physically better, but not 90% better which is how I usually feel after this procedure.

Ok- so you get the point.  Wednesday was an uncomfortable day.  When I woke up Thursday, it was one of those days that you feel in your skin is “out to get you” and my skin was not proved wrong…from the early morning until I fell asleep it was another frustrating day.

What I realized about halfway through this 48 hours is that I am REALLY uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  Whether its a small pebble in my shoe while running, an unsettled conversation, a box on my “to-do” list, hunger or other physical discomforts, temperature (usually cold for me :), feeling I was misunderstood or mistreated, having to wait (a big one) or any number of other interruptions to my perfect day- I am not comfortable with anything that causes me to be well…uncomfortable.

As I thought about this and the meaning behind it and how I could use it for good in some way in my life or others- Philippians 4:11-12 was brought to mind…you may know well the following verse (Phil 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) but right before that Paul says:  “…..for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”.  Now I am in no way comparing myself to Paul and any of the situations he found himself in.  Nor am I comparing myself to anyone in the world who truly lives in hunger, need or want.  In fact just the opposite.  I am wondering how I can know what it is to be content “in want” when I am never IN want?!  I realized that I don’t even allow room in my life to EXPERIENCE “need” or “want” or discomfort.  If I want to eat (even if I”m not sure I’m hungry)- I eat.  If I want water, I drink.  If I want sleep, I sleep.  If I want to spend money- I hit the button.  If I want to go, do, see, be, buy whatever- I just do it.  Many times without even thinking about it.  But here’s the main point of this post- by doing that, I think I (we?) are increasing discomfort, dissatisfaction, impatience, un-gracefulness- all those things I don’t want to be.  We are used to having what we want when we want it and when I at least, don’t get my way, it’s often “not pretty”.

What I realized throughout all of this very uncomfortable 48 hours is that I was learning to deal with the discomfort more appropriately, more quietly, less publicly and with less need for apologies and guilt afterwards.  I was able to focus on reading my Bible and praying and letting the discomfort teach me things (patience, empathy, self-control, tolerance, forgiveness, grace, peace).  These may be things you do on a regular basis but for this “highly sensitive”, drama-prone, black-and-white, perfectionist girl, it is a milestone I am putting in the “plus” column of this second WW.  I am by no means saying I have this down but I have at least recognized it and can find ways to address it, sit with it, let it teach.

2 Wednesdays down, 50 to go.  I’ve already learned so much and am hoping you’ll share some of the things you learning this year too.  Anyone else “get” what I’m saying?  How is your life uncomfortable- where is it uncomfortable? How do you deal with that?  Do you think I’m crazy? Have you ever intentionally created discomfort? Is there value in discomfort?  For you? For your kids?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

3 thoughts on “Uncomfortable with Discomfort (WW #2)

  1. April January 11, 2013 / 7:37 pm

    Oh I SO get what you’re saying. I don’t know what if feels like to “be in want” and not instantly gratify myself with whatever that “want” is. And my kids are the same. So yes, I’m intentionally going to try and create discomfort in my life this year and not give in to all my “wants” that I may feel are “needs” (but really aren’t). Good example (and something I may try on myself). Preston got an Amazon card for his birthday. He searched online and immediately found twenty different things he wanted. And he wanted to buy them IMMEDIATELY! So Adam and I came up with a plan. We told him he had to wait and think about it for two days, and if after those two days he still wanted that “thing” he could buy it. You would be AMAZED at what waiting two days will do. You realize you really don’t “need” that “thing” quite as much as you thought you did. And you delay the instant gratification component. I know this may sound silly to some, but I’m gonna try it. Maybe make myself wait a week. I am betting after a week of waiting I won’t even remember half of the “things” I thought I wanted/needed.

  2. thenatteringnelson January 11, 2013 / 11:15 pm

    Thanks, Dawn! As always, thought-provoking and genuine and dear. As I read the verses from Philippians, I was reminded of a sermon I heard last year in which our pastor said “You can’t learn to be long-suffering without suffering.” Yikes! Yet even Paul said he had had to learn to be content. That is a bit of comfort…and then backed up by verse 13!

    • cupsrunningover February 3, 2013 / 2:59 am

      LL- love that! I find myself journaling things you write everytime you comment 🙂

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