There is a longing in the human soul to be comfortable. Deep down, we desire peace, harmony, tranquility, and freedom. We are drawn to ease. It is important in our lives because it lifts our spirits. Yet comfort can also come with a cost.
When we experience dis-ease, we tend to believe something is off or wrong. Disharmony, disturbance, agitation, turbulence or restraint cause us discomfort. We don’t like being uncomfortable. It can drain us. Often, we feel this way when things don’t go our way.
What if we move toward engaging rather than avoiding our discomfort? Let’s consider those times when we don’t get our way and it leads us to a better way. Just as we can gain from the comfortable times in our lives, there can also be blessings, maybe more than we realize in the moment, in our distresses.
Discomforts come in all shapes and sizes. People and circumstances can press us to feel anything from annoyed to irritated to frustrated to angry to hateful.
How do we know when our discomfort will result in fulfillment or drain? To start with, we need to humble ourselves to God in prayer. God sees a bigger vision for what is ahead than we do so we need Him to prompt us with how to proceed (Hebrews 4:13). A step to take when we are faced with distress is to surrender ourselves and the situation to God in prayer by asking Him to speak, to give us a listening heart and to guide our actions (Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, Hebrews 11:6). When we surrender our distress to the Lord, it enables Him to use it for our good (Romans 12:1-2).
If we try to control the situation, that is likely when discomfort begins to result in a negative drain on our lives. At that moment, we are trying to handle something independently apart from God’s oversight. When we step out from under God’s perspective, then we lose our way (Romans 13:1-5). We lose touch with Godly discernment, wisdom, and God’s protection. We are in danger of being sapped by distress at this point.
Rather, when we continue turning our uncomfortable situation over to God and surrendering ourselves to His plans, we continue to bring ourselves under God authority, protection and direction. We may face danger but we are not in danger. Our mission here is to keep close to God in prayer, to continue surrendering ourselves to Him, and to continue to listen and seek His will. God will move in our hearts and in the situation. We may have major worries to fret about yet God can and will provide for us (Psalm 34:19). God will work it out on our behalf and the behalf of His greater plan, which we may not see (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28). We can count on the most difficult situations being worked out to our good when we remain close to God in prayer through surrendering ourselves to Him.
Stay tuned for Part II in two weeks.
Question for discussion: How comfortable are you with discomfort? How do you manage it?
Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:
Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA