I was listening to a podcast while I was driving from Charleston to Asheville last week and the guest speaker said something that really resonated with me. “Sit with the discomfort”
I’ve been rolling those words over and over in my head since then. I think so often we want a quick fix to our problems we are swift to slap a bandaid on the problem without really even figuring out why the problem is there, what the root cause is, or if it is part of a bigger issue.
Last night I started feeling icky. Unsettled. Out of place. Uncomfortable. I was home alone. Watching tv. Just returned from a vacation where I got to spend quality time with some of my best friends. So there’s nothing wrong. But after listening to that podcast, I decided to sit with the discomfort and see if I could figure out what it was trying to tell me. I woke up in the night 4-5 times. Tossed and turned. And this morning got up hours before my alarm because I was so restless. So here I am. Writing this out and sitting with my discomfort. I don’t know yet what I am feeling. But I like the idea of acknowledging it and pondering it instead of dismissing it.
It is uncomfortable to think about the discomfort. And we do not like feeling uncomfortable. If you feel uncomfortable what do you normally do? Walk away? Change the subject? Ignore the issue? Sweep it under the rug? Pretend everything is fine?
I am a fixer. I want to fix things right away. I jump into fixing mode right away. Here’s a problem, what can we do to fix it?? How can I help? And I know this is beneficial in some circumstances. It’s good to be able to think on your feet and have quick solutions. But sometimes I think we are too quick to try to fix things without really exploring the feelings, the root cause, the deeper issues. Why are you having a bad day? Why are you feeling anxious? What is bringing those feelings up right now? Did something happen to trigger it? Is there something that needs to change?
Maybe we just need to sit here and feel the feelings right now. Sit with the pain and the feelings and the questions. See what they are trying to tell you. Instead of trying to fix it right away. What can we learn by taking some deep breaths and feelings all the things? Maybe you need some time to be quiet. Or pray. Or cry. Or journal. When the tendency is to push things aside, take a few deep breaths. See what your body or mind or Jesus is saying to you. You are feeling discomfort for a reason. And instead of trying to immediately dive into action, take a moment to see if there is anything for you to learn from the pain. Slow down, ask the discomfort what you have to learn from it, and then move on to fixing mode.