How Could Uncomfortable Ever Be Good?

How-Could-Uncomfortable-Ever-Be-Good-1200x630Discomfort can actually become a good thing. We can react to uncomfortableness in one of two ways: 1 – we can stop doing what brought on the discomfort; or 2 – change, grow, adjust, learn, expand, and discover while experiencing discomfort.

One of the greatest misconceptions we can have is that we should be comfortable all the time. A significant amount of “life’s experience” is simply uncomfortable. Pain, sorrow, loss, grief, illness, fear, loneliness, anxiety, stress, worry, relationship dysfunction, etc. Looks like being uncomfortable is just a part of the process and we each will experience our share of it.

What is crucial for us to understand is how to make the best of our uncomfortable aspects of life. Let’s use fear as an example. Someone explained fear with this acronym: False Expectations Appearing Real.
Truly fear is the awareness (or the perceived awareness) of something that makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes fear is our “signal” that we are exiting our comfort zone.

Our personal comfort zone is that area of thoughts and actions within which we feel comfortable. It’s all the things we have done or thought often enough to feel comfortable doing or thinking. Anything we have not done often enough to feel comfortable doing lies outside the parameters of our comfort zone and makes us uncomfortable. Well…News Flash….if we continue to limit ourselves to our personal comfort zones, we will only continue to experience the same things we have already experienced, remaining within our familiar “safe” environments, and staying with the well-known/well-worn habits that keep us….yes, comfortable.

Of course, staying in our personal comfort zone is an option. For those of us who are more adventurous, comfort zone parameters seem to us as fences that may keep us from new experiences and discoveries. Case in point: a few months ago a friend told us about an opportunity to swim horses in the ocean. Yes, you read that correctly…swim horses.
This would be totally out of my personal comfort zone because first, I fear horses. Secondly, I was saved from drowning as a teenager, so I fear water that is over my head.

I committed my wife, Brenda, and myself to swimming the horses. When we arrived at the stables, I was further plunged into fear because of the wild dogs in the parking lot. Yes, I possess canine phobia. F.E.A.R. – False Expectations Appearing Real. These were real dogs. I escaped the parking lot into the horse stable where I discovered eight more real dogs. While preparing to ride the swimming horses, one of the dogs bit me with real teeth on the ankle. Uncomfortable was all over me.

We mounted and rode the horses down a most beautiful beach. Took the saddles off. Grabbed the mane with both hands and headed into the ocean. Once the horses couldn’t reach the bottom, they did what they said they would do…swim. Swimming a horse in ten feet deep water, 300 yards from the beach is out of my personal comfort zone. But then it happened. I realized that stepping through a pack of dogs (fear/discomfort), getting on a horse (fear/discomfort), and swimming a horse in deep water (fear/discomfort) was actually allowing me to do something I’d never done before.

I actually look back on that afternoon of adventure with a sense of accomplishment, excitement, exhilaration, and enjoyment; all because I risked going beyond my self-imposed boundaries of my personal comfort zone.

In my next post, you’ll find the spiritual application of “How Could Uncomfortable Ever Be Good?”

(In the meantime; don’t do anything crazy or dangerous just to prove you can get out of your personal comfort zone)
Image: By gire_3pich2005 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
D L Rogers is the Senior Pastor of Apostolic Life in Urbana, IL. He and his wife, Brenda, founded the church in 1991 and have seen it grow into a thriving multicultural, multilingual congregation. Pastor Rogers also serves as the Executive Director of Lifeline-connect, a residential recovery center for men struggling with addictions.

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