I for one have grown to dislike discomfort during certain periods of my life. I sometimes find it to be a friendly foe or an unexpected ally.
Not too long after I graduated from college, discomfort and I became good acquaintances.
I had a sense of restlessness about life, I knew I wanted more. I felt I could accomplish more and I knew I wanted better….. I forgot that “better”, comes at a price; before a harvest. However, I had grown content. Discomfort is contentment’s twin dressed in unfamiliar clothes.
Discomfort comes to shake you from your complacency, your apathy, your comfort with your “normal”. To help you recognize that your desire for more is indeed real…
“The problem with normal is there is no power in it.” – Dr Daniel Black
I can remember being at the laundry mat (my first apartment didn’t have a washer & dryer) and getting a phone call from my boss at the time. My boss said these words, “Ryan, I just don’t believe it’s working out, I don’t believe you are a good fit, and we’ve decided to go with someone else.” I was crushed. I was deflated. I felt defeated. I couldn’t believe I had been fired via phone. It felt so disrespectful that someone didn’t think enough of me to at least fire me in person rather than via phone.
“Let us not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around us in awareness.” – James Thurber
Immediately, discomfort made its appearance. I felt profoundly uncomfortable, and several questions peppered my mind. What would I tell my parents? How was I going to pay the bills? What would I do for employment now? I was arrested by anxiety but after wiping a few tears from my eyes. I finished my laundry, called my prayer partner before my parents; dropped my clothes off at home, and proceeded to my now former place of employment.
“Let God disrupt your life without complaint. God never destroys a thing without replacing it (with) better. This may be your season of “better”–so let the disruption (discomfort) come.” – Dr. Daniel Black
As I began driving from my home to my former place of employment I reflected. I never saw this coming. I was blindsided. I loved my job. I loved interacting with the guests who came into the hotel, loved seeing all the sharply dressed professionals. And of course I still remember the guests who were greeted to bottles of wine in their hotels and all of the couples who came to visit the fertility clinic a few blocks away.
When I walked into my managers office, the assistant manager was there with her also. They were so surprised to see me. By this time, there was no anger just acceptance. Being angry wasn’t going to get me my job back, and it certainly wouldn’t have gotten me a favorable response from my former employers
I remember thanking my former boss for hiring me, and giving me a chance. I told her that it had been my desire to stay in Raleigh after college and she had helped make that a reality for me. There was complete silence after I turned me items in. I remember her commenting about how I was such a good guy and would go far. I thanked her again and left.
During the drive home, I pondered why both the manager and assistant manager seemed so floored by my response. I’m thankful I responded well. Here’s what I know for sure, I can not control what happens to me but I get to control my response and thereby affect my atmosphere. I take governing my atmosphere seriously. I didn’t have time for a pity party, I needed to get back to work and living.
On the drive home this line from my conversation with my prayer partner stands out:
“What is it that God wants to be for you now that he couldn’t have been at any other time….”
Fast forward two years, I was recently back in Raleigh/Cary shopping at Target for some groceries and ran into my former boss. I think it had just been a few weeks since I got back to NC from LA. It was quite a transformation from the manager I once knew. I spoke with her, got caught up on her life, told her about my experiences working with the federal government and wished her and her family a happy holiday. Unbeknownst to me at the time, several jobs that I had interviewed for had often called her for a reference something she revealed to me before we parted…
It was in that moment that I began to thank God for my season of discomfort. Embrace the moments of discomfort in your life. They lead to a place called better…. Seek wisdom, knowledge, understanding and strategy.
In every circumstance you are always learning. There is always something to discover about God, and there is always something to learn about yourself.