comfortable being uncomfortable

The title of this post was the mantra of our software development team back in the late 80s. New technology. New customers. New partnerships. Much to be uncomfortable with. At the heart of it all was a feeling of chaos. The realization of how little control we had. It took a lot to get comfortable with it all.

Personally, I found myself gravitating to the things that I had control over. Things like religion. Right/wrong and black/white thinking strongly influenced the religion I embraced. It gave me the illusion of having answers to the unknown. It created a sense of being comfortable. And I was very uncomfortable being uncomfortable.

Then my first wife had a heart attack and kidney failure. The controllable and comfortable part of my life was unraveling and coming apart. And a long season of grieving crept into my life. It seemed that everything solid got a bit shaky. The end result was an odd sense of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.. not that I liked it.

These days I find that I am pretty comfortable with mystery. Answers given to the mysterious often seem to reflect the absurdity of the question. With this in mind I submit these quotes for your perusal:
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” -Mark Twain

“If you want to be comfortable, take an easy job. If you aspire to leadership, take off your coat.” -Anonymous

“Don't get too comfortable with who you are at any given time - you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.” -Jon Bon Jovi

“It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.” -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
How about you? Are you a one-time control freak (not sure that we are ever free of that freakiness) like I was? Are you okay with unanswered questions? Are you comfortable being uncomfortable? Please share.


  1. "But Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Tim 6:6) and "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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:12,13) I think Paul himself was quite a control freak at one time.

    Me? Sure. But I find now that I tend to be uncomfortable when I start to get comfortable. Probably a Holy Spirit thing.

  2. I really prefer being comfortable. It doesn't even have to be truly comfortable, just predictable. I'm terrified of the unexpected. I think this tendency could really make me miss out on a lot of life's adventures and mysteries.

  3. I think I'm a bit of a control freak. I don't like the way surprises (whether good or bad) seem to turn my life upside down. I know i always complain how routine my life is... but i think i prefer it that way

  4. Somewhere along the way I discovered that there was so much about life I couldn't figure out or understand so I don't see I have much choice at this point than accept life on it's terms...of course, I could try, as I have many times, to figure everything out but I have discovered more often than not that leads to a black hole where disallusionment and depression reside.

  5. I think I'm in about the same position you are, Bob. Not that I love being uncomfortable, but I'm less likely to thrash and struggle when I'm in an uncomfortable situation.

    I think the main reason for this is that, over time, I've come to realize that often times I don't know what's best for me. God does.

    I've heard life described as a weaving. As long as I'm on earth, I'm on the wrong side of the weaving. I see loose ends; God is able to envision and see the finished product. I've begun to trust him to manage my life better than I can.

    I confess, though, that Ideal better with my own discomfort than I do with the discomforts of people I love. That's a lot harder for me to take.

  6. I love it when Jon Bon Jovi and Alexander Solzhenitsyn show up in the same post :)

    Seriously, those quotes are great. I can completely relate to what you said here. Its amazing how much more peace I have in my life once I accepted that I have not control over it and will often feel uncomfortable.

  7. Great comments here.. thanks everyone for joining in.. this theme of control is such a difficult one for so many of us.

    Remind me to tell you about the lessons I learned about giving up control on the cruise ship when my wife Ann was paralyzed.. it was a major teaching moment on how little control we really have.

    Happy Sunday everyone!

  8. Great post, Bob! Along the same lines I highly recommend the new movie Invictus! We saw it yesterday and it was very inspiring.

  9. I've given up wrestling (... most of the time) and taken up nestling. Great thoughts Bob and I need those thoughts about now as well - thank you.

  10. Hello Kansas Bob,

    I have been doing some searchng lately and walking with those who are facing some very trying times; some with cancer, some who's marriages are falling apart, some who are struggling with their children, some who have lost jobs, some who are just really struggling with their faith. I came across your blog, although a year old it brings some much needed confirmation in what God has been speaking to me. As I was cosidering what I need to speak on Sunday I heard God speak to me "Comfortable with being uncomfortable"...let me tell you it made me uncomfortable right away. I find no comfort in being uncomfortable but I've also come to realize that God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts don't even line up with mine...what's with that? I'm being a little sarcastic, but the truth is that I've always thought I had some pretty good thoughts, not always but from time to time my thoughts have been pretty good! Truthfully though those thoughts don't hold any weight compared to the Almighty God! I continue to pray that I would get it; that God could be fully God in my life, in His church and within the community, and that I would be ok with that even when His timing doesn't match up to mine. Thanks for blogging and being transparent..I really needed this today June 10th, 2010.

  11. Thanks for stopping by Trevor! Glad this post helped.

  12. In it something is. Now all is clear, thanks for the help in this question.

  13. Of all the posts of yours I've read, I think this (so far) this my favourite. It's very real, forged in the cauldron of despair, no doubt with your first wife's suffering. We have to face it, a lot of suffering makes very little sense, even if we have a place for an enemy of our souls in this world, evil if you will. Why, for example, are the most committed christians who have to be b;c they live in the most hostile countries given the worst ends? Look at the believers in Darfur or the Middle East who have seen their own children taken and sold into sexual slavery let alone rape and torture themselves and murder of all their loved ones oftentimes? Yet, we have the audacity to suggest, even say, that God has blessed us with a something purely "nice" here when we are in comparison so horribly luke warm, if you will. Yet, God (at leas tin the Bible) also promises safety and blessing to those who reside in him and trust in him but that is not the case with the aforementioned. Now with the young believing christian child begging to God not to be raped again by their brother/father or what have you. Yes, one can say, well God never promises a life void of hardship and his promises of safety and protection are for your soul primarily--your eternity. Yet we always hear people say how God asnwered a seemingly insignificant prayer or blessed someone somehow. So one's commitment, dedication, reliance, need or faith have nothing apparently to do with when or how God replies. so, YES, it is indeed a mystery. Does that bother me though? NO! Not really, not anymore. Rather, I love that God is mysterious, far beyond my capacity, that makes him God after all! I think pastors are more often especially guilty of losing this angle of the supernatural and acting and preaching like they have God all figured out, placing him in a box of their own scriptural interpretation. Even the whole concept of attending church seems so narrow too come to think of it.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.