Coping with Uncomfortable Feelings

In the face of multiple family crises, how one mom has figured out how to deal with discomfort.

Posted in , Jun 29, 2016

Dealing with uncomfortable feelings.

I was telling a friend about the cataclysm of crises my family has experienced this year– at one point I had three kids in different hospitals in different states–and she interrupted me, incredulous. "How are you still standing?" she asked.

There are a lot of ways to answer that question. I can say not-surviving wasn't exactly a choice, or note that I work hard to reduce stress through exercise. I can mention my network of amazingly supportive friends or talk about prayer. This time, though, I said wryly, "I've developed a very high tolerance for dealing with uncomfortable feelings.

Read More: Mornings with Jesus Devotional

This is true. I dislike fear and sadness and pain just as much as the next person. I've discovered, though, that difficult emotions are oddly easier to deal with when I face them head-on instead of pushing them away.

It's the Garden of Gethsemane model for dealing with difficulty: I can plead for the cup of suffering to be removed, but doing so involves admitting my distress and grappling with my "I don't wanna!"

It's not lost on me that Jesus didn't run out of the Garden screaming, "I can't take this!"

He doesn't appear to be big on freak-outs in general. He chided those panicky guys in the boat in the storm, after all, and fixed the guard's ear after someone chopped it off in a frenzy of misguided protectiveness.

We're clearly going to have big, nasty feelings in our lives from time to time. We don't have to like them, and we don't have to like the situations in which we find ourselves. We do, however, have to accept where we are and accept that we feel what we feel. For we can't hand our troubles over to the Father if we haven't even picked them up.

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