Young man standing alone on wooden footbridge thinking about life.

Is It Possible for Discomfort to Be a Blessing?

What happens when life throws us a curve ball, and everything falls apart? Don’t ask me how I know, but I’m slowly coming to learn that discomfort might just be a blessing in disguise.

When, not if, we experience discomfort, we open ourselves up to learning from our experiences – even if it’s not pleasant at first. We can gain a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. But we have to want to achieve this understanding.

I’ve been reflecting on this lately and have thought of three ways that discomfort in life can be a blessing.

1). Discomfort Can Help Us Grow

I’m a millennial – at the oldest end of that spectrum, mind you. Perhaps more than previous generations, millennials strive for comfort in life. And if I’m honest, I’ll fully admit that I really like being comfortable too. I like when the wins come easy. I like when my business is prospering. I like when my family is healthy. Who doesn’t?

I don’t think it’s wrong to enjoy the blessing of comfort while we have it. But as I’m growing in experience, I’m beginning to realize that this doesn’t necessarily mean that comfort is something we should strive for in life.

In order to reach our potential, we sometimes have to step outside of our comfort zone and explore new territory. This is where discomfort comes in – as a teacher and guide, leading us toward personal growth.

2). Discomfort Teaches Perseverance

I love this speech from the movie Rocky Balboa:

It’s so easy to get comfortable in our lives, but it takes courage to face our fears and push through adversity. Discomfort teaches us that uncomfortable moments don’t last forever – they just make the victories sweeter when they come.

3). Discomfort Can Benefit Our Faith

If we’re not careful, it can be easy for us Christians in America to fall into the prosperity gospel trap and believe that if things are going well for us, then life is good, and God is pleased with us.

But is that really the case? Christ clearly states the opposite:

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33b

Discomfort should have a way of forcing us to our knees in prayer. Truthfully, I’ve usually been better at growing in faith when things are going well – and trying to do it all myself when they’re not. But the recent areas of discomfort in my life have mostly come from situations that I have little to no control over. This has forced me to rely on God at a deeper level than before, deepening my faith and producing hope.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5

A Discomforting Benediction

Cruising around on the internet, I came across this Franciscan benediction. Fair warning: this flies totally in the face of the feel-good, health and wealth, prosperity spirituality that is so popular today.

“May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Now, I don’t know who purposefully prays for discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness – I certainly don’t. But, I am now in a place where I may not long for discomfort but can look for the blessings of it.

Can you relate?