Gifts come from all kinds of places, as I was reminded this morning. I attended my lectio group, a wonderful safe place for me to hear Scripture, be present with God and other wonderful people, and listen to what God has for me. The reading was a meditation on Psalm 16, and the words that stuck out for me were “fullness to my emptiness, water to my thirst, ocean to my raindrop.”
I hadn’t taken a sweatshirt outside with me, and the wind picked up. As I sat, listening and praying, goosebumps began to form and be my constant companions. I meditated on how God is full of abundant resources, including water, and that God is always ready to provide those, but sometimes I don’t ask. I am sometimes afraid and/or ashamed to admit my needs. Then I thought about the dichotomy of being a raindrop in an ocean – it’s definite community and belonging, but it’s also the perspective of being so small in the vastness of God’s world. I shivered while I prayed about that, because sometimes I feel so isolated and alone, and sometimes I am so grateful to be part of a big and wide community.
Then the sun peeked through the clouds. For a moment, the wind ceased, and I felt my skin warm to the sun’s embrace. It was an invitation, to draw close to God, to let my meditation sink deeper. As suddenly as it started, it stopped when the clouds covered the sun once again and my goosebumps returned.
Part of me resented the clouds, but the other part of me realized that I had just received a gift. If I had been warm and content, wrapped up in a fuzzy sweatshirt, I never would have felt the relief that the sun gave to my goosebump-laden arms and legs. I wouldn’t have received the invitation, the affirmation of my thoughts and prayers and where they were leading me.
My discomfort, my willingness to sit with goosebumps and try hard to be present with God, allowed me to then experience the invitation to more, to value the sun’s embrace in a different way. I wonder how often God speaks into and through discomfort. It’s a lot in my life. Yet when I insulate myself from everything that makes me uncomfortable, then I remove many opportunities for God to speak to me and invite me deeper.
Is your goal in life right now to insulate yourself from the pain, the anxiety, the trauma? In a certain way we must, because if it takes over, we can’t sense anything or manage life. On the other hand, allowing ourselves to sit in some discomfort gives space for God to work and speak and meet us where we are. Discomfort is not the enemy; often it is the catalyst for authentic action.
Are you insulating yourself too much? Make some space for sitting with discomfort, and be open to how God can make that space holy and transforming for you.