The Blessing of Discomfort

Several days ago, my wife, Gail, forwarded to me a Franciscan benediction that she had received from a friend. I thought it was so good, I just had to share it.

Man With His Hands Outstretched - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet, Image #4934408

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet

Warning: this is completely counter-cultural to the feel-good, 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.
Amen”

Whoever thought that someone would intentionally pray for discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness? I don’t know anyone who prays like this.

Questions: What do you think? Is this a benediction you are willing to receive?
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  • Robin

    Wow. I love it. Thank you for posting this. It is an awesome prayer of Faith. Wow. It has hit me really hard.

  • Pitch

    A very nice prayer. This verse reminds me of David and his Psalms. =)

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  • Brad

    The older I get the more I thank God for the pain that I have had in my life. It is those hardships which forge the fabric of your heart and soul.

  • http://lovedoesntletgo.blogspot.com Israel Sanchez

    That is certaily and counter-culture prayer. It’s interesting that I wrote something in relation to this:

    http://lovedoesntletgo.blogspot.com/2010/10/shattering-of-prospertiy-glasshouse.html

  • http://musicroad.blogspot.com Kerry Dexter

    Michael,
    what I think on reading this is how much these ideas have in common with the ideas Carrie Newcomer explores in her music.

  • http://www.argyleandapricots.com Lori Zimbardi

    No, I can’t. I fear the discomfort. My daughter is questioning if God really exists and when we die if we just cease. She is 16 and I get it. She has never needed him. Things are good, we are prosperous, we are healthy. I suppose I would rather her seek now then begin her search in college when it is less likely to go towards Christ but.. I struggle praying for the discomfort that would require her to turn to Christ because I am afraid of what form that discomfort will take and to be completely honest and real, I’m not sure I am ready or willing for the suffering.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    I am reposting this link to FB. SO very true. Very counter-cultural and selfless. I pray this prayer for all of us. If we lose a house, can’t we use that tragedy to learn something from it, to extend a hand to someone else, to bring joy or find joy out of it?

  • http://samrhall.com Sam Hall

    What a fabulous prayer. Were it prayed more often, we’d be a better society. As for it being counter-cultural… so was Christ in His day. And we should be in ours.

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  • http://craigtowens.com Craig T. Owens

    So powerful! Thanks for posting this.

  • http://www.twitter.comjuanbg Juan

    Hi Mike,
    People are hardwired to follow the path-of-least-resistance. Therefore change is never in our minds, since change is constant in the whole universe — we naturally are against change, so we wait, wait and wait to the last minute, until we “get it”, while we are there resisting change we suffer.
    Suffering brings disconfort, however being unconfortable reduces our resistance to change, therefore we must prise disconfort as it is our only way to change and accept things as they are, rather as how we “think” or “want” them to be.
    So being unconfortable is actually GOOD.

  • http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/ Leigh

    Wow! This is right along the idea of things I’ve been thinking through lately. My heart is not heavily burdened enough by this world but I can’t shake the notion that I’m here to do something, anything that will bring God glory.

  • http://howtobetheexception.blogspot.com Clara

    It may seem strange, but this actually brought me “comfort” because I’m going through a tough period in my life. I have also suffered from bipolar depression my entire life so discomfort has been a constant companion and, I think if we become too comfortable, we will stop caring about those who suffer. Anyway, I hope this isn’t too repetitive. I haven’t read all the other comments yet. But thank you for posting. I’ve shared it with my friends on FB.

  • http://www.jmblr.com Tom Flann

    Looking at my own experiences, I came to Christ when I was going through a very rough patch and my faith is strengthened when I go through tough times and when I am incredibly outside my comfort zone. Being uncomfortable draws me closer to something that is comfortable… God. When things are easy and going well, it’s much easier to forget who is making everything go well. :)

    There is a constant looking at people that have been successful, in whatever their chosen field, you see there is a season of sacrifice before fruits of the labor are reaped. In their season and tears, everything is put on the line and they’re way outside their comfort zone, which gives them to a greater call of action. This forces on them the option not to fail – they had to put everything forward. As they say, no pain – no gain.

    Discomfort, pain and tears are a great motivator to drive people to action. Everything can be looked at as a blessing if you look at it the right way.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    I’d like to say I pray this prayer but then if I am honest, my actions don’t always match up. If I truly felt the pain, I’d do more to make a difference in someone else’s life instead of resting in the comfort of my own.

  • http://www.discounthomegenerators.info Macy

    I think most people pray during discomfort, hard times. We don’t tend to pray when we are happy or fortunate.

  • http://ragamuffinpc.com PC

    I love this benediction. It reminds me of one of my favorite benedictions.

    http://ragamuffinpc.com/2010/04/27/wrecked/

  • Dalton Paul Saunders

    I would add a line “may God bless you with Fearless Faith to do his will.” Fearless Faith is what allowed me to take the discomfort of God’s calling.

  • http://thatguykc.wordpress.com ThatGuyKC

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Do you know the date of its origination?

    At first glance I wouldn’t want to receive a “blessing for discomfort”, but after reading it through it definitely struck a chord with the type of person I want to be.

    I liked the last verse the most:

    “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.
    Amen”

  • http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ Anne Lang Bundy

    This Franciscan benediction is a beautiful keeper. Thank you for sharing it, Mike. Please pass on thanks to Gail.

    And yes, there are some of us who pray this way. Another Christian was sharing with me his anger that some Chinese Christians pray for American Christians to experience more persecution. I gently shared with him the blessings that come through persecution. I went on to share that I use the Lord’s Prayer as part of my morning devotion time, and that this is part of my petition for “daily bread”:
    I look to You for the needs of my soul this day,
    the breaking of flesh which allows You to rebuild,
    and the shared cup of bitter suffering which culminates in sweet rejoicing.

  • Kelli Smalley

    Wow, that’s a hard thing to ask for, but it is probably one of the godliest things one could pray for.

  • http://freedomsunday.org Cathy Hoesterey

    This is a perfect resource for Freedom Sunday which will be held on March 13, 2011. Thousands of churches across the globe from all denominations will be joining together to spread the message of Jesus who proclaimed freedom for the captives. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point at history. It is time we work together for justice and freedom for all. No man, woman or child should be for sale. Thanks for sharing this challenging benediction.

  • http://www.fskey.com Frances Akridge

    Christ is our best example of accepting challenge to draw closer to God. I know of people of many other cultures (American Indian, Celtic, Buddhist) who pray for the discomforts to maintain balance. Here is another benediction similar to the one that your wife discovered:
    I wish you Enough
    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much larger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

  • http://www.fskey.com Frances Akridge

    Bob Perk relays a similar prayer in a story titled “I wish you Enough”. http://www.bobperks.com/wish.htm

  • Rena Kosiek

    When it comes to discomfort, I have a question I always ask myself, “In the midst of comfort, where is growth taking place?” This was something that was pressed upon my heart about two years ago. Since then I have intentionally been trying to live my life with an understanding that where discomfort lies growth emerges. For example, with controversial conversations-as uncomfortable as I may feel, I confront the matter with complete transparency and vulnerability. Reflecting on each time I have done this, I have seen growth in many places I used to consider weak. This can be the same in relationships. The person everyone can’t stand (even you can’t stand)-place yourself in their lives and love on them. It may be uncomfortable, but I can promise that growth will emerge. There is beauty in discomfort and there is much to be learned if you embrace it. Your perception of discomfort is a bigger battle than the discomfort itself.

  • Pierre M

    Cool!

  • Guest

    I love it!  When you are so hungry for your destiny that clinging to your fears and routine holds no appeal, you will embrace the uncomfortable because you no longer see the suffering but the end goal. 

    To be “ALL IN” is the greatest gift you give to yourself and humanity.  It is at this point that we live a life of passion and purpose because the goals are so large and worthy of any suffering we might incur during the process; that it no longer matters. “And it pleased God to bruise him…” Isaiah 53:10 

    Hunger is a gift and so is suffering.

  • Fr. Anthony Messeh

    I am a Coptic Orthodox priest from Fairfax, VA and as random as this sounds, I actually gave a sermon yesterday about this exact subject – called THE GIFT OF DISCOMFORT.  
    http://www.orthodoxsermons.org/sermons/gift-discomfort in case you’re interested (not trying to self-promote, sorry if it sounds like I am – just reinforcing the message of the blog).

    Thanks for the awesome blog Michael.  I look forward to reading it every day.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you, Fr. Anthony. (I am an Orthodox deacon myself.)

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  • Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D.

    This is one of the best, most genuine prayers I have seen in a while. I am going to forward it. Thank you so very much for making it available.