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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

It's Com(placated)

In my conversation prayers with God I realize I need placating. To placate is to make someone less hostile or angry. I need that. I need soothing. I need a breather. Do you?

I turn to entertainment for distraction, compartmentalizing my dissatisfaction. But when I pivot back to the issues at hand, there it is, ready to be picked up again. I'm frustrated with being stuck at home. I'm disappointed in the slow pace of establishing ourselves here. I'm sad and isolated, bored and lonely and if I dwell in that, I get angry.

Most of the time I'm able to pray, worship, talk to a friend or otherwise soothe myself off the edge. But some days I'm just spitting mad; like sitting in a traffic jam fuming at my lack of progress. I want to slam my fist against the wheel and scream. I need placating. I need to be held.

I'm not the only one experiencing this underlying hostility. It seems to be seeping out of people in online chats, angry confrontations and broken marriages. We're stuck, we feel powerless and angry about it.

Sure, there are ways to make it about others, to blame circumstances and hope that by changing our situation, we'll quell the rage within. I can walk out of the house right now and find something to do, something to scratch the itch I'm feeling. Distraction is always a welcome relief, but it isn't a cure.

As an American I'm not used to sitting in discomfort. I'm not comfortable with being uncomfortable. This past year has been an exercise in reacquainting myself with discomfort. The heat, the bugs, humidity, loud neighbors, mud, bad mattresses, bad roads, all remind me of how comfortable I've been for so long.

Because of this, God tends to use discomfort to teach me about myself and about Himself. Discomfort and pain show us that something isn't quite right and that thing is poking or prodding us towards change. The challenge is to feel the discomfort and resolve to change myself, instead of the circumstances around me.

James 1:3-4

...because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Will I persevere? Will I sit in discomfort and do the inner work that needs to be done? Will I let lockdowns and unemployment build rage in me? Or will I let God mature me through it? I want to come out of this season stronger, wiser and more useful than ever. I don't want a season of feeling unproductive to redefine who I am. The good work of growth and maturity isn't a quick and easy fix; it's complicated.

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