Too Uncomfortable - Lutheran Counseling Network

By Russell Cox,2014-01-31 14:46
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Too Uncomfortable - Lutheran Counseling Network

    too (tōō) adv.

Faith and Everyday Life January 2010


    “Too” adv. 1. in addition, 2. more than enough, 3. to a regrettable extent 4. extremely; as an emphatic. Adj .modifying much or many.

    It doesn’t seem like much of a word, but it will provide a key this year to exploring the heights of God’s grace and the depths of our human struggle to live with each other.

    Let’s try it out with definition 4, “extremely.” “That was too funny!” It makes no sense literally, but if we understand the idiom we discover that someone finds something very humorous. As a matter of fact, it

    was so funny there may not have been words to describe it.

    We are eavesdropping on a private moment between two people and there is a positive relationship implied here. The “too” carries a sense of intimacy and sharing.

    How about “God is too gracious and forgiving!” Following the idiom, we are not criticizing God’s generosity. We are commenting on the impact of God’s love on the recipient. It is the “extremely” meaning we find here too. In this positive relationship, God’s very essence has flowed through to someone and they are expressing awe, or maybe even gratitude.

    Try it out for yourself. Use the “too” word once a day with definition 4 (until family and friends get tired

    of it). See how this little word might expand your experience of what is large in God’s universe and of what might be enlarged between you and the people around you.

     Lutheran Counseling Network

Faith and Everyday Life February 2010

    Too Uncomfortable

Let’s try it again. Some things are just plain hard.

    Using our last meaning of “too,” we could say relationships are often very uncomfortable

    whether the relationship is with people or with God. We can push the discomfort away, block it out, try to ignore it, but eventually we have to face it. Relationships are too (very) uncomfortable.

    A favorite human way to deal with this discomfort is to get mad at the other person for making us so uncomfortable. Sometimes it even works! Sometimes, however, we are uncomfortable because they are just stepping on an old sore spot of ours and unless we clear up the sore spot,

    they will continue to rub it. Relationships are complicated and the difficulties can come from so many sources.

    It can be this way with God too. Sometimes, like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, we wish that God had better things to do than bring troubles into our lives. But, really, troubles come to us because we are alive and fallenness is embedded into our lives. So why shouldn’t the relationship with

    God be complicated too?

    Perhaps we could move to a cave and give relationships up, but that is a bit extreme and we’d

    still have to live with ourselves anyway.

    So rather than giving up on relationships, maybe we can just remember that they are “too

    uncomfortableand embrace them anyway.

     Lutheran Counseling Network

Faith and Everyday Life March 2010

    Too Uncomfortable

    There is a wonderful line from a Kris Kristofferson song, “I’m going to be leaving no more quicker than I can, because I’ve enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand.” Enough is too much.

    We all have our limits and breaking points and we have to know what they are. Saying, “I should” be able to take, stand, endure this (whatever) is actually a little crazy. It

    assumes that I am some kind of failure if I can’t. Where did we get that conclusion from anyway?

    People talk like this even if being tough is killing them; and sometimes it does.

    This is tricky when it comes to evaluating our closest relationships. What is “too” uncomfortable?

    When do we say, “I just can’t do this anymore!” I can’t stay in relationship with you.” We all

    need to test our own hearts and look deep into our souls. God does not want alienation between

    people. But alienation is a consequence of the Fall.

    God recognizes our frailty and does not expect super-human strength from us. Please remember, it is a gracious God we turn to for love and tenderness as we examine all of our decisions.

     Lutheran Counseling Network

Faith and Everyday Life April 2010

    Too Uncomfortable

     The mirror

    How much “should” the other one be able to stand? It is possible to brow-beat someone else

    into the ground, you know.

    Sometimes our pursuit of the other during a conflict is driven by our own anxiety. We believe that we have to get something settled now. Sometimes it takes the form of “You can’t leave!”

    The terror of a possible permanent rift is so compelling we go into survival mode and demand to finish the argument.

    As hard as it is, when someone cries “uncle”, it’s best to quit pushing. Pursuit beyond that point may only push the relationship into disaster sometimes leading to domestic violence where pushing and shoving at the door leads to injury or worse. At this point, tempers may be too close to boiling and self control for both may be already gone.

    Research into these kinds of situations tells us that both people need time to de-stress. Our physiology is so wound up that we can’t really think clearly. Being able to soothe ourselves and

    distract our minds for long enough to allow thinking to resume and then reengaging the topic is

    really the only way through this scenario.

    God nowhere promises to make these situations come out well every time. God does promise that comfort is available for the terrified and reminds us that love and connection is always God’s will.

    If you are upset to the point of demanding that the argument must be settled now, risk that God’s

    presence and desire for healing are always present and then breathe and try again later.

     Lutheran Counseling Network

Faith and Everyday Life May 2010

     Too Uncomfortable

     The letting go

    Sometimes those old hurts just aren’t worth hanging onto. There is nothing left to gain, or to

    protect or to punish. The time for holding out for resolution is clearly long past. The other isn’t going to give you the apology you want. Maybe they are even dead!

    Not speaking to “offenders” for years doesn’t happen to every family but you probably know one

    where that is how folks operate. It usually hurts everyone but when everybody is “right” and everybody is righteous about it, backing down doesn’t look like an option.

    Sometimes you can get to a point where carrying the grudge becomes more uncomfortable for everyone involved than setting it down. If this is the tenth Christmas you have boycotted because Aunt Mable is going to be there, maybe it is time to let it go. Maybe you are making it just “too

    uncomfortable” for everyone.

    It is probably too uncomfortable for God to have humans that act this way, but God appears to be hanging in with us anyway. Perhaps God will even tolerate us a bit longer. But you know, maybe it’s too uncomfortable for everyone involved, even God, to put God and other people through


    Maybe it’s time to just let it go.

     Lutheran Counseling Network