Learning to bloom in uncomfortability

I am just now starting to feel settled after six months of living in Vienna. Though these six months have been challenging, I have discovered more about the normal fear, the beauty and the growth that grounds me as I walk out my journey.

My alarm goes off, I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and make my precious cup of coffee. Once my half-conscious morning routine is complete, I look and see that our fridge is empty once again. So, I decide to walk to the closest market, which is where I end up usually every day. I look at the weather and see that it is negative two degrees outside, so I begin to start layering so I don’t freeze. I put on my thermals, sweater, and one of those long puffer jackets (which I am forever grateful for) … oh and my gloves and sometimes bring my umbrella along just in case I starts to rain. I know on this specific day I need to get more than usual, because I am taking a stab at one of my recipes I enjoy making in the U.S., so I choose to bring my cart and one big bag to support my load of groceries. Looking like a marshmallow pulling a cart, I set off to stock our fridge…to cover us for just one day.

I share this simple story because I want to paint a picture of a small frustration that grew as I worked to settle into my new home. Though this frustration seems silly, it was one of the many things that daily discouraged me as I tried to perform “business as usual” in this new country.

I recently realized that I didn’t want to live from a place of complaining and frustration. I prayed to the Lord asking if He would pull me out of this mental slump. And as I prayed, my heart and mind began to open with newfound strength. I know I was blocking specific emotions for self-perseveration and survival which is not necessarily a bad thing if it is for a short time, but if you let yourself stay in self-preservation and survival mode you start to lose sight of the woman you have been designed to be. As I started to allow myself to notice the complex emotions my body was trying to process, I began to feel more like the healthy woman who made the decision to move to Austria. Below I share the valuable insight I discovered from this season that may help you as you navigate your journey.

It is ok to feel opposite emotions at one time

To feel many different emotions at one time can be uncomfortable and vulnerable because it shows us that there is imperfection in our story. I have seen that there is importance in feeling deeply and encountering deep emotions to grow and mature. I am learning to give myself permission to experience all the emotions, not just the perfect ones.

By feeling deeply, we can proceed along our journey and create room to receive from ourselves the same grace we extend to others. You and I can feel joy and pain, grief and hope, thrill, and discouragement together. It is ok to be in the in between—feeling opposite emotions at the same time—as you are navigating a new place.  As we acknowledge the emotions we have, we can give ourselves the space to work through different feelings that dwell in one body like grief, hope, disappointment, and anticipation. It is important to note that grace is vital during this time of processing.

I want to acknowledge my Lord, Jesus. He has shown me what grace looks like, allowing me to step out of comfortability and into vulnerability as I have gone through this growing season.

Choosing Growth over comfortability

I have found that sometimes facing the various feelings, though uncomfortable, is the only way to grow instead of staying stagnant. With technology and other distracting vices at our fingertips, it is easy to break free and avoid situations/feelings I dislike. Avoiding uncomfortable situations will only make it harder to adjust and come to peace with our current reality. Without facing our current state emotionally and mentally, and choosing to keep scrolling or tapping, we simply pass by the opportunity to heal. This is not to say that everyone experiences healing in the same way, but I do share this to encourage you that though it may be terrifying to face specific emotions and feelings, you are worth the difficult task and the time it may take. Let me say it again, you are worth the work, time, and energy you must put in, to experience growth and health.

The importance of community and support during winter seasons

Just as I was able to finish a full marathon due to the support of my husband and family cheering me on, I have been able to come through a very lonely and trying season with the help of dear friends and family cheering me on. As I look back at this parched and tiring season that began as my husband and I got on the plane to move across the world, I realize that it has been more of a challenge to that Grace who boarded the plane than she ever thought it would be. I am filled with gratitude as I think of the friends and family in the U.S. and in Austria who have encouraged me to keep navigating and pushing through even though there has been a lot of doubts, uncomfortability, and unanswered questions. I am coming out on the other side of the six months ready to keep running this beautiful race, and to keep encouraging others who are finding it challenging to navigate their own journey.

“I prayed to the Lord asking if He would pull me out of this mental slump. And as I prayed, my heart and mind began to open giving me the strength to feel the emotions that I have been blocking out.”

Although allowing growth over comfortability and choosing community when you feel vulnerable may not be something you naturally choose, it is worth the growth and beauty you will be met with on the other side.

A question I want to challenge you with before you continue your day or evening: In your current journey, are you holding in emotions or feelings you don’t want to acknowledge because it seems too daunting or scary?

Closing Reflection for those who are facing a challenge: Allow yourself to feel deeply and be uncomfortable with the scary, even opposing, emotions you may be feeling. Given the time and patience with the process, this will allow you to move forward stronger than you were before you were met with your current challenge.

With love and joy,

(picture taken before hopping on the subway at one of our favorite stops—Stephansplatz)