Comfort is overrated

I was listening to Dr. Robert Friedberg on Doctor radio, channel 81 via satellite. He works with children who are having anxiety issues and uses psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral techniques as his methodology. His one statement clung to me and would not let me go. He said, “Comfort is overrated.” On the heels of Ann’s (in)courage post Friday on beating our fears (, Dr. Friedberg’s program was just so “timely”.

Ann told us that Fear doesn’t stop the really bad things as much as it stops you from really living. In the secular, Dr Friedberg said that fear is not the problem; avoidance is the problem. It made me think about fear as a bad thought. When something comes into my mind, I can’t really help that, but once I recognize it as a bad thought, I can help that. So fear comes and I have two choices: I can avoid what’s making me afraid or I can forge ahead. If I don’t forge ahead, I will, most likely, be more comfortable because I have taken myself out of the fear zone, but there is a price to be paid for that comfort. I may miss God. Ann said, Everything your Father has for you — is over the fence of fear. Travel in the direction of your fears — to let God direct your life.

Dr. Friedberg spent a half hour on the radio giving tips on how we can continue to move forward. First he told about a “fortunately-unfortunately” exercise he’s found useful when working with grade-school children and adolescents. You begin by saying, “Fortunately, [fill in the blank with whatever] for example “Fortunately we got to go to the ball game today.” The child responds, “Unfortunately, someone was sitting in our seats when we got there.” The adult says, “Fortunately, we looked for other seats, found them and the view was much better in the new seats.” The child responds, “Unfortunately, the people we had to sit by were very loud.” and then the parent comes back with “Fortunately…etc.  This exercise is such a practical way to teach a child to be thankful for and be thankful in each and every situation! How cool is that?!

Another exercise is called the Magic Shop. It is an imaginary factory where the child/adolescent can make anything s/he wants to make. At first the child may want to make concrete things, but at a certain moment they may say, “I’d like to make friends.” (if they have trouble making friends at school). The person playing the game will say, “Well how much are you willing to pay to get these friends?” The child has to think about it under the guidance of the adult. They may find themselves willing to “give up being right all the time, or willing to be bored attending another’s activity” etc. By deciding how to run their business, the child is learning strategies to meet his needs, whatever they are.

Finally, Dr. Friedberg spoke directly about anxiety and facing one’s fears. I was listening to this on the radio going to work and, frankly, I didn’t want to get to work till I heard the whole show. A mother called in saying how her son, who is a Senior in high school, is already worrying about going to college and if he’ll make friends, and what will his room mate be like and and and. He told his mother he never wanted his Senior year to end. She wanted to help him. Dr. Friedberg asked her to have him think about how he dealt with uncertain moments right now. She was to ask him what he did in uncertain moments when playing his sport. Reminding him that when he starts a game the outcome is uncertain and asking him how he deals with that. Talking about handling the unknown in everyday life can be helpful. What does he do when he can’t come up with the answer for a test question? Figuring out how we face our “little” fears every day can be insightful. We must be uncomfortable to grow. Avoidance is not the answer. Forging ahead is.

Learning to face my fears with my good friends at (in)courage with Ann,


6 comments on “Comfort is overrated

  1. Thank you, Dawn . . . with my new job start date just 2 days away, little fears are coming at me such as “it will be too hard for you”, “you have been out of work mode too long”, “you won’t remember how to do things” (bookkeeping, accounting software, etc.). God has already so shown His hand in my getting the job that it would be foolish of me to be in fear of losing it before I even start. “The LORD is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

    Pushing past the fear and giving thanks,
    Andrea Dawn

    • Oh my, Andrea Dawn, the fears running through your mind are the same fears I have had going through my mind this past week. Yesterday I sat with a twenty something young nurse who was flying around on the phone lines and keyboards and back and forth to the fax machines and to the file cabinets. It was a blur of activity AND she was a very good teacher, but I just felt I was too slow, too dumb, too old. BUT in the midst of it all several people came by and articulated exactly how I was feeling and told me they knew because they felt the exact same way when they first started. They were sent by God at just the right moment.

      He IS on your side,

  2. I tried to put a pic in here… Can’t do that on a reply.. I think. Sent it to your email. Excellent post, Dawn! I loved Ann’s list. Yep! We’ve all had to bite the bullet and face the fears. Wow! I’m sitting here thinking on some things that made me feel fearfull.. Yep… gotta go through it to get to the magic. Christ sweat blood in the Garden, but he did it anyway! For us! Pondering!

  3. I had to share your two games with Eduardo so he can have good healthy fun with his grade 5’s…. super ideas; He loved them; implimented can make all the difference for a joyous heart and a great outlook on life. God walks with us !
    We are never alone!
    hugs your way dear friend

  4. Dear Susan,

    I followed your pictures through your trip to Mexico. So fabulous! What a wonderful opportunity to see and “love on” all the elders and the young.

    I’m glad you passed these games on to Eduardo. He is in such a wonderful place to try them and the kids so so need such “attention” these days.

    I’m so happy you showed up here today. I have missed you. I must get down to the breakfast table we have much to do to ready ourselves for church. We have lunch with the people today so that’s a little extra prep.

    Praising as I go,

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