By Lexiann Grant For the Episcopal Cafe and Journal
“The discomfiture we feel may be our most accurate human sensation; reminding us we are not quite “at home” here. — C.S. Lewis
In his novel “Anxious People” Scandinavian author Fredrik Backman writes about how life hurts sometimes simply because we don’t feel like we belong in our own “skin,” that it doesn’t feel like it is ours.
We are often so uncomfortable in our own skins that we want to crawl out of them like a shedding snake.
Because we don’t feel we belong. Because we are uncertain about being where we are, or doing what we’re doing.
Because we are not at home within ourselves.
Some of us may point fingers and blame other people, while others chalk it up to fate or the universe. A few may be introspective enough to understand when our choices place us in a specific situation. Regardless we still don’t want to be us, within it.
Whatever our circumstance, we need to realize that either God put us where we are or will use us where and as we are. We are who we’re supposed to be, where we’re needed, like it or not, discomfited or not.
As a guide to those seeking to become comfortable within their own skin without numbing their reality, “The Big Book” of Alcoholic’s Anonymous advises, “…acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find…— some fact of my life — unacceptable to me. I can find no serenity until I accept that person (including myself??), place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment…nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.” *1
Acceptance might seem easier said than done. But Paul in his letter to the Romans suggests how:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him [Christ] who gives me strength.”
So … get comfy in your “skin.” It is not ours anyway; it is on loan from God.
Wear it. Move forward. Do what is in front of you. Turn it over, accept it.
Give thanks for having a life with doubts that provides an opportunity to do God’s work.
*1 excerpt from “The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg 417, 4th edition.
Parenthetical inserted text is mine.
Lexiann Grant is a retired writer & author, a former chalicer and layreader, but still an Episcopalian who enjoys encountering God in the mountain backcountry.