Deb. I am thrilled to have you on the show today to discuss so your new book embracing uncomfortable, facing our fears while pursuing our purpose. I love that subtitle so much. And so I'd love for you to start by sharing a little bit with listeners about your heart, for the book. Absolutely. And thanks so much for having me, you know, the book is probably a bit motivated by my own personal experience.
And then my work in, um, seeing clients I'm a clinical psychologist, but it really started, I think in my own life, I went through sort of a, uh, a family crisis about little over 10 years ago. Um, and it. Forced me to confront this false identity that I realized I was holding on to this idea of being the fixer and the problem solver in my family and my relationships and my community and how much that was playing out in my day to day decision-making.
And as I worked to kind of confront that, that lie that I was believing, it made me realize how much of my day to day was. Was really kind of seeking comfort that wasn't aligned with what was most important to me. And then of course, the more I saw that in my own life, the more I saw it in my clients. And so as I started this practice of embracing uncomfortable, I realized, I think a lot of people deal with this.
Maybe I could write about it. I love now when I talk to authors, which, you know, as a podcast or a lot of the people that you connect with are authors and I love. Talk it, but it's like, by the time you get somebody on the phone and to talk about their book, their message is so well developed that it just makes for such a fun conversation.
But what I find so often is just the commonality of author saying really, you know, this message is a. Well-worn lesson in my own life. And so as I kind of, I haven't read the entire book, but I got to skim it quite a bit over the weekend. Um, I was excited to just hear more of your story because I had assumed that that was true with this one as well.
So that's really fun. Um, so why do you think we so often choose quote I'm making air quotes comfortable and how do you believe that it's standing in the way of us living the life that we desire? Yeah. I, you know, I think most of the time, yeah, she's comfort. Cause we're just not really thinking about it.
We kinda make our day to day lives, go on autopilot and we get into these kind of habitual patterns of engaging with people and that's reinforced over time. And. What's interesting is if we really paused and looked back, like, look back on your day, look back on your week. Think about what's most important to you.
And how often did those decisions align with that? And so we're seeking like momentary comfort and safety, but the, at the expense of longterm contentment, And what my hope is for this message in the book is that we flip that, that we start really recognizing how those daily decisions may be uncomfortable because they may go, you know, they're, counter-cultural, especially for us as, as believers, as Christians.
Um, so often what we're called to do is not what the world does. We're not to live of the world. Right. And, um, but when we do that, I find that there's this greater sense of satisfaction because we're living congruent with what we value most. Yeah. Oh, that's so good. Have you read any of Michael Hyatts work?
Because a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Your message reminds me just a little bit of his, more in the sense of planning. So I know he has like a, I think it's called the full focus planner that I've, I've actually been looking at possibly ordering to move to that planner style, but really just at the core of it.
Um, being intentional about how you spend your time and just really taking inventory of that. It's almost like, you know, you start tracking your food and then you realize, gosh, I didn't know that all of that added up to a result that I really wasn't looking for in the first place. Like you're saying, I don't think we set out.
You know, we don't wake up each morning thinking, man, I just want to live a comfortable life today, you know, but we ended up choosing that slowly over time. So yeah, it just triggered me to think about Michael Hyatt. A lot of his stuff I think kind of goes in tandem with that message. So that's cool. Yeah.
So one of the quotes that I love that you say in the book is other people's expectations become our standard of living. And one day we find ourselves disappointed and discontented. Yeah. Let's talk about that a little bit. Let's talk about, uh, just other people's expectations. Why do you think we do this so often?
And how do we combat that? Oh, it's so hard, right? We do. I mean, I do this, you, you mentioned kind of reading through the book so much of what I talk about in the book is based on my own. Story and experience. And my hope in doing that is the other people feel validated and their encounters. And I struggle with this, like other people's expectations of me as a friend, as a daughter, as, as a professor, it's tough.
And, you know, I think it's because again, going back to this idea of where does our identity lie and how often do we intentionally connect. Or every day are my decisions based on my core identity, which for me, is being made in the image of God. Like that's it, nothing can change that. I can make a huge mistake and feel really disappointed in myself or feel embarrassed or feel ashamed.
But that doesn't mean that's my identity. And I think that's a big piece of it, right. Is reclaiming our identity and then allowing our emotions to be just that. And one of the things I talk about in the book is my experience with failure. And that was not easy to talk about, but it was important because I realized in that experience, I was allowing failure to be my identity versus being disappointed in my failures.
We would all fail. That's just a part of life. And, um, and so when we can actually say, okay, this is my core identity. I'm not going to allow other people to define me, however, how other people react to me is going to affect me. And I think that's key. We have to acknowledge it both. So, and that's that feeling piece?
Like if, if you, if I don't get that promotion or I'm in a huge, um, conflict with my spouse in a really unhealthy place in my marriage. It's going to affect me, but it doesn't have a bearing on my identity. And so as we start to really live out, according to our true identity, I think it gives us the courage to practice embracing uncomfortable.
Yeah. I love that. And it makes me think about, so have you taken the Enneagram. Yes. I love the Enneagram that he too. So, so, and I'm always clear when I talk about it. It is a tool. It is not the gospel. It is not an excuse to sin, but I have seen it in my own life. And even in my marriage to be just such a helpful tool to learn each other's motives behind, you know, kind of what drives us and.
I know for me. So I'm a three and, Oh, that's so fun. I love it. Three, two, and same here. And one of the things that, you know, you'll hear is for a three, a lot of times you will define yourself by what you do or by what you accomplish. Right. And so. You know, when you, when somebody asks you, you know, tell me a little bit about yourself immediately adjunct to, okay.
Here's what I do for a living. Here's what my ministry does and all the things. And you begin to kind of define yourself by what you've achieved versus your identity in Christ. And so that's a good, good reminder for me, because I think. Not only is that something that I battle in my own life, but I know, um, just based off the demographics of our listeners, we also have a lot of other achiever driven people.
And so this is just such a great message to tie back and really encourage that type of person with that type of heart. Now, I'm curious as you're riding, were there people in your life that really embraced. Embracing uncomfortable. Well, do you have people that maybe you look to in your life that maybe have modeled that well for you?
Yeah. You know, it's been so interesting cause I think in different seasons of my life, I see that play out quite a bit, you know? Um, of course I think for me, Like the, the, the best example. And I know this sounds a little cliche, but is I feel like Jesus, his ministry was so much about embracing uncomfortable, right?
Like everything he did was in stark contrast to what the cultural expectations were of the text. And it was motivated by his desire to. To draw people to him for their salvation, but to build this sense of community around love. Right. And so, I mean, that's, that's kind of my ultimate example. Um, I have a great relationship with my dad and he's listening to me record this podcast right now.
And, and, and, you know, I've seen him too. Yeah. Steps in embracing uncomfortable and, and. Respond out of humility and restoring relationships in his life. Um, I think about, you know, some of the things that we've encountered in the year 2020 of the global pandemic, and I think about teachers and, and, and healthcare workers and how they have really put aside, maybe some of the easier, more comfortable things for the sake of others.
Um, But, yeah, and for me, when I was writing the book, I mean, I have a tribe of close friends and family around me who have held me accountable in this whole process too. I mean, the hardest part about writing a book called embracing uncomfortable is you start to waver on something and somebody will inevitably tell you, well, Deb, you did write a book called embracing uncomfortable.
So you really can't get away with much, but you know, for me, yeah. Yeah. The key thing is those people that are not, it's not about not making mistakes, it's not about, um, you know, doing everything perfectly. It's those people that are, who are intentional and really stopping pausing and aligning their, their actions, their words, their relationships with what they say matters most to them.
It's it's that authenticity piece. Yeah, all of that definitely goes back to authenticity. And so there's an exercise that you have in the book that is so practical that I love to share with listeners. And so you recommend readers go through a process where they make a list of all the people, places, objects, and memories.
That are important when they consider the question, what is most important in my life, both now in the present and in the past. And I love kind of reading through yours and I'm excited to just take the time to do this myself, but tell the listeners what that experience was like for you. And what are some of the things on your list just to give them some examples.
Absolutely. This is one of those things where I, I believe we all have value and we all kind of have this vague big sense of what our values are. And I'm talking about core values. Like those things that really guide the gift, you were on a map, those are telling you what direction to go, to get to your destination.
Um, and so this exercise is really is exactly that is. Really thinking through. Okay. At the end of the day, what do you say is most important to you? And it's tough. I do do this to my students every year. I teach graduate school and they get real mad at me. Cause you write down everybody that's important to you.
Every memory, everything, um, every, every place. And then you start crossing things off the list and it does make you squirm. And the interesting thing is, you know, it's, it's. It's not a real exercise. I'm not actually telling you, like eliminate this person from your life and never have any contact with them again.
But yeah, it's designed to see like what, at its core, something you are not willing to sacrifice. Yeah. And, you know, I think we live in a culture of excess. And so we hold on to all these things and then we can't actually live according to our values because there's too much that we value. So, um, for me, it was tough.
You know, the exercise is tough. It, it, it brings a sense of discomfort, but at the end of the day, it helped me really hone in on what, what are my five core values. And I list them in the book. I'll share them with you another. So number one is Jesus. And just for me, that's an everything. Jesus represents.
Number two is relationship and it was, it was key for me to label my value as relationship and not just family, because a lot of them, my family, so to speak is my closest friends. Um, My, my extended family is, is far beyond just my blood family. And then, um, wisdom. I love to read. I love to, to gain knowledge.
I love to read scripture that authenticity is big and then purpose. And I see those things play out every day in my life. Um, and you'll see. So I wrote in the book, some of the things that. Exemplified that. Right. Um, so certainly family popped up on my list of people that were important to me, places that reminded me of experiences, where I was either able to learn and grow in knowledge or gain deeper understanding of Jesus and his word.
Um, Yeah. So I loved being able to put that into the book and I hope it's something that's practical that people can use to really identify what, what is most important to them? Cause that's also key is I don't want people to read the book and say, okay, my five values are jesus' relationship with them, authenticity, purpose.
I want them to really figure out what is, what, what are their core values that are unique to who God created them to be? Yeah, that's an important thing to really, I think the vocabulary too. I think a lot of us, I mean, probably have some idea and I fall in the same realm as those five core values, but I remember going through an exercise in a leadership class once where it was sort of, it was sort of like a word bank.
Like it was a word bank of all of these, you know, value you type words. And you had to pick like your top. 10 or something like that. And then you somehow whittled it down to five and it was really interesting to just like take time out and really think about like, wow, what really ultimately matters to me most.
And I need to go back and find that I'd be curious and I'd like to go through it again. So another thing that I love to talk about is the difference between comfort and contentment. I think that can be a tricky, fine line for people. And so I'd love to talk about the difference between the two and why does that matter?
Yeah, yeah. To me. And this is kind of how I conceptualize it. I don't know if it's the exact, you know, a dictionary version, but when I think about comfort, it's about kind of perhaps even like a false sense of safety. Um, and, and I don't want to say comfort. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a, we use comforting.
Right. And so I think comfort can be a way almost, maybe even an excuse for us to. Um, avoid doing the difficult things that do align with our core values. Whereas contentment, I believe is more of a discipline. Yeah. And so like, even when I think about scripture and I think that this idea of like pursuing contentment or seeking contentment, I think it's a, it's a state of mind that we have to discipline ourselves to, but something that, um, You know, it is yeah.
Paul who says I choose to be content in all circumstances. And if there is somebody in the Bible that had every right to be discontent, I mean, it was Paul, the guy was in prison. The guy was shipwrecked. The guy was, you know, homeless. Um, but he chose to be content. And I think that's, you know, I think going back to this idea of water values, I don't know anybody in, in my years of working with clients and my years of interacting with people who have said, you know, money is my core values.
Now, there are some people for whom, you know, financial stability is important, but so when you think about it, like if I'm learning to be content in my circumstances and we have control over very little in our lives, then I think it's this discipline in our state of mind, which then influences how we interact with other people.
So it's like I could even be, you know, having a horrible day. And if I'm called the glorify God in all that I say and do, and I go to the coffee shop and I'm in a terrible mood. Until I tell a story similar to this in my book. And the lady in front of me is, you know, taking her sweet time and keeping me behind and I'm running late.
I can, I can react poorly in a situation like that. I can, I can react out of what I would say is a false sense of comfort of like, let me be mean to her and show her because my time is important, right. Or I can say, okay, what does it look like to be content in this situation? Even if I'm going to be late, even if I'm frustrated.
Um, and I think that's saying, okay, I'm going to radically accept my circumstances and respond according to how I want to align with my values. Yeah, that's good. It really is a choice too, like you said, and, and that's hard, you know, on hard days, hard. Especially at the time where this recording will come out.
Yeah. It's during the holidays. And I think arguably that could be a time each year in our lives that it is. Even though it's joyful. It is sometimes hard S to be contentment or to be content when we're spending a lot of time with extended family. And sometimes that's not as easy as we would think to, as we would like to imagine it is.
And, um, there's a lot of stress there, but really each day we do, you know, it's such a good reminder that we do have the choice to be content, to show kindness. Um, to let pizza roll our hearts, like all those promises and it's in times like this, that we really have to apply those, you know, those truths in scripture.
So, so true. Well, and I think too, like during the holidays, that's like a huge time for people to compare, right? I mean, we're, we're forced fed exactly what the holidays are supposed to look like by the media and for people who struggle with broken family relationships or financial hardships, or, you know, any other thing that I think is.
Counter to what the media and what popular culture is telling us the holiday should look like. It's so easy to slip into display in those moments and, you know, emphasize these aren't easy things to apply. Um, I mean, you, you write a book called embracing. It kind of is obvious from the title. Okay. This is not going to be an easy book to read, but I did a podcast recently with somebody and they gave me what I.
It was a really generous compliment. I felt like they said, you know, the book is hard, absolutely putting these, these tools into places that is not something that you can just kind of do with the snap of a finger, but it's kind of like the message is kind. And so, you know, I just, as, as you think about, you know, in the middle, so the hustle and bustle of these days, um, These tools are so important and we can put them in place in our lives in a way that's generous and humble and kind to ourselves, but also with a byproduct of, Hey, I'm, I'm going to feel a greater sense of, of contentment in the long run because, and to live, according to my values, even though in the moment, it was really difficult to do.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So there's a question that I ask every guest that comes on the show, and I'm super excited to ask you. Everybody has a very different answer. And that is what is the best piece of advice that you think you've ever been given? Oh, the best piece of advice I've ever been given.
Honestly, I think. Probably from my parents growing up was to always live authentic to who God created me to be. And, um, and you know, I think the circles that I've, that, that God has allowed me to walk in. Um, that's not always easy to do, but at the end of the day, so affirming of my identity and, um, And just, you know, giving me a sense of peace in the midst of challenges that God has put me here and that he has created me with my, you know, my Enneagram threeness for, for a purpose.
And so, yeah, I would say that that's probably the greatest piece of advice I've been given. I love it. I love it. That's so good. So I am thrilled to have embracing uncomfortable, be a part of our 12 books of Christmas this season. And what we're doing for each one of these episodes is we're asking the guest.
What is the best, most favorite Christmas tradition that you have. So I'm so excited for you to share that with listeners. I loved this question. I'm so excited to share it, so, okay. So every year at Christmas, we from like, As early as I can remember, my dad would create a treasure hunt for like your gift.
Like the one gift, you know, you'd been hoping to get, or like whatever was considered like the gift. And, you know, over the years it got harder and harder and harder. Like almost to the point where we're like, this is absurd. It makes no sense, but he would create this. So that was like the thing we'd have to go and hide and we would get so excited about that.
And now there's grandkids in the family. And so the treasure hunt has, has, is no longer for the kids. It's not for the grandkids, but to get to see it a carried on, but to see how excited that they are. And it reminds me of those days when I was a kid and I was just like, I cannot wait for the treasure hunt and now they they're doing that.
And it's really fun to see it carried on to their generation. That's so cool. So do you do it on Christmas morning? We did at Christmas, we had to wait. So that's the harder part too. So like we opened some guests, we have breakfast together. Um, we usually, you know, we have a devotion together and then at some time later on in the afternoon, so there's also that piece of like, Oh man, when do we get to do the treasure hunt?
And we want to do it now. So especially like my nephews, they have a real hard time. They're like treasure hunt. Why are we doing the treasurer thing? It is like an expected part of Christmas every year. I love it. I've never heard of doing that Christmas. I've done a little treasure hunts for like different birthdays and stuff before, but that's fun.
I really like it's, it's amazing. I love hearing everybody's different traditions. It's so fun to like get ideas from other people. And I I'm such, I just, I love Christmas. I love that time of year, so I can't wait for one it to be a little cooler and, um, to just enjoy. Time like that. So that's so fun. Yeah.
Well, been so much fun to have you on. I am so excited about the message of this book and I, I'm just excited for listeners to hear about it, to check it out and have the opportunity to win a copy of it throughout our giveaway that we're doing throughout the 12 books of Christmas. So listeners, make sure you go enter that if you have not already.
And before we sign off, tell listeners a little bit about where they can find you and connect with you and all that good stuff. Absolutely so they can get the book anywhere. You can buy books, Amazon, all those fun places. They can find me, um, gorton.com. Uh, I'm the same doctor, Deb Gorton or Deb Gorton on social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and I also created a community around the book.
So a big, big part of my message is we have to do this together. And so if you don't feel like you have the encouragement and support or you want more resources embracing uncomfortable.com, we've got all kinds of stories and ways to connect there over the message of the book. Cool. I love it. That's so exciting.
Well, thank you so much for being my guest today. Thanks for having me.