Can there be a gift in fussiness?

2014-04-26 17.46.30By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at

Have you ever had it happen, when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and have no idea why you’re in a funk? Try as you might to suppress these uncomfortable feelings they still manage to sneak their way into your interactions of the day and you just feel crabby and off.

This happened to me recently. I had no idea where it came from or why, but I suddenly had an “issue” I needed to deal with. And, somehow trying to ignore it just makes it bigger.

So, I looked back into the mirror, not knowing how I got to this place or how to get out. The prayer is simply, “Help.”

Once I stop fighting it and look with honesty at myself the internal fussiness starts to mellow. Funny, but somehow, once I acknowledge it and look at it head on, it dissipates. It’s that little nudge reminding me that I’ve got work to do, reminding me I’m not in control and growth doesn’t happen on my time schedule. Hello, Life! Hello, Spiritual Guidance!

With the Light shining I can see this is the old worthiness issue or the old whatever issue. I can accept it and, with a little more understanding and care for myself, move on, thankful for this humbling little gem.

These little moments force us to live the realness of life, stepping outside our rote behavior to look at the truth. One more reminder that we don’t walk this way alone.


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10 years ago

Ah, Stephanie,
I too have lived this, and you articulate it so well.

Some years ago, I even discovered what one “issue” of mine stems from. There are precious few photos of me as a child. The youngest shows me on my grandmother’s porch with a fussy expression, munching on what looks to be a small bag of potato chips. I remember trips to that house. The house was always dark (layers of curtains) which is likely why the photo was taken on the porch. There were always lots of people and lots of things one mustn’t touch. No doubt this was the end of the day and I was tired, hungry, and lonely in the midst of the crowd of adults. That photo has revealed to me how much, even as a young child, I needed care and freedom and quiet spaces.

Whenever I find myself in a place of fussiness, I think of that little child’s expression, which always reminds me to slow down, eat well, be gentle with myself, and most of all to open freely to solitude and the deep refreshment of silent presence.

I make spaces like this for my grandchildren.

10 years ago
Reply to  June

Thank you, June, for this great image and lesson.

Marci A. Turner
Marci A. Turner
10 years ago

Thank you for this great insight. I needed to read this today. With God’s help, I move on and grow. 🙂


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