That unsettled feeling of uncertainty is something that comes over everyone at one time or another, and creeps up again and again over the course of your life . Maybe you are just entering a new phase of life – you just graduated from college, got married, became a mom, or retired. Maybe you are going through a career change, a layoff at work, an unexpected financial burden, a breakup, a divorce, or a riff with a family member or friend.
Whatever the situation is for you, something you once leaned on, relied on, is no longer there, and you are faced with a choice – are you going to give into the stress and worry that are anxiously awaiting to cloud your thought, or are you going to trust?
Walking Toward A Giant Question Mark
This is the best way I can describe my current life stage. I am a person who loves stability, budgets, and 10-year-plans, but two and a half years ago, I got divorced. My happy little life plan was flipped upside down and those treasured dreams of being a wife and a mom have turned into large, looming question marks. Will I get married again? Will I find a man to share my life, my faith, my hopes, and my dreams? Will I ever be a mom? Sure there is potential for those things to happen, but it’s not certain by any means.
Then earlier this year, I left the career I have invested my last 8 years into. I walked away from 8 years of a steady, predictable income, and decided to start my own health coaching business, which, again has just opened a whole new world of questions. Can I make a living on health coaching alone? Should I teach group fitness classes? How can I best help people get healthier with my experience, time, & strengths?
Even as I write this post, I’m sitting in the car dealership for the third time in three weeks. My four-year-old car has decided that now is the time to start falling apart, so the transmission had to be replaced, the battery died, and now the door latch is being replaced (and let me tell you, that was an unnerving drive to the dealership with my door held closed only by my hand). As the repairs add up and the charges keep increasing, the questions come flooding in. Do I need to sell the car before it dies completely? How many other things are going to need to be fixed soon? Will I be able to afford it all?
Most of the time, I just wish I could have all of the answers immediately, skipping all of this uncomfortable in-between space of waiting, seeking, uncertainty. I want to skip straight to the results. I want to jump immediately to all of the things that I imagine will bring me that security and assurance and comfort.
But what if there is a greater purpose in the journey? What if, instead of seeing just the squirming and uneasiness, we were able to see opportunity in uncertainty?
Worry or Trust?
We usually don’t have much of a choice when uncertainty settles in. Life happens, time moves on (whether we are ready or not), and situations beyond our control shove us into that place where we have a choice – are you going to worry or trust?
- You can hold onto the things you wish were true or the things that used to be true with a death grip, trying to force them to become a part of your current reality.
- You can stress and worry about the what ifs and the could happens, dreaming up sequels of worst case scenarios (I sure have a bookcase full of those gems!).
- You can let that fear in, letting it destroy your hope, your dreams, and your purpose.
you can choose to trust. While worry consumes you without any effort on your part, trust requires you to make a conscious choice.
- It’s an opportunity to give yourself permission to be fallibly human and shift that heavy weight off of your shoulders. You know, the one that tells you that you are in this alone and everything rests on your shoulders and your actions.
- It’s a decision to remember that you serve an omnipotent God who has an infinite view of every single piece of your life and your heart, and who desires nothing but the best for you. He’s got you.
- It’s a choice to stay present, even when that present place is uncomfortable. It’s not staying stuck in the past and also not flinging yourself forward into an unknown future.
Trust doesn’t mean you stay stagnant. It’s a dynamic process of focusing on the things you can do more than the things you can’t, and releasing those can’ts into the hands of a Heavenly Father that happens to work especially well in our weakness.
Trust is not knowing how God will provide for your urgent needs, but knowing that He absolutely will.
Give It Time
It’s not an instant result. This is not a Polaroid picture that develops in 30 seconds before your very eyes. It’s a process, uncurling your fingers from those things you most want to control, but in reality know that you can’t. And sometimes as soon as you make progress in releasing things, another wave of fear bowls you over and you grab back on again, grasping to regain some semblance of control.
Just keep working at it (and show yourself some grace in the process!). Keep interrupting worry with Truth. Truth always wins in the end.
Bombard Your Mind With Truth
- You can’t see the whole picture.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
– 2 Corinthians 4:18
- There is joy, even in trials. Keep growing, keep going, keep looking for it.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
– James 1:2-4
- Worry accomplishes nothing good.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
– Philippians 4:6
- He’s got you. He’s with you, now & always.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
– Isaiah 43:2
- God works powerfully in your weakness.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
- He has greater plans for you, even if you can’t see them yet.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
– Jeremiah 29:11
In whatever uncertainty you are facing in your life right now, which path are you going to choose – worry or trust?