Uncertainty feels so uncertain.
When Charlottesville, Virginia, happened, any certainty in the story we tell ourselves about how advanced, cultured, and so beyond this we are shifted like an amorphous black entity blocking out the sun.
The thing about uncertainty is it freezes our brain. It causes more stress than a certain outcome, whether positive or negative. (source) For a time, we get stuck in fear. Even if we know the end result will be bad, physiologically we feel less anxiety than when we don’t know what’s next.
Recently I heard a speaker say we put people in categories because we default to a cultural narrative we tell ourselves: some are in and some are out. As people of faith, our job is to step through barriers which relegate people to other.
He was saying, walk directly into uncertainty.
Do What Exactly?
Carolina Cisneros wrote how she lay on the floor after the incident and asked God, “What do you want me to do?” That’s a steep question: it involves stripping ourselves of ego and reputation. It means commiting to relationship, service, and love, even if it fails.
Uncertainty feels (ahem) so uncertain.
What I find interesting is prolonged uncertainty can help us become better discerners and decision makers. We learn to distrust our ability to control. We make wiser choices because we trust the source of all knowledge and experience. For Christians, this is God Himself.
God’s wisdom is so deep, God’s power so immense,
who could take him on and come out in one piece?
He moves mountains before they know what’s happened,
flips them on their heads on a whim.
He gives the earth a good shaking up,
rocks it down to its very foundations.
He tells the sun, ‘Don’t shine,’ and it doesn’t;
he pulls the blinds on the stars. Job 9:10-12 (MSG)
An Exercise To Get a Grip
When you’re faced with uncertainty, do a reality check. Ask, what’s the worst case scenario? What’s the best? A spectrum of sorts. What is most likely to happen? Usually, it will be something in the middle. When we have a better grip on reality, we can trust God in the places we don’t understand. We can move beyond ourselves.Tweet This
Uncertainty raises our stress levels, but it also gives us the ability to be better judges of the places we might just need to be:
- In scary spaces, like racism, we can be bold voices for equality.
- In unending disaster, like Hurricane Harvey, we can give excessively.
- In places we may feel an outsider, maybe church or our own neighborhoods, we can be the first to say, “Hey, how’s it going?”
How do we step into places of prolonged uncertainty? We get a grip and we do. Like Carolina Cisneros. She wrote a post about her own experience with racism. She stepped into the unknown, equipped and empowered to lean into this place where her words influence.
What does God want you to do in your current uncertainty? I can only answer for myself. I start with doubting my doubts (which we’ll talk about next week) and asking God, “What do you want me to do?” I start by crossing lines, stepping out of categories. I’m so beyond this.
What’s Next? is a series to help us discover joy in uncertain times. Join us during September for stories, challenge, questions, and community.
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What helps you live into God’s reality rather than your own?