Uncertainty is something that’s always going to be there for us as humans. We can’t know what we’ll know until we walk through the experiences leading up to them. We can only know what we know, and see what we see from today. Sure, God knows the ending and can see how everything will unfold and weave together and workout, but we have only this moment and only the experiences leading up to it.
I think I spent way too long of my life trying to figure everything out before it’s time. Trying to speculate if relationships will last, if jobs will last, if health will change, if there will be enough… if… if… if. And the truth is we don’t know the if. We only know the moment. We know the present facts, the feelings, and that God’s with us, but we can’t know the future until it happens. That’s life.
Naturally as humans made in God’s image we have a bent to want order over chaos – hence the trying to calm the unknowns of life with certainties – even certainties about the future. But knowing the future is way more than I think we were made to manage as humans. That’s why worry feels so stressful. We were never meant to hold tomorrow’s weight along with today.
As Jesus said (who is the original teacher in mindfulness if you ask me):
Today asks very little of us when we boil it down. Yes, there are many things within our responsibility and within our management: bills to pay, people to love and interact with, jobs to be completed, health to be cared for, and on and on. But piling the needs of tomorrow on this already need-filled day is just too much for one little person to bear. It just is.
So how then can we step away from this future-obsessing mental habit and become present again? How can we allow God to take care of our “unknowns” while we live in the known, the now, and yet still be aware of them?
I think those are very complex questions to wrestle with, and I don’t have the answers figured out, but gratefully there are a few things God’s been teaching me lately that have been part of the answers in my heart.
First: You cannot know until you know. I’ve been repeating this like a mantra!
You cannot know until you know. So stop trying! Easier said than done right? Yet even if I can’t stop trying right away, the simple act of realizing I’m trying to “preemptively know” is the first step to helping this worry-bent-habit heal. Once I realize what I’m doing, I can then pray and trust God will help me take those future steps when they come. It’s not that I am no longer aware of future concerns and scary unknowns, it’s that I am now aware of them and can then allow them to be with me and with God.
Second: We can trust God will give us the wisdom we need in the moment we need it.
And maybe the fact that we don’t have the wisdom for a choice or struggle deep on our hearts today, could simply mean we are not ready to choose or take a step about it.
After realizing the worry, I lay the unknown in front of God, ask for the wisdom I need and trust He’s giving it to me right when I need.
Trusting God with the future, is two fold. It also requires we also trust ourselves to move ahead, trusting that we have the wisdom we need for today and will have the wisdom we need for tomorrow too. Rest in His provision. It doesn’t mean we won’t mess up (again… we are human!). But it means God gave us this gift of free will, so He trusts us enough to live our lives into the unknowns… why wouldn’t we also?!
Third: “What is your one?“ What is the one thing today, right now, that you can do?
Rob Bell recently published a book (which I devoured in two days. Yea.. I know! It resonated that much.) and I love the way he puts this concept of not worrying about things out of your control but living. This phrase came from that book.
That small phrase, what is your one, has helped me remember that we truly can only live moment by moment. We can’t 100% plan for how we will handle step 17, 18, or 19 of our lives because life may change drastically before we even get there and the steps would have to be totally different to move ahead at that point anyway! All we can do is the one step, the step right in front of us. And then the next one, and then the next one.
So lets breathe deep. Let’s start to love the questions in life because life is a wild ride of living by faith, seeing God work by giving us wisdom as needed (which is itself a gift so we must stay in close contact with Him!).
Realize the unknown, let it be there, pray, trust, take one step.
Let’s be daring authors of these beautifully unique lives, living through them each moment as they unfold, now with more present beauty, peace, and hope then they’ve ever had before!
You got this. God’s got this. Let’s be excited to see how all this works out!
Extra Musings and Random Thoughts
The photo above is some art on my kitchen table. Nothing may happen with it, but I’ve been enjoying it’s color. Sometimes that’s how creativity is – you need to try and try and paint and paint and not everything ends up being “useful” or appreciated by anyone but you. Like this blog post, all you can do is the next stroke in a painting, and the next, and the next, and let go of the outcome.
Rob Bell’s book is called How to Be Here. If you like my blog, you will like this book I think. It’s everything I resonate with! Living by faith, mindfully, creatively, contemplatively and being your uniquely created self boldly and joyfully in the world!
My ryer broke this week – womp womp – just another example of how you wouldn’t be able to plan for the next steps of life until they happen. Looking forward to having a new one!
I’m thrilled to have been asked to be a part of Dr. Henry Cloud’s launch team for his upcoming book The Power of The Other! Stay tuned for some of his wisdom from that book when it arrives 🙂 Can’t wait to read it!