How to face uncertainty

What happens when you linger, mid-air, atop the step of change?  What do you do when you know that change is ahead, but you do not see where it is leading?  How do you find certainty of exactly what to do next?  I suppose the safest answer is that you just wait…patiently…  But this doesn’t really resolve the uncertainty, does it?

Here are four principles to help you through the process.

1) Know who you are 

Facing the uncertainty of the next step of your journey becomes a lot easier when there is a certainty within yourself of who you are.  Although what we do and how we view life changes, during the different seasons of our lives, the truth about who we are, remains constant.

2) Know where you’re going

This has probably been one of the most difficult things for me to figure out.  Not necessarily because I’m uncertain of what I’ve been called for, but rather because there are SO many possibilities and ways to reach those goals or voice my specific message.

As a creative, no matter how many projects you have lined up, the point remains that if there is certainty about what you are supposed to do, then that is what you should do.  Whichever way you look at it, the process remains very daunting.  Because, if you are anything like me, you have at least 20 new ideas of things to pursue, every single day!

So, how do you know where to go from here?  You look for certainty amidst the uncertainty of your next step.  And here’s the secret:  It’s easier to find than you might have thought.

3) Find certainty

Finding certainty never goes without the doubt.  However contradicting this might sound, I believe that we all need a certain amount of doubt to help us push through the uncertainty of taking the next step.  Having said that, I also know that the manner in which we find certainty greatly depends on our personality.

Our personality greatly influences the way we process information and make decisions.  Everyone has different processes to find that certainty and there seem to be three general questions that we all need to answer, during this process.  These include:

  • Finances involved.
  • Timeline of the specific step you plan to take and the implementation thereof.
  • Effect on your family.

And in this journey of answering these questions, there are three important parts:

  1. The role of the Realist
  2. Reflecting
  3. Praying

1) The role of the Realist

Taking the three questions we need to answer into consideration, it is a great idea to bounce our thoughts and plans (and possible outcomes), with the realist in our family or inner circle.  They have an amazing ability to see loopholes and possible dangers that we might not see.

In my case, this person is my husband.  And, no matter how difficult the conversation might be or how much we may disagree on certain points, it always gives me more clarity and perspective in the process of finding certainty in what I should do next.

Bottom line, don’t dismiss or be offended by, the opinions of the realists in your inner circle.

2) Reflect

Another way to finding certainty is to look back over your life and find consistent patterns.  With this I mean to look for things that:

  • you liked to do.
  • you found yourself doing, without really thinking about it.
  • people have said you are good at.

This all helps with the process of clarifying whether or not this next step will align with the bigger purpose and calling on your life.  If it does not align at all, you should think about it carefully before moving forward.  And that is why the next step is so crucial…

3) Prayer

Prayer seems to be one of those controversial topics.  There are so many ways to interpret prayer and how it works, that it is really difficult to find a conclusive, clear-cut understanding of prayer.

With that being said prayer is also deeply personal.  And it is best to find your own unique way of communicating with God.  When we are looking for certainty for the next step to take on our life journey, prayer is none negotiable.

The tricky thing about prayer is that you do not always find a clear answer.  However, this should never be a reason for you not to pray.  I’ve found that when you really pray about things you will find a sense of peace or unease within yourself.  And this sense of peace is something that only you can be certain of.

Then, there is the power of communal prayer – asking others to pray with you.  Especially when you stand before a very big decision, knowing that others are praying for you is very helpful and encouraging.  Combining what you hear and feel with what they heard or experienced about that particular situation, often forms a clearer perspective on what to do next.

4) Act in faith

And then, after all of this, you just have to go for it.  If you feel (with some degree of certainty after your discussions with the realist in your inner circle) and have peace about moving forward into the unknown – then do it.  I always think that

it is better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all

With that, I’m not saying that you should make irrational decisions.  I just know that when you have gone through all of these steps and have put some serious thought into what the outcome might be, you need to act.

Acting also sometimes imply doing nothing.  And this is probably the most difficult thing to do.  However, if you do not have peace about what the next step you need to take should be, don’t take it.

Not doing anything after you have,

  • consulted with other people,
  • reflected on the effects this will have on you and your family,
  • prayed about it,

is often the best way of acting in faith.  Because that act of faith often allows space for something completely different to open up.

And then, after working through these processes, you will find that making difficult decisions about the next uncertain steps in your life, is not that difficult.

What has your greatest challenge been during this process?


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