Coping with Uncertainty

uncertainty pink spring tree flowers cherry blossoms

Uncertain times. Uncertain, ambiguous, undetermined, indefinite, unpredictable, unknown, uncertain. Uncertain is the word I seem to hear most often these days from the news to Sunday’s sermons, to the clients in my office. Or the clients not in my office because of—uncertainty. Is it safe, will I be exposed to something, what if…?

Should I even be in my office? Maybe not. That’s why I’m getting set up to do as much as possible by phone or video. 

None of us like uncertainty. Even those who crave adventure and pursue extreme sports have a pretty good idea of how things will turn out, what is in their control and what is not. 

Aaah. That’s it. That’s what we all hate. The feeling of having no control. Don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week, or a month from now. Many of the routines and distractions we have built into our lives are suddenly on hold. Maybe gone forever? No school, no sports, no tourism, no plane flights? No office to go to, no job, no work. That’s the scary thought. What if life is never “normal” again? What if the economy totally collapses and we are back to 2008 or 1929? What if, heaven forbid, we or someone we love becomes seriously ill or even dies? What if…. 

In ordinary times I often tell anxious clients to turn what ifs on their heads and ask what if…it all works out, you get the job, the party goes off beautifully, you get all your work in on time, your marriage thrives? In short what if everything turns out fine? Both the negative and positive what ifs are unknown and you will be much calmer, able to think more clearly and make better decisions if you focus on the positive possibilities. 

In ordinary times and in this time, we will benefit from thinking rationally and making the best choices possible. Then all we can do is wait and see, pray and hope for the best. When anxiety strikes, notice it, acknowledge it and let it pass through. Repeat with each anxious thought. Don’t jump on board and ride the train to whatever destination your anxious thoughts might take you.

And remember this. All is certainly not right in the world just now, but God is in his heaven. And here as well. God has not abandoned the human race. Or you. Or me. Hold on to that thought. Faith is what you practice when feelings tell you to give up or give in, facts seem stacked against you. As Hebrews 11 says, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Substance and evidence. That’s what we need. 

When you just have to get out of the house try taking a walk in your neighborhood and noticing, really noticing everything around you. Spring is in full bloom in the Carolinas and you are sure to see flowering trees, tender green leaves, intensely green grass, birds, squirrels, cats, and dogs. It will lift your spirits and give you something to be grateful for. God’s in his heaven and some things are still right in the world.

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