Dealing with Uncertainty
It seems that for many people doubt and uncertainty are a constant source of stress and anxiety. For people with clinical level mental health issues but also for those without, uncertainty and doubt form and undercurrent within their daily lives which can seem intolerable.
Life has never been safer and in a sense the future for most of us has never been more secure, yet it seems that doubt and uncertainty have not dissipated in our society, they have merely changed their focus. In medieval times people lived with the constant fear of ravaging hoards that may destroy their villages and steal their crops. Today many people live with uncertainty about jobs, finances, relationships, health, social acceptance and many other issues.
It appears that uncertainly and doubt will always be with us in this fallen and broken world. Any sort of a search for absolute security leads people deeper into isolation and fear. What must be done then in order that we can live a ‘Full Life’ (John 10:10)?
It is evident that we need to become better at tolerating doubt and uncertainty rather than attempting to escape it. View doubt and uncertainly as a spider in the room. If you run away from it you will continue to live in fear, but if you stay with it and wait through your ‘worst case scenarios’ eventually you will relax and be able to tolerate its presence. Try to embrace every doubt and moment of uncertainty as an opportunity to hone your skills in acceptance and flexibility.
Our faith in God has also got something really important to say about this intolerance to uncertainty: Trust in God is the most fundamental tenant of our faith. It is in trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are saved. Trust by its very nature requires the toleration of uncertainty on the basis that we have an assurance beyond all that life might throw at us. PS 125:1 "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”
There are shaking uncertainties in our minds and in the realities of our lives, but ultimate trust in God offers us a deeper security that cannot be undermined. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” This is essential wisdom in dealing with uncertainly. The worst way to deal with it is to use your ‘own understanding,’ that is to get stuck in endless ruminations arguing back and forth about what could or could not happen. Trust in the Lord is about abandonment of our own reason, the absorption of compelling anxiety and the determination to rest in the omnipotence of God.
Will Van Der Hart, 20/05/2010