We love control. You love it, I love it – I would say it’s a strong part of our culture. We plan and control our days on our iPhone calendars, our meetings with detailed agendas, our home life with to-do lists and planning tools – we want to control every aspect of life. Not only that but we have moved to a culture of life coaches and leadership coaches – we pick our end goal and we make it happen – we love control, and control is not always a bad thing.
But I also think that there are times that God wants to send us some subtle and not-so subtle reminders that we are not the ones that are in control, but He is. I think there are times where we look up and realize that we are living in the murkiness and things are no longer clear. We may have planned and been strategic, but every once in a while we wake up, realize that things are not clear and we have to live in the murky water.
I think for people my age it is often career driven. We start asking, “is that what I want to do for the rest of my life, is this what I want to pour my energy into?” then we start the soul-searching that leads to unclear thoughts. But for others it is life decisions – “Do I adopt?”, “Do we start a family?” “Do I move my family.” For others there are times of financial murkiness – “Do I start this new business to chase after my dreams?”, “Should I buy a new home and sell my current home?” Whatever the circumstance, we all have moments where we live in murky waters – where we find ourselves very unclear about what to do next.
For me, living in the murky waters is not fun – It is not something that I enjoy at all, as I am typically one who wants to know the big picture at all times. But God has taught me a lot when I have lived through the unclear times. In all the frustration and all of the questioning, I really learn that I can depend on God and trust him for clarity at the right time. During these time, I have also found some things that help me to find a little clarity:
- Seek wise council – I feel like my generation misses this a lot, as any good 25 year old thinks they have it all figured out, but trust me – people who are older are typically much more wise as they have been in your shoes. Find someone who have lived through similar experiences and have a cup of coffee with them – ask questions and get advise. I personally try to find 3 types of council:
- Someone from my past who knows where I have been
- Someone who is spiritually more wise than me
- Someone in my “field of murkiness” – work, school, personal, etc.
- Read – When things are not clear for me, I try to read from people who have had to make decisions when things are murky. You see this a lot from both business and political writings – as most decisions that are made in these realms are made with a lot of missing information.
- Journal and Dialogue – for me I cannot process well by simply thinking through a problem, but I need to verbalize it or journalize it. For me, getting the options out of my mind and into the world help me hear them differently and help to lead to better decisions and outcomes.
- Pray – I personally believe that God will reveal himself to those who pray and ask and that he will make things clear in the right timing. For me, the best thing about living in murky waters is that my prayer life and dependence on my heavenly father increase greatly. Spend time with the one who give you life – I bet if he gives it he can help make it clear as well.
Living life without knowing what is next is tough – but the greatest decisions and milestones in life also come from the depths of the murky waters. So, hang in there, push through and trust that in time the waters will become clear for you.
What helps you find clarity when things are unclear?