Uncertainty will be with you all your life; here's how to handle it
Uncertainty is the only thing you can be sure of in these unsettled times.
As I write this, the world's economy is in a shambles, millions of people are unemployed, millions more are worrying about their job, and at least four wars are raging. Is there any way to have peace in a climate like this?
It's easy to worry. Worrying seems to come naturally to us, but it rarely accomplishes much besides getting you more upset. I can testify to that because I've done more than my share of worrying in my life and 95 percent of it was a waste of time and energy.
Accepting uncertainty as inevitable
Some people are more prone to anxiety than others. I have a friend who doesn't seem to be happy unless he's worrying. Often he's not even sure what he's worrying about. He just has this feeling that something bad is going to happen. Over time, that can wreck your health as well as your outlook on life. It's no way to live.
If you follow the news, you know that uncertainty seems to be the way of the world today. Something unexpected happens every day. There's always some sort of disaster or catastrophe. With satellite coverage and the Internet, we can hear about bad news minutes after it happens. That wasn't possible years ago, so maybe we're just better informed about these things than we used to be.
By accepting that these unexpected events are inevitable, you will gain power over them. They will have less chance to catch you off guard. When something out-of-the-ordinary occurs, you can say to yourself, "Oh, here's today's bizarre happening," then go about your business. The goal is not to become callous and uncaring, but to take these things in stride.
Reacting or responding to uncertainty
As singles, we don't always have someone to talk things over with. We come home at night, full of fear and don't know what to do. Instead of getting involved in an activity to take our mind off it, we may tend to stew about it, building up the anxiety like a snowball rolling downhill.
In every situation, we have the choice of reacting or responding. The difference is the amount of emotion we allow ourselves. Reacting is a knee-jerk, instinctive thing, where we let our feelings run wild, often out of control. Responding is a more measured, thoughtful approach, in which we deliberately slow down, take things easier, and put the brakes to our emotions before they get carried away.
Granted, the worse the news, the bigger the temptation to react instead of respond, but a calmer attitude always leaves us in better shape to cope.
It's natural and healthy to mourn the loss of a loved one and even to grieve over a lost job or relationship. If we don't allow ourselves that outpouring of feeling, it can erupt later, causing serious problems.
Our problem, too often, is that we overreact, getting carried away over things that will have no lasting consequence in our life. We have to watch it as singles. This can become a bad habit unless we recognize it and catch ourselves early. That's not always easy to do, but we can learn to recognize when we're going too far.
Certainty overcomes uncertainty
After decades of getting shaken up over these unexpected events, I finally got fed up with it. I asked myself what I could do to stop being in a constant state of turmoil because life was not one smooth, even ride.
I realized, with some shame, that I had not been trusting God as I should have. Now you may not believe in God at all. You may not be a Christian, but I can only tell you what works for me. I've studied dozens of different philosophies, including New Age, and I didn't find any truth in them. The only truth I've been able to find after a lifetime of searching is Jesus Christ.
That may offend you, but if you stop reading now, you're going to miss out on how to deal with uncertainty, once and for all. Please keep an open mind and finish this message.
No matter how much things change in the world and in your life, God is the only certainty. He never changes and his love for you never grows less. God is the only thing you can count on, in all situations.
Putting your faith in God is the only way to deal effectively with uncertainty. As a believer, I know that no matter what happens, God will never desert me. Even if I die, I am safe in his grip and he will bring me to heaven, to himself. If you don't believe in God, you can't say that. You can't be certain of anything.
God hasn't gotten me out of all the jams in my life. You may find it surprising that I say that, but the truth is that he has been with me through them all. I can't really explain to you why he hasn't rescued me every time I asked. Maybe he wanted me to learn something. Maybe he wanted to mature me. The important thing is that I made it through, and I believe I did that because of his help and encouragement.