It's a weird time. I've never known so many people who are desperately unsure about where they are in life.
Some worry about their teetering marriage, wondering if it will fall into an abyss or find miraculous resurrection like Lazarus who appeared dead, but still had hidden life deep within.
Others are bored with the career they have spent a lifetime building, satisfaction having been worn down by decades of stress and demands and the same old thing.
Some have recently finished the job of daily parenting and are ready to try something new, but they fretfully wonder what their next step might be or who would hire them at this stage of life.
And there are those who feel no purpose as they wonder what their real calling is.
I've heard it again and again:
"I don't know what to do."
"How am I going to get through this?"
"Should I stay or go?"
"Should I be satisfied with my unremarkable life or seek something better?"
This is, of course, the fodder of midlife. But I know plenty of young adults and blooming teenagers who are also trying to figure it out. Panic rises as they face their own unanswered questions that irritate them like an itchy wool sweater: "What do I want to do with my life?" "Is this boyfriend or girlfriend the one?"
At every age and stage, we seek to know. But where do the answers hide?
I have a tendency to research and analyze things to death. It's the reporter in me. And it's the way I have attempted to grab hold of a semblance of control when things are uncertain. I read articles and books. I talk to friends and experts as if interviewing them for a thesis. I pray and think until my mind and soul can't take any more. It's a whole lot of doing.
But what I'm seeing now is the importance of also being. It's relaxing into the uncertainty, co-existing with it instead of fighting it. It is surrendering without giving up. It is accepting things as they are until I can figure out my part in what's next. And it's getting quiet and listening to the small, still voice within that knows best what is right for me. It is not panicking. It's not rushing to fix something that has no solution at this moment. It is walking my path as confidently as I can, taking care of myself in healthy ways, doing the next right thing, and trusting there is something good around the corner.
None of this is easy. Standing on the precipice of what's next and not knowing is freaking hard. And scary. This is especially true when the choices of others impact our lives. We want the answers now. We want to force and push and know. Waiting it out and figuring it out challenges us. It can heighten our insecurities and force us to face our demons, or, if we're not careful, to run from them.
Despite the degree of difficulty, there is always, somewhere ahead of us, an answer to our panic-inducing questions. But we must be patient. And while we wait, we do ourselves a favor if we focus on what how we're being in our situation and what we're doing to better our lives, despite our situation. This is where growth and enlightenment happen. Putting our attention there serves us far better than remaining fixated on our questions and the lack of answers.
Push your fears aside. They will lie to you and want you to believe you can't get through it, you won't figure it out, you'll fail and you won't be okay if the worst case scenario unfolds. But you will. You'll figure it out. It may be hard. It might even be brutal. But you'll get through.
You will be okay.
And maybe this is where we find the extraordinary, even in hard times.
If I believe in myself and in God's goodness, if I courageously walk my path and do what I know is right and good and true, and if I work on my life to the best of my ability, I will find my answers. And you will, too, because, one way or another, the journey always provide the answers.
Wishing you hope, love, patience and answers, Underdogs!
(Know someone who could use this? Pass it along. It might just be what they need today.)