The unknown can be hard. The undefined time, of questions gone unanswered takes our emotional, physical, and mental energy without asking. Despite the discomfort that periods of wandering and questioning can be, perhaps what is more uncomfortable is how we feel about ourselves in the midst of our wondering. When we define ourselves by our external circumstances, the unknown can be painful. What does it mean about me if I quit my job without knowing what’s next? Who am I without the relationship I just lost? How do we navigate the in-between—the time that settles in our soul after one chapter closes and another has yet to begin?
Life has given you a break…time to pause and reflect and be discerning about the next phase your life might take. Rarely do we see the unknown as such. Instead, a period of rest often becomes a symbol of failure or unworthiness. Here we panic, we race, grasping for external circumstances to define us differently. Reacting out of our pain instead of acting wisely out of the truth about who we are will likely lead to hasty decisions that will only perpetuate the need for our life circumstances to validate our worth. Instead, focus on the truth about who you are apart from what you do. Allow yourself the freedom to explore without the weight of your value riding on every decision.
When living in the midst of the unknown, an empty day can feel like nothing more than an opportunity to fail. The unknown can feel unsafe. One of the strategies we tend to employ when we feel unsafe is to keep our expectations low in order to not be disappointed. Instead of viewing the day as an opportunity to fail, try looking for the blessings that the day holds. Being thankful for the blessings that we see brings joy and changes our orientation to seek out blessings rather than fearing the disappointments that may occur in our search.
Worry is long-distance control. With the unknown, we often feel a significant loss of our perceived control and worry can become an easy (yet ineffective) substitute. Instead of employing fear, spend your time and energy investing in the ways you can make a difference such as having conversations with peers and mentors, researching various opportunities, and taking the opportunity to invest in your relationships and the other parts of yourself that you may have neglected during previous seasons of life.
Instead of viewing the unknown as a season that defines you and inflicts you with fear, take the time to make this memorable by getting to know yourself better and learning to see parts of yourself and aspects of your life in a way that you may have never had time to notice. You may be surprised to learn that this could be a time rich with blessing and growth.
Photo by remaininglight on Flickr