I don’t like not knowing what God wants next. I am wired to perform at my best when I have a plan in place, a structured schedule, and plenty of margin to account for unexpected events. But my quest for certainty often presents a barrier to my relationship with God, because living by faith requires uncertainty.
If you are at all like me, you spend a lot of time and energy trying to get to a place that feels secure. I want to know where the money is coming from, what life direction I should take (or not take), and what I am forgetting to do—before it’s too late.
A Brief Confession
This past summer was a busy one for me. Along the way, I felt myself spending more time worrying and scheming about what to do next and less time praying for God to show me His best for my life.
I could feel my fingers closing, clutching my own plans and my own understanding in a way that left less and less room for God’s leading.
It’s ironic, I know, that someone whose site is dedicated to helping Christians live authentic lives with abundant faith would so easily slip into such a faithless place — but there you have it. I wanted certainty — and I was going to make sure I got it.
After I finished my latest manuscript, however, I unplugged for a few days and took a long overdue retreat. It was just me, some books, pen and paper, and God for a few days in a cabin up in the North Georgia mountains. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what God wants me to do next.
I have some key decisions to make on next steps, and I confess I had been trying to get certainty on my own — and suffering for it.
During my retreat, I remembered the third secret you need to know about God’s will: If you want to grow your faith, welcome uncertainty as an opportunity.
Here I was trying my best to reach a place where I could be free of uncertainty — even though I knew better — while God was providing me with an opportunity to walk by faith and be pleasing to Him.
5 Ways Uncertainty in Life Can Be a Very Good Thing
With that reminder, my perspective began to shift. God used the time to refocus my priorities and inspired me to share these five ways uncertainty can be an opportunity to help us live with greater faith:
- Uncertainty creates awareness. Only when we come up against something too big for us to figure out on our own do we become aware of just how helpless we really are — all the time. We think we can reach a place where we will be free of uncertainty, but it’s never going to happen this side of eternity. Only God is uncertainty-free.
- Uncertainty forces dependance. When we recognize our own understanding is faulty and finite, we’re forced to put our confidence elsewhere. Chaos in life provides an opportunity to draw closer to God. Let uncertainty motivate us to tap into the source of all confidence and security. [See my post Why You Should Create a Crisis to Grow Your Faith. ]
- Uncertainty causes clarity. When tragedy strikes, we get really clear really fast about what really matters. But we don’t have to experience something unpleasant to let uncertainty help us get clarity. Instead, we can embrace it and use it to help us keep first things first by changing how we perceive uncertainty in the first place. It’s not bad; it’s normal.
- Uncertainty exposes idolatry. When we insist on certainty in life, we desire what only God can have. If we are not careful, our quest for certainty can become the pursuit of idolatry. Our first sin was to think we could become like God—and we keep falling for it.
- Uncertainty fosters humility. “I don’t know.” Tough for some of us to say, I know, but essential to living a life of faith. The truth is that we will always not know a LOT of things. And that’s OK. It takes humility to lean on God’s understanding and keep moving forward even when you don’t know what He has planned next. That’s not to say we shouldn’t make wise plans, but we should begin from a place of humility, prayerfully acknowledging that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Question: How do you think of uncertainty in the Christian walk—as a feature to be cultivated or a bug to be eliminated? How can the uncertainty you are facing now pull you closer to God? Share your thoughts by clicking here.
Next: The Fourth Secret You Need to Know about God’s Will
Photo credit: geralt