Embracing Life’s UncertaintiesPosted on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 at 9:25 AM
By Oluwabusola Adedire
Life as we all know presents everyone with a box of uncertainties; you’d never know what you’d get… but that exactly is the beauty of it. Life is change, Life is growth, and Life is evolution, which can be excruciating and exhausting but also rewarding. Nobody likes the unfamiliar feeling of change as it creates tensions and uncertainties in our lives. We feel extremely vulnerable, yet there are so many events that happen over which we have no control. We ask ourselves the question, “what if”…., what if things never change? What if it does and it is the wrong decision? These questions never end, but if we wait till everything is right and certain we would not get anywhere. In order to survive, we have to make choices, take chances and make changes.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 9:11 which says “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all (KJV)”. The context to which this verse is applicable will differ from individual to individual. But from my understanding, this verse is not implying that ‘nothing is worth the effort’, it is simply saying there are some events in life that cannot be accounted for, rather they are attributable to ‘timing and chances’.
This is a phenomenon that every man can relate to regardless of religious preferences. Even scientists will only accept a presumed event when every form of chances has been ruled out. Therefore, there must be something interesting about uncertainty.
Let’s think about it this way: the odds of having a car accident today are not greater than tomorrow’s, the odds of any bad event are not greater next week than they were this week, so also the odds of something great happening are great next month as they were this month. So I pose the question ‘Why is not knowing so scary’? If we rolled a dice and don’t know what its outcome will be, is that scary? Of course not, this is implying that it’s not the “not knowing” that’s the problem … it’s the possibility that what comes up on that dice will bring us pain, suffering or, loss. And most of the time, this imagined pain is not physical… it is the pain of loss and change.
Embracing uncertainty is one of the highest levels of spiritual growth which demands a high level of spiritual fitness. I realized that the ability to achieve this depends on how much faith, trust and patience you have. We have not been programmed to embrace uncertainty and fear. It goes against our nature and it triggers our fight or flight instincts. So, it takes a conscious effort and a refined perspective to view life with objectivity. When you carefully examine a situation and dig objectively, you will begin to understand that everything happens for a reason. Like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, so are the events and experiences in life. It is all part of the grand design. Embrace life in each moment with gratitude, and do remember that peace of mind does not come from being certain, but letting go of all mental objects that disturb the mind. To let go of the past is to be free, and to live in the present is the key to happiness.
As we live in the realization this truth, we cannot rule out the key role of patience. Patience and faith are somehow interlinked, and it takes deliberate practice to possess both. Patience is remembering that although time is ticking, the best things in life have always been, and are still, worth waiting for. And good things do come to those who wait. Patience means believing that it’s never too late for the people, the places, and the things that are meant for us. I struggle with patience, but I am learning how to be patient with myself and everybody else. I am learning that is OK not to be perfect, so I embrace the imperfection in others. I am learning to let go of the mistakes I have made in the past, and learning that there are still more mistakes to be made in the future. I’m learning to accept that I don’t have the power undo anything; rather I can look for ways to move forward. Finally, I am learning to trust God and have faith in his timing.
Uncertainty touches most aspects of our life, especially when making decisions that have consequences we cannot predict. We can term it as vulnerability, and as opposed to conventional thinking that vulnerability is weakness.. it isn’t! Everyone struggles with this insecurity inside of them, and it’s so strong that we often go out of our way to avoid situations that might make us feel fragile. We all need to develop new approaches to cope with changes that cannot be predicted.
Developing mindfulness is a great way to start. Also, adopting a lifestyle of openness and awareness with our environment, thoughts, feelings, and triggers that will help us recognize when we are disengaging because we are afraid. In conclusion, here are the key things to remember: recognize that facing vulnerability takes enormous courage.
Let go of the constant worry about life, and what other people think of you.
Feeling overwhelmed? People find their comfort in different things i.e faith, music, nature, or meditation. Find what works for you.
Don’t stress about perfection. In fact, don’t even consider it. No one is perfect, and the more you hold yourself to an impossible ideal, the more easily you will give up.
So, for people like me whose stability is dependent on faith, I leave you with this remarkable quote by Max Lucado-
‘Life turns every person upside down. No one escapes unscathed. Not the woman who discovers her husband is in an affair. Not the teenager who discovers a night of romance has resulted in a surprise pregnancy. We’d be foolish to think we’re invulnerable. But we’d be just as foolish to think evil wins the day. The Bible vibrates with the steady drumbeat of faith; God recycles evil into righteousness. I don’t have an easy solution or magic wand. But I have found something—or someone—far better. God Himself. When God gets in the middle of life, evil becomes good. Trust God. No, really trust Him! He will get you through this. Will it be easy or quick? I hope so. But it seldom is. Yet God will make good out of this mess. That’s His job’.
Photo Credit: fabmagazineonline.com
Oluwabusola Adedire is a graduate of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, an enthusiast on social issues, and loves to inspire people about life, God and Love. Find her on Instagram @hrh_oluwabusola and on Twitter @HRH_oluwabussie