Choosing trust in the face of uncertainty

There are a lot of things going on in my life right now, a lot of uncertain things. There are choices that need to be made and I don’t have everything I need yet to make those decisions. There are big questions and small questions, questions about my future and my calling, and the way to the answers isn’t clear yet.

This, I think, is the way of trust… We persist in the hope that He loves us and wants good for us, and we actively engage the process of letting Him reveal that to us in the life we’re living right now. It will not always be clear right away. But we can trust that it will be clear.

We do not have a God that keeps secrets for very long.

The most pressing question right now is where I’m going to live this next year. My lease comes up at the end of May, and I don’t have the faintest idea what to do about it. I’m trying to find a roommate, but also pondering the idea of living by myself again. I’m reaching out to postings on my Catholic Facebook groups and testing the waters at apartment rental websites, but I haven’t felt a strong pull in any direction. I truly have no idea what to do in this circumstance. Perhaps the most difficult thing about the uncertainty of this situation is the uncertainty of where God is in it. What does He want me to do? What are His desires? Is He going to show me the way?

It’s easy to feel trapped by these questions, to feel the pressure of trying to figure it all out and to be convinced that I have to figure it out all by myself. It’s easy to let myself be led subtly by the lie that the Lord doesn’t want to tell me, that I have to do it all myself, that He doesn’t want to give me something really great so I should just pick something and get it over with. There are plenty of places that would be “good enough.” I should just pick one of those and be content with that.

But, the Lord is showing me something, well two things, that is helping me start to navigate all these questions and find peace in the uncertainty, both in my living situation and in other things. The first is that I tend to give up pretty easily. If something doesn’t work the first time, I often get frustrated and want to give the whole thing up. Or, if I’m confronting difficulty in getting something that I want, I’ll resign myself to not having it out of a distorted idea that because it’s hard or didn’t work, God must not want me to have it.

I’ll give you a quick example. I went to the grocery store the other day, and as I was shopping I remembered that I wanted to buy some protein bars. So I checked the aisle I thought they would be in, but there were none to be found. At first I said, “Oh well, I don’t need to get them this time,” my heart sinking in quiet disappointment that this small desire went unfulfilled. But I suddenly realized that I had only checked one place. Maybe I could check another before giving up. Sure enough, the second aisle I checked had the protein bars I wanted, and I was able to stock up.

How silly that I was so willing to admit defeat after one failed attempt! But how many times do we do the same thing with stuff that is more important? How easily do we give up on something we really want because it seems hard, and how easily do we convince ourselves that the difficulty must be because God doesn’t want to bless us? I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s gentle inspiration in the grocery store to remind me that sometimes a little patience and persistence is needed to receive the gifts that we want.

Which brings me to my second point. The Lord has not made us for a mediocre life. He has not made us to accept things that are “good enough” or to hide our hearts away so that we’re never really disappointed, but also never really satisfied. He wants to bless us. He wants to give us a life that’s exciting and joyful. He wants to fill our hearts and give us not only what we need, but what we really want.

I have a deep desire to serve, to share my heart and my life with others so that they can know the love of God and be encouraged that they can walk beside Him in that love. As I continue to dream up my next project with the GIVEN Institute (see my last post for details), I’m starting to see how the Lord wants to satisfy that longing through this work. A year ago I never would have imagined that I would be doing something like this. This opportunity was unexpected, and when I said yes I had no idea what the project was going to be or where it would lead me. In a lot of ways, it’s still uncertain, but I can see the Lord moving in it, and I can trust that He is doing something good here.

What if I decided to take the same approach with everything else in my life? What if I decided to wait a little longer, to just follow one avenue or two, open up the doors I see appearing in front of me, and wrestle with the uncertainty of not knowing where it’s leading? What if I said, “I’ll try one more time,” when I’m faced with a dead end, and exercise the persistence of following Christ even when things don’t go the way I thought I wanted? What if I dared to imagine that He is working in my life right now, and I can say yes to that work, and rest that He sees my heart and does everything He does because in the end He longs to satisfy it?

This, I think, is the way of trust. We trust that the Lord is working, not by waiting for Him to reveal the full plan to us, but by faithfully saying yes to the little things He shows us, stepping into the uncertainty, and letting Him move our hearts there. We persist in the hope that He loves us and wants good for us, and we actively engage the process of letting Him reveal that to us in the life we’re living right now. It will not always be clear right away. But we can trust that it will be clear. We do not have a God that keeps secrets for very long.

I’m going to try and take this approach with my housing search, with my questions about my future, with the GIVEN project, with everything. I’m going to let the uncertainty be okay, and choose to trust in the love of God to show me the way, to make it clear. Because the uncertainty is okay, and I am loved in the middle of it.

I don’t know what it is you’re waiting for. I don’t know what you need God to make clear in your life. Just know that He does want to make it clear. He wants to give you a life that is good. Persist, and trust Him even while it’s uncertain. It’s hard, I know, but I promise it’s worth it.