Aversion to Uncertainty
You know those people who absolutely love a good suspense movie? Yeah, I am not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong, I can still go and enjoy them on occasion, but with one very important condition: I have to know how the movie ends. I know, it’s sad. It’s okay if you judge me. My husband certainly does every time I pull out the IMDB synopsis during the movie previews!
I wish I could say that my movie-viewing habits are where my obsession with knowing everything ahead of time ends, but sadly, it is not. Whether in fiction or real life, I have a serious aversion to uncertainty. I would just like to always have a heads-up for anything coming my way. I want to be prepared.
And when I don’t get to prepare—when I can feel something big heading my way, but I can’t see what it is—well, let’s just say I don’t handle it very well. First, there’s that sick feeling in my stomach. Next, the frantic prayers: “Please God, just tell me what’s going to happen!” And of course, there are usually tears involved. I call this my “cycle of despair”. At least, that’s what I call it when I’m feeling dramatic, so...pretty much all the time.
I was stuck in that cycle recently, and was whining to God about it while in the shower one morning. I do a lot of my praying there because I have now reached that beautiful stage of motherhood where my kids actually leave me alone in the bathroom!
“I feel like I’m on a roller coaster!” I cried. “I’m on the ride, but it’s dark. I can’t see what twists and turns are coming and I hate it!”
The reply came almost immediately.
“But I thought you loved those kinds of roller coasters?”
Now, when I’m in the middle of feeling sorry for myself, I don’t really want to be questioned. Don’t point out the flaws in my complaint. Just nod your head and affirm my whining. However, He had a point. I do love roller coasters, especially the ones where it’s dark.
I immediately explained back that I only love those roller coasters because I know that I’m on a track that was carefully designed to get me safely to the end in the most fun way possible. That’s the reason I can relax and enjoy the ride.
“So you’re saying you trust a roller coaster track more than you trust Me?”
His response may not have been audible, but it echoed so loudly that it chased every other thought out of my mind. I had no reply, because it was true. That was exactly what I was saying. With that one simple question, God had shone a spotlight on the real reason for my distress.
It wasn’t because He hadn’t told me where we were headed, it was because I didn’t trust Him.
The problem was simple. The solution? Well, actually, the solution was fairly simple as well— trust in God.
Unfortunately, simple doesn’t mean easy. As much as it feels ridiculous to have more confidence in the creator of an amusement park ride than in the Creator of the universe, the reality is that this life contains a lot of twists and turns that can have us squeezing our eyes shut, white-knuckling the safety bar, and just holding on for dear life. Letting go feels like the last thing we could bring ourselves to do.
The dictionary defines trust as the “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” You know what this means? It means that knowing all the right things about God—as crucial as that is—is not enough. We can’t just know in our heads that those things are true. Real trust requires us to rely on those things being true.
Knowing is easy. Reliance is not.
Reliance involves a choice. It means stubbornly deciding to feel and act according to what we know to be true, not what we see (or don’t see!) in front of us. And it takes an unrelenting determination to fix our eyes on the One who is committed to perfecting our faith, because let’s face it, we can’t do this on our own.
I know how hard this is. I know it can even feel impossible sometimes. But I also know it’s worth the fight because I’ve learned that every time we choose to trust God—fully relying on His character, His ability, His strength, and not our own—it is in that place where we find perfect peace, and it is in that place where we will flourish. No matter what twists and turns we may face.
So let’s choose, today and every day, to take what we know to be true and actually live as if it is. If we do that, we’ll be able to open our eyes, unclench our grip and throw our hands in the air. We know the One who made the track, so it’s time to enjoy the ride!
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no fear in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
By Jessica Powell
Jessica has been married to her husband, Gary, for fifteen years and together they have three wonderful kids. She is passionate about leading others to know and believe God in a way that transforms every area of their lives. It’s a passion that became very personal when God called them to move to BC from Ontario two years ago, giving her a much deeper appreciation for how difficult faith can be at times! In her spare time, Jessica loves to watch baseball (especially the Blue Jays!), read a good book, or just relax with her family.