Despite every effort in maintaining steady progress, the small logs shifted under the stiff soles of my clogs. Stopping, I steadied my balance, and regaining my confidence, crossed over. The pause helped me avoid a fall, but also stay focused on the task ahead. Much like times of uncertainty when in quietness and trust we find strength for the elusive path ahead.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
trusting the rhythms of rest
In quietness and trust we find strength: smiling at the comparision to the recent uncertainty in my life, I glanced back. The unpredictability of which way the logs might shift kept me tentative as I crossed over the small stream.
Sometimes the Lord’s object lessons provide the perfect illustration; my experience with the instability of the logs exactly depicted the current state of uncertainty plaguing my life.
Upsurge of COVID, short-staffing, unexpected death of a colleague, spouse’s cancer diagnosis causing another colleague’s extended leave of absence, resignations, program closures and department shifts all contributed to the feeling of uncertainty in my job.
At times when faced with chaos in the form of uncertainty, I shift into clean up mode. Uncertainty resembles psychological clutter, making us uncomfortable; prompting rushed attempts at removing that same clutter.
But as I experienced with the logs, in that moment of uncertainty, pushing pause stops the spinning out of control. Hurried attempts at removing the uncertainty produces more uncertainty.
An intentional pause positions us for hearing instruction from God, strengthening our trust in Him for the unpredictable road ahead. Embracing rhythms of rest in times of unpredictabilty brings clarity within the chaos.
quietness of mind
Perhaps the biggest challenge in uncertain times is quietness of mind. Memory testifies to this fact, for of an evening, though quite still in my favorite chair, my mind busies itself with unravelling the chaos abiding there.
Culture in general places little value on quietness, rest and trust, especially as it relates to a spiritual posture. Preferring instead strength and confidence; lauding those who strive, acquire and conquer.
In God’s Kingdom, however, the more we pursue quietness of mind, leaning into God, the more certainty we find. For the effect of His righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quiet and trust forever. (Isaiah 32:17)
true sources of strength
In times of uncertainty we long for strength and confidence; yet we seldom pair them with quietness, rest and trust. As my lesson with the logs taught me, strength and confidence come when we press pause, step back and get clarity.
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.Isaiah 30:15
Isaiah 30:15 reminds us in quietness and trust we find strength, but all too often “we want none of it”. Reminding us also of the power of repentance and rest, the Lord gives us four things which draw us closer to Him, strengthening us for the journey. Mindfully practicing repentance, rest, quietness and trust we move from the discomfort of uncertainty to confident reassurance in the Lord.
Seasons of uncertainty rarely pass quickly and God never rushes us through them. Spend time mindfully processing each area below during undisturbed times when you sit with the uncertainty. My practice generally incorporates each of these areas in my quiet times with the Lord, following the Holy Spirit’s lead. Journaling provides a fabulous tool for processing more difficult aspects of your situation.
I find the need for repentance especially relevant during times of uncertainty. As you sit with uncertainty consider your need for repentance in the following areas:
- Expectations. What expectations do you have of God in this situation? Confess any preconceived ideas you may harbor.
- Objections. What are you resisting in this situation? Confess what most irritates you about the uncertainty.
- Control. Which aspect of the situation are you attempting to control? Confess your lack of trust in God’s way and relinquish control.
- Self-Reliance. How are you relying on your own wisdom and abilities in working out the situation? Confess seeking your way and surrender to God’s way.
Rest, physically, emotionally and spiritually seems especially elusive during periods of uncertainty. Before working through the following questions, take time for a Mindful Check in, practicing deep breathing and a restful posture.
- Personal Limitations. Where are you pushing the boundaries of your personal physical, emotional or spiritual boundaries? Note your own “warning signals”.
- Fear of Failure. Are you afraid of stopping for rest? Do you fear taking time for rest may look like weakness or failure? Explore the deeper reasons behind your answers.
- Busyness as Validation. Do you think busyness makes you more worthy of love from God and others? Do you fill your schedule as a way of validating your worth? Explore the deeper reasons behind your answers.
- Invitation to Rest. How is God inviting you into a season of rest? How might stopping for rest help you gain clarity, bringing certainty to your situation?
Practicing quietness in the midst of uncertainty involves taking captive thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) and filtering them through the promises of God. But it also involves the quietness of meekness before God and others.
- Thoughts. Bring fearful and troubling thoughts to the Lord. Memorize scripture appropriate for your situation or write verses on sticky notes or index cards you keep with you.
- Words. Tame your tongue. Avoid venting or telling your story both to yourself and others. When asking for prayer, stick to facts not conjecture. Avoid dictating to God your timetable or ideas of resolution.
- Deeds. Behave wisely; keep responsibilities and obligations. Avoid brooding, anxious activity or self-absorption.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
Moving to a place of trust in the midst of uncertainty requires recognition of the warning signals indicating self-reliance or reliance on others rather than trusting God.
- Anxiety. Lack of trust in God manifests in anxiety and haste because we rely on our own wisdom and ability for resolving or removing the uncertainty. Are you rabidly researching options? Making alternate plans? Attempting the mobilization of friends and family to rescue you?
- Deception. Failure in trusting God feeds anxiety and haste, which then can lead to deception. We exaggerate our circumstances to others, we lie to avoid dealing with the unpleasantness or scheme as a way of protecting ourselves from unwanted consequences.
- Idolatry. Uncertainty exposes heart idols. What do you fear losing or God denying in this situation? What things prevent you from trusting God in this situation?
in quietness and trust we find strength
Practicing repentence, rest, quietness and trust helps me move through seasons of uncertainty without the anxiety of self-reliance and fear of unwanted outcomes. Creating an attitude of meekness towards God resulting in submission to His will in complete trust.
In quietness and trust we find strength, ceasing from operating from a place of fear, trusting in our own understanding. Seeking a quiet, calm posture before God overflows our hearts with peace as He provides certainty in each step of trust we take with Him. For He is our strength, confidence and power in the face of every uncertain step.