The Little Things: Moments of Certainty in an Uncertain World
Editor’s Note: Communications associate Maria Beben continues her mini-series “The Little Things.” In the world, we are constantly faced with decisions and have no guarantee of how our choices will pan out. This uncertainty can be paralyzing, but it is in moments of trust that we are led to the beautiful freedom of certainty. Check back next Wednesday for the next installment in the series.
Every day, we are faced with decisions. Sometimes, even the smallest decisions can threaten to destroy us. For fear of making the “wrong” decision, we often just don’t make a decision at all. But when we daily accept a comfortable and muted existence, a dangerous thing starts to happen. We become apathetic about our very existence.
This developed apathy generally boils down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that if we do jump, no one will catch us. Fear that we’ll prove ourselves right and fail. But what’s the measure of failure? Isn’t it more of a failure to not even try at all?
In a world of uncertainty, moments of clarity stand out. For me, these are the moments when I can actually hear God gently say, “Go ahead. I’ll be walking with you the whole time. Trust me.”
But that last part is the hardest.
So far, my year as a communications associate has been full of these moments of trust. A few weeks after I arrived in DC, the whole community went to a ropes course for some team building activities. There was one exercise called “the waterwheel.” In this exercise, a person would be hoisted up one side of the waterwheel by the other team members. Once at the top, the person would then slide forward, grip hands with the people on the ground, and jump off the wheel.
This fairly simple activity impacted me more than I thought it would. From my perspective on top of the wheel, I was positive that if I did jump, I’d fall on my face. The ground seemed very far away. When my team members urged me to grab their hands, I heard myself protesting, “No, I’m going to fall.”
One of my team members looked me in the eye and said, “You’re not going to fall. Trust me.”
And although I didn’t fully believe her, I realized I could either take a risk and jump or live out the rest of my days on top of the water wheel. So, I jumped.
Like she had assured me, they gently helped me down and I landed softly on my feet. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized how powerful this exercise was. This activity showed me a physical representation of my relationship with God. As a mere human, my perspective can only take me so far. I’m limited.
From the top of the wheel, I couldn’t see the whole picture. It is this limited perspective which calls us to trust God. Trust that he knows what’s best for us more than we do. Trust that, as a loving God, no trial is without blessing and no ugliness is without eventual beauty.
Trust comes in various degrees and forms. Sometimes, it’s the trust that we have to keep weathering the storm until it passes. Sometimes it means creating a temporary storm in exchange for eventual peace.
In these times of doubt and uncertainty, take a step back. Hold on to what you know to be true.
Place your hand over your heart and leave it there. There lies the most beautiful and unique poem to ever be written – the heartbeat of your existence. Each beat stands for another verse. There lies the proof, the certainty, that in this moment, you are alive.
The fact that your heart still beats means you’re a fighter. Hold on to that truth. Let that be your certainty. Life doesn’t come with a guarantee; that’s not how it works. But where would the adventure be if it did? Remember the moments when you did close your eyes and jump. Remember the times when a hardship yielded unexpected blessings because you said yes and trusted.
Reflection Question: Is there a decision that you’ve been avoiding? What’s holding you back?
*Featured image: adaptation of photo by Flickr user Carsten Tolkmi – labeled for reuse.