Ambiguity can be fatal. It has been said that we only fear things we don’t understand, and I think there’s something to that. Ambiguous fears wrap themselves up together and become a giant overwhelming snowball that threatens to flatten us.
Ambiguity can paralyze us and make us unable to move forward. For example, we get afraid that a new job might make us a slave to money so we freeze; we are nervous in front of people so we perform at a much lower level than we are capable of. We spend so much time and energy laboring over decisions and yet it gets us nowhere. Anxiety and fear are huge issues for many people in America today, especially considering the current economic conditions. But there is hope in the midst of all of this.
Let me say up front that ambiguity is often a tension to be managed and not eliminated. Life will always have elements of the unknown, mystery, and things we just don’t understand. But we need to see that there are things we can understand if we push through the overwhelming feelings, dig into our scattered thoughts and take control of them.
Ambiguity adds to our fear because we cannot understand what we’re going through and we feel as though we cannot take action. But a little time in prayer and careful thought can help us break through to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our situation and lead us to take action and quiet our fears.
Look at the examples again: If I am afraid a job with a great salary will make me a slave to money, I should first pray about the decision and ask trusted friends, but if I take the job there I things I can do to eliminate that worry. I can set limits for what I will spend, make sure I don’t dramatically change my lifestyle/standard of living so that no matter how much I’m earning I can be content. (“Duh,” right? Sometimes in the moment of decision we can’t think clearly, even though the solutions seem to easy to be the right ones)
If nervousness is an issue, figure out what contributes to the nervousness and see if it can be eliminated. What can be done in preparation to eliminate the possibility for mistakes? Think through, prepare, and watch confidence grow. It may seem obvious, but I’m telling you that it helps.
I am amazed at how often I am overwhelmed, stressed, or afraid about a bunch of little things that start to feel really big.Think of being overwhelmed like a big tangled ball of short lengths of string. The only way to create order is to pull them out one at a time. Once you have them out, you know what to do with them (and you can use them for what they were made for).
What we have to do is keep moving forward. If you are an analyzer (like me), you will want to stop and look at the situation from every angle before you decide. But don’t get stuck in the avalanche of ambiguous feelings. Identification brings clarification and leads to action.
So get on with it.