5 Ideas for Facing Uncertain Times
There are very few things in life that are certain. But one thing is for sure—we will face times of uncertainty. Besides the specific trial we are going through, uncertainty about it’s outcome can fill us with fear. It can make us feel helpless and hopeless. But there are some intentional things we can do to face uncertain times with courage and strength.
My Uncertain Time
I was faced with uncertainty a few years ago when my marriage of 22 years ended. My entire world was changing, but there was no way of knowing how things would turn out. I had a college degree, but my two decades as a stay-at-home parent left me feeling insecure about my ability to support myself financially. Almost everyone I knew was a shared friend with my ex, and I couldn’t be sure who would remain as my friends. My relationships with family members would be affected, but I didn’t know how. It was a disconcerting time for sure.
Not everything went perfectly, but I did survive. And in many ways, I thrived. This was, in part, due to my intentional efforts to meet this trial head on. I did a lot of reading and learning from others who had been where I was and implemented things in my life that helped me. Here are some of those ideas for facing uncertain times:
1–Be Careful with Social Media
There’s nothing like social media for spreading rumors and fear. You can find all sorts of horror stories about any situation without even looking hard. And when there’s a story of national or worldwide interest, it spreads like wildfire. This can grow your worries into paralyzing fear.
Instead of fearful scrolling, try limiting your time on social media. Take some time, instead, to do a low-tech activity that will give you a break from anxiety-inducing posts. Read a book. Go for a walk outside. Work on a hobby you enjoy.
When you do go online, limit what you read to uplifting things, like happy news from friends or sharing ideas in a special interest group. When I was going through my divorce, the time I spent in two different online support groups was invaluable to me. I gained friends and insight and had a place to go to for comfort and ideas from people who understood my situation.
2–Focus on the Good
No matter what you are going through, there is always something good to focus on. With the right mindset, even things that seem bad could be a blessing in disguise.
There is Good in Any Situation
Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, wrote about her experience at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in the book, The Hiding Place. She and her sister, Betsie, were placed in a miserable flea-ridden bunk. They found comfort daily in their Bible study with some of the other girls there. One morning, during their prayers, Betsie thanked God for the fleas that plagued them. Corrie was sure her sister was crazy, but later she came to find that the fleas were a protection. They kept the guards away, allowing the girls to have their daily Bible study, and sheltering them from abuse and other atrocities that went on in the camp. She realized what a blessing those fleas were.
It makes hard times more bearable to think of those not-so-obvious blessings. I’ll admit I’m not the best at doing this, but it helps me if I keep a Gratitude Journal or share with my husband the good things we have noticed each day.
It might also help you to think about the opportunities this situation might bring. For example, you may learn a skill or develop a personality trait that will serve you for the rest of your life. A job loss might allow you to make a career change that takes you in a completely different and more successful direction. An undesired move to a new area might bring you new and lifelong friendships. A failed relationship might leave you open to one that is more fulfilling. Looking for these opportunities and acting on them can turn an uncertain situation into a lucky break.
3–Take Care of Your Health
It can be tempting during uncertain times to burrow under the blankets and binge on mindless TV and comfort food. Once in awhile it’s okay to take a “mental health day”, as I like to call them, but in the long term, neglecting your health will only make things worse. You need to be at your best, mentally, physically, and emotionally, to handle this situation.
Do something each day to nurture your health in all areas. For me, this definitely helped me through my difficult time. I began going to a yoga class several days a week, which was beneficial for my body and emotions. Starting online coursework for a professional certification kept my mind exercised. I spent time with friends and family and continued going to social events. Focusing on my overall health not only kept my mind off my worries, but it also helped me cope with everything better.
4–Examine Your Worry/Anxiety
In uncertain times, we often find our anxiety is elevated. I suffer from anxiety all the time, so when life gets scary, it can go through the roof, if I let it. What I have found to be helpful is to step back and take a unemotional look at my worries or anxiety.
Think about your thoughts and the words you have been saying to yourself. Try to step away from your feelings as you take a logical look at your thoughts. Is what you are telling yourself true, or are you just speculating? Are your worries based in reality, or are you blowing things out of proportion? Is there a real danger, or are you just worried because other people are? How are your thoughts feeding your anxiety?
Make a Plan
Another thing you can do is to think about the actual likely outcomes of your situation. Clear the unrealistic “what-if” and “worst-case” scenarios from your mind and think about what will most likely really happen to you. Now make a plan for how you can handle it. Having a plan in place will ease your anxiety and worries.
You Are a Survivor!
This is also a good time to think about stressful times you have survived in the past. Remember how you were able to cope and what you learned from those experiences that can help you now.
5–Rely on Your Faith
Your faith can be your best asset in uncertain times. The word faith means “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” You can exercise faith by trusting God completely. Trust that He has given you knowledge, skills or tools that you can use to get through this. Remember that He has delivered many people from destruction, when it it His will. And when it is not His will to deliver you, you can trust that any pain, discomfort, or trial you may experience is in His plan for your good.
Invite Peace to Your Life
I used my time of crisis as an opportunity to grow closer to God by deepening my study of His words and of Gospel topics. I set aside time each morning for prayer, study, and pondering on things of a spiritual nature. It was an ideal way to clear my mind and set a tone of peace for my day. My confidence grew as my relationship with Him grew.
Rely on Jesus Christ
The most helpful thing I learned through this experience was to remember to rely upon my Savior, Jesus Christ. He suffered ALL things for us. His Sacrifice was not just to save us from our sins, but also to rescue us from our pain and suffering. Because He has already paid this price for us, we can hand our worries and our struggles over to Him to bear. When I remember to do this, I am better able to cope with life’s trials and uncertainty.
Give it a try!
If you are going through a time of uncertainty, try implementing one or more of the ideas above into your life. Keep a journal of your feelings so you can see how you are progressing daily.
What is Your Experience?
What has helped you face times of uncertainty or who do you admire that was able to cope with a difficult situation? Share your experiences in the comments below.