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Embracing Uncertainty (Page 3)

Last Monday we had our usual monthly leaders meeting, and the regular topic of “next steps during a global pandemic” came up. We made some plans which included opening the church for life groups to use and another picnic. We discussed exploring with the members of GBC what appears to be a growing appetite for gathered Sunday worship again.

Then on Wednesday Boris announced increased restrictions with very little detail of how this might impact a faith community like ours.

Uncertainty can be a very stressful thing. I wonder if the government announcement increased your anxiety level this week. The pandemic has been particularly hard on those of us who (in counselling terms) have a high intolerance of uncertainty. I.O.F. is a lot like having an allergy. If you’re your allergic to pollen, you’ll have a disproportionate reaction compared to someone who doesn’t have hay fever. When people are intolerant of uncertainty, they also have a strong reaction, behaving in ways to eliminate the uncertainty that can be unhealthy and exhausting. Behaviours like avoidance and procrastination, trying to control things by refusing to delegate or making lists, and a propensity to need excessive reassurance).

If you’re a leader, uncertainty will always increase the pressure you feel. Others will be looking and expecting you to provide guidance (guidance that you don’t have at the time). Plans that you’ve made will now have to be changed or scrapped. I think you’d have to be a robot not to be affected. You’ll need to make sure you don’t neglect your own self-care in times like these.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of all uncertainty in life. The Christian faith is an invitation to follow Jesus wherever he leads. And in my experience, he doesn’t always tell you where he’s going! I take my hat off to Abraham who responded to God’s call to “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1), and to the disciples who “at once… left their nets and followed him.” (Matt 4:20). When Peter wanted to know what was going to happen to his friend John, or indeed, himself, in the coming months and years, Jesus reply was “What is that to you? You must follow me (John 21:22).”

We need to develop a TOLERANCE for uncertainty if we are going to cope with life in the near future, and also if we want to follow Jesus closely.

Here are some things to help you develop that tolerance.

  • Cling to the one who knows your future.
  • Allow trusted people to come alongside you
  • Acknowledge that ‘waiting is never wasted’
  • Accept your limitations
  • Remind and remember God’s promises
  • Step out of your comfort zone occasionally and see what happens!

– Phil.

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