Ever heard the term “deer caught in the headlights?” It’s an analogy for being so frightened or surprised that you can’t move. And boy, have I been there lately. As I’ve tried to understand my paralysis, I’ve realized that because of uncertainty about the best way to move forward in pursuit of my dreams, I’ve allowed myself to just stop moving.
And, in the unpredictable way that stream of consciousness flows, I started thinking about the good ‘ole AAA TripTik. For way too long, I’ve clung to the notion that my life would work like that…clearly mapped out from start to finish, and all I’d need to do was follow the highlighted route. Yes, there might be some slow downs or detours, but I’d know what to expect and where to turn next. Silly me.
A TripTik for life? Not a chance. A better analogy? The headlamp. Pursuing a dream is like heading out on a mountainous hike in the middle of the night with only a headlamp to illuminate one’s path. I’ve done that, and it’s pretty unnerving…even when you’re with others sporting their own headlamps.
After spending weeks wondering if I was depressed, or even more absurdly, if I was depressed about being depressed, I started to focus on things that I know to be true. And those truths have helped me to start moving again. I hope they’ll help you, too.
1. We’re all in the same boat named “Uncertainty.” No one knows what the future holds. Life can change in the blink of an eye. Accepting the fact that uncertainty is NORMAL helps. It’s a matter of perspective and proper expectations.
2. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Those words were penned by Corrie Ten Boom, who survived time in a Nazi concentration camp. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past is a great way to combat fear about the future. Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a great way to help with the remembering.
3. Realize that the outcome is not up to me. It’s easy to forget my assignment: to sow the seeds and pull the weeds. The harvest is up to God. Worrying about the results has repeatedly kept me from doing the things I am capable of doing.
4. Rely on the best headlamp of all: the word of God. “By your words, I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.” Psalm 119:105 (MSG) No, the Bible doesn’t provide specific answers like “who should I call tomorrow?” or “what’s the best way for me to start generating income?” But it is a treasure chest of guidance, encouragement, and strength.
5. Do the next right thing. While you might not be sure of the next 10 steps to take, the next few are undoubtably pretty obvious. Do those. And amazingly, the next few will then become apparent.
6. Get wise counsel. If you’re stuck, ask for advice from people you trust. And don’t just ask one person. “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 11:14 (NASB) No one can foresee the future. Yes, people can share wise opinions with you. But since only God is God, don’t make the mistake of elevating one person to the position of being all-knowing.
7. Pray without ceasing. And while praying consists of asking, seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7), it also requires listening. Daily. Moment by moment. And that’s the hard part for most of us!
Do I have all of this mastered? Absolutely not! But thankfully, I’m slowly moving forward again.
Can you relate? Have you felt stuck or frozen in place recently? What’s helped you to get moving again?
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