Wednesday, February 19, 2014
All I want is some clarity
Whether it's clarity about our job, our future, a big decision we have to make, or our purpose on this earth, we all want 'clarity'. If only we could have the answer we are looking for. If only the direction was clear and we knew exactly what we are supposed to do, what the next step is.
Let's face it, confusion is frustrating!
So, where does this expectation for clarity come from? Does it actually help to have clarity? Is it possible to live peacefully without it?
We live in a world that is constantly encouraging us to set goals, to be clear about what we want, when we want it, taking control of our own lives and destiny. Have you heard the saying 'If you don't set your own goals, you'll end up being part of someone else's?
I've been really big on goal setting in the past. I used to buy a new journal at the beginning of each year, and I'd find a quiet cafe somewhere, open up my journal, write the year in big numbers on the first page, and begin mapping out my life, setting my goals and plans - financial goals, health and fitness goals, social goals. You name it, I had a goal and a plan for it! It gave me clarity about my own life. I was in control of my own destiny - right?
Well, just the other day I was looking back over some of those yearly journals, and I've got years and years of them. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! I'm not sure I've achieved even a quarter of the goals I set for myself! It would be very easy for me to look at all those unmet, unachieved goals and feel like an absolute failure.
But I don't. I've done different things. Life has happened around me and pulled and pushed me in all sorts of different directions.
Here's the thing. My goals didn't factor in my husband, Matthew, dying and leaving me a widow with a baby to care for. They didn't factor in a later failed marriage that saw me losing assets I'd spent years building. They didn't factor in my father dying of heart failure, my eldest sister dying of cancer, my son packing up and moving to New Zealand to pursue a dance career, my Mum dying of cancer, my husband, Peter, suddenly needing heart surgery just a few weeks ago......
But my goals and plans ALSO didn't factor in amazing friends and family who came to my rescue when I needed help. They didn't factor in a change of career that has seen me travel the world. They didn't factor in Peter coming into my life at a time when I'd decided I could go it alone. They didn't factor in all the opportunities and changes that are occurring right now as I've cleared the decks to care for my husband.
Clarity - sure, we can create it for ourselves, but it doesn't last.
I've learned to live in a state of wonder, at peace with not knowing. I still make plans and set some goals, but my mother used to always say 'Hold all things loosely.' I've learned to do that, to expect the unexpected, but to also know that everything will work out, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
For me, I believe that God has a much bigger plan and purpose than I could wrap my head around. I believe that is the case for all of us. In fact, if He revealed the whole plan your head would probably explode!
My peace in the uncertainty and fog comes from knowing that it's all OK, there's a bigger plan at play here that I cannot understand and I cannot see. That, my friends, is the ULTIMATE truth about trust.
Clarity - it's over-rated.
Trust - now that's what we need.
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.' Proverbs 3:5-6