Embracing Complexity and Uncertainty

We complain when we’re busy. We quit if something gets too hard. We doubt ourselves when it comes to big problems. All these things make our life complex, and we hate complexity. But why?

Complexity and uncertainty go hand-in-hand many times and uncertainty drives us crazy. As Samantha and I have gone through our infertility battle the last two years, we’ve both experienced this firsthand. The human body is complex, so much so we don’t have reasons for our struggle. This leads to uncertainty and anxiety. This is a big thing, but we also struggle with this type of anxiety on a day-to-day basis. What are our plans tonight? Should we go here or there? Do this or that? What should we eat for dinner? Maybe it’s just us, but the number of times one of us has said, “I’m done with decisions for today, you decide,” over food choices is downright pathetic.

So why do we hate it?

Uncertainty brings out our lack of faith

Uncertainty is almost always temporary, but we move from one uncertainty to the next. This uncertainty causes us to make bad decisions, have bad attitudes, and react poorly to many situations. But deep down, the issue is so much deeper. Uncertainty shows how faithless we can be. We don’t trust God, and it causes us all sorts of grief. I know it’s not easy, believe me. I’ve questioned God more times than I’d like to admit. It’s what we do, it’s what the disciples did, it’s what the Israelites did.

Complexity brings out our insecurities

Samantha told me the other day, “You embrace the tedious tasks”. And I do, but I know I’m the exception. In life and in work, we like to quit when the going gets tough. Or maybe not quit, but instead ask questions. We don’t like to explore ourselves, but want others to do the dirty work. We use the complexity and accompanying uncertainty as a crutch or excuse to say, “I don’t know,” and assume someone else will answer the question or do it for us.

How do we do better?

Pray

Prayer should be key to everything we do. Prayer should be our constant companion through good times and bad. We should pray in the morning, in the evening, and every event in between. I suspect God’s idea of prayer is so much deeper than our application of it today. And I know this for sure: you cannot pray too much. God is always listening, and just as our earthly relationships need time to grow, we need time with our Lord.

Share

We think we’re strong. We think we’re independent. But we need each other. I’m the worst at holding things in, but it only leads to a explosive reaction down the line. By sharing our struggles, our complaints, our uncertainties with others we are able to flesh out those feelings. We’ve all felt the relief of getting something off our chest. But we still hold things in. Find people with common issues, with the same belief, and let loose. A spouse is great, but friends are needed too.

Embrace it

Uncertainty and complexity aren’t going away. They’ll always be present in our life this side of heaven, and they’ll always cause us stress and pain. The key, in my opinion, to better handling them is to embrace them. If we know they’ll be constant, we’re purposefully making ourselves miserable by allowing them to affect us. Break the problem down into smaller parts, pray, discuss, seek advice. Whatever it is you need to do to release the pressure, embrace it and keep moving forward.


 

To summarize, I felt this Mark Batterson quote from his book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” was great:

“So if life is infinitely uncertain and God is infinitely complex, then all we can do is accept our finitude and embrace uncertainty. I think many people have the mistaken notion that faith reduces uncertainty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty.”

Marriage, kids, events, and friends all complicate life. Embrace the good, embrace the bad, because all-in-all, God is in control.