Running into Uncertainty

Photo Credit: Patty Maher

Running into Uncertainty

I read an interview with Jonathan Fields about his new book Uncertainty. He said most of us don’t like uncertainty because it causes fear and anxiety. So we avoid it at all cost. I’m typically the guy with the plan. I like routine. So when I encounter times of uncertainty I often try and negate the effects or get it over with as soon as possible.

The last few weeks I have been more upbeat, for good reason. I’ve got new friendships, I’m training for a marathon, and I’ve got creative outlets outside of my day job. At the same time, I have run into a great deal of uncertainty. Each of these new things in my life also come with its own set of uncertainties.

Based on my past reactions, I would have run from the uncertainity or minimized it. However, this time around I seem to be standing in the face of it. Instead of focusing on how everything could go wrong, I’m trying to focus on the opportunites. I got a call  about a contract position at a Fortune 100 company in the area. My first thought was to look at the negatives. I don’t think I am talented enough and I don’t want to leave a full-time job for a six month contract job in this economy.

But then I started looking at the opportunities. I have been looking for a job that balances time with people and coding.  The pay is considerably more than my current job. Enough that by the end of the six months, I could walk away debt free. I have scrimped and pared back my lifestyle for the last six years to get out of debt faster. To finally realize that goal would be indescribable. And without that debt hanging over my head, I would have greater freedom to pursue other things.

I shared with a friend the other day that I am working on a book that takes place in Vietnam. I mentioned that I struggle with making sure it is culturally accurate. She was silent for a moment and then said, “Sounds like you need to take a trip.” At first, I brushed it off as a crazy idea. I’m doing everything I can to get out of debt. How could I justify spending the money on a trip like that. A few days later, I got the crazy idea of getting sponsors for my trip, which brings up so many more questions. However, I finally came to the conclusion, “What do I have to lose?”

Ultimately, I think that is what Jonathan is trying to get at. What do we have to lose? It’s not going to kill me if I run headlong into this uncertainty. And the more I walk in this uncertainty, the more I remember I don’t have all the answers.

From my perspective, the intersection of uncertainty and action is faith. I don’t know the outcome but I trust in the One who does. So I act by walking into the uncertainty.

So what about you? Is there a time when you were uncertain and braved the winds of fear and waves of anxiety? What happened as a result of persevering?