The Certainty of Uncertainty: Life Lessons

Time and time again, life proves me wrong. Most recently, I remember thinking that if I could make it through my last pregnancy, I’d never have to go through anything quite as hard again. Though no challenge since then has been as physically demanding, I was definitely wrong about my trials ending 1 1/2 years ago. Since social distancing/quarantine started for Covid-19, I’ve had relearn a few tough lessons, especially when it comes to uncertainty.

This little guy has no idea that life is different than normal. 🙂

Preparedness and Fear

“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

D&C 38:30

I’ve read this quote many times, but I’m just starting to realize what it actually means. When we were living in Idaho as poor college students, I remember doing everything I could to save us money while we finished school and had 2 babies. Still, we came to a point where we ran out of money before James’s real teaching job started. Though I felt like a failure for needing to take out some loans for our move, things eventually worked out.

8 years later, we are much more prepared for “the end of the world”. We have a good supply of the things recommended for hard times:

  • a savings account that would cover 3-6 months of expenses
  • a 72-hour kit
  • food storage
  • the necessary degrees and skills for providing for our family
  • Bonus: an outside office that I felt compelled to finish for James back in August. Its original plan was for a summer job. We had no idea he’d be working from home for his 1st job!

If I’m this prepared, why am I still afraid?

Growth from Uncertainty

I realized that there’s a difference between worrying about something once in a while or being completely paralyzed by fear, unable to act. In small doses, fear is a helpful emotion that forces us to act in order to stay safe.

This interesting article talks more about uncertainty and fear. One quote I really loved:

Fear energizes and provides focus for challenge and learning.

“Be Very Afraid: Uncertainty, Fear, and Achievement” by Matt Walker

Being prepared definitely hasn’t gotten rid of all my fear, but it’s helped me feel it in smaller, more manageable doses. Contrast anxious feelings with those of terror. They are not the same thing! It’s true that I feel anxious more often than normal right now, but I am not overcome by it, and that’s what I think the scripture promises.

One Day at a Time

When I don’t know the end of something, I have to take it one day at a time. Think about it: if we knew exactly when Covid-19 would die out, there wouldn’t be a mass panic to buy everything at the grocery store or so much fear-mongering in the media. It’s the uncertainty that’s the real test here. We have no control over when this all ends, and that’s really unsettling.

Going through a period of uncertainty 8 years ago still couldn’t completely prepare me for this trial. I remember praying every day for the challenge of unemployment to be over. The bank account dwindled to almost nothing with no prospect of work, but I couldn’t change it. I had to rely on God every single day to take care of my family and keep going, even though the future was uncertain. When our current tiny town offered James a job, we rejoiced, even though we had to move 500 miles away. That trial eventually ended, and so will this one.

Letting Go

After all I’ve done to be prepared, there’s nothing else I can do except be patient and let things go that I can’t control. I’d much prefer to have my whole future planned out with a neat bow on top, but that’s not how things are right now. Right now, I’m learning to be more flexible and patient in my day-today life.

I know that eventually this will end and be just another blip on the radar. Things always work out, even if they’re not exactly as I planned. The future may be filled with uncertainty, but today is going to be a great day. I will make sure of it!

I have a lot more posts on self-reliance here.

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