There are a few things in life I cannot stand: Confusion, Questions Answered with Questions, and Disillusionment. These are the times when I am ready to throw in the towel. Or attempt to sweep it under the rug. Or ignore whatever is bothering me.
And today, I sit at my kitchen table feeling this way. Troubled.
While I can pinpoint the central focus of my troubled nature, I can’t seem to find on my own accord what to do with this. Purpose, Direction, and Action normally come naturally to me in most situations. However, now, the current one I am mulling over in the silence of my home is beyond my normal constructs.
“lack of understanding; uncertainty… the state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something.”
Bewildered, I like that word. This is my feeling. I am bewildered about my current situation. Uncertainty seems to be plaguing me right now. And the only way for me to begin to work through my thoughts is to somehow vocalize my process.
“a feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.”
This is good too. Why? Well, I am typically a well-natured person who believes the best in people. What happens when the best isn’t there? Or just when you thought things were improving or getting better, the bottom drops out. Disappointment comes in and that is part of my feelings now.
What do I do about this?
My Process to Providence
Whenever these feelings creep in, I start by identifying where I am at. See above: I am disillusioned and confused. Once here, I decided where I want to be: Clarity and Hopeful. And for some reason, a Hobbit House feels like this to me.
Now that I have two points, how do I get from the start to the finish?
Typically, I enlist the same tactics. They start upward, go inward, and reach outward. Here are my four major tactics for feeling troubled.
1. Divine Connection
My first stop tonight is my Bible and Prayer. Stopping before God and asking for his wisdom, knowledge, and understanding always help prepare me for the stops on my journey.
What do I do?
I go to scripture where I have found help before. These are verses I may not have memorized, however, I know their coordinance in the Bible to find them every time.
I work through these until something snags me to find timeless truth to apply the situation. It might start down with a few verses like Esther 4:14, and somehow take me to the book next to it. Then jump me to a place in the New Testament where Jesus references the Old Testament and boom, there is something important to review.
2. Inward Inspection
Next, I jot down my notes of where I am with my troubles. Write down the scripture, and start handwriting my thoughts and feelings. Working through every piece of information to understand what it is I am feeling and why I am feeling it. It gives me clarity as to what I need to address.
After I have written longhand notes on how I am feeling and why I feel it, I make a few bullet points for my quick review. Typically, I pray over these points and sometimes will leave them be for a day or two.
3. Outward Reach
After a few days of reflection and prayer, I seek wise counsel. First, I go to my wife. She has a gift of discernment. And always hits the nail right on the head. She will help me really understand my bullet points and sometimes help me re-evaluate those points. This gives me better insight to me since she knows me best.
My next level of wise counsel are friends, mentors, and people that truly ‘sharpen iron.’ I look for people who have experienced what I have experienced or have significantly more experience in life than I do. These are the people who help me see other points of view.
4. Make a Decision & Take Action
I cannot merely make a decision. When I am faced with troubling situations, I know, I have to take action as soon as I make a decision. Otherwise, I may chicken out, put it off, or run from doing anything. And if I do those things, I might as well have done none of these steps.
Once the decision is made, it’s time to reach out to that person or lean into the problem at hand. At this point, I take each action step ahead of me right after the others. After all, it's in each step that we move forward.
Sometimes, I am wrong in my thinking and the council has provided me with part of my help. In these times, I need to re-evaluate where I am at and start over on these steps. New information or better understanding will make it easy to make a new plan. And then, we can move forward.
All that to say, we all find ourselves troubled. I am a living example of it. However, when I find myself feeling troubled, I stick to these four steps and one bonus. As I was thinking through my current situation, I thought this might be helpful to others. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But tonight, I am going to share it in hopes that it does help.