How are you tolerating this time of strain and stress?
Where quarantine and isolation has left many feeling exhausted, struggling and alone. Especially when the pattern of normal life has been broken by this period of uncertainty. Perhaps money has been short, or there have been impacts to your work, from organisations closing to workforces being laid off.
Changeableness has become an unavoidable part of our new lives. Because we cannot see the future or be certain about what is going to happen tomorrow. We all vary in our ability to tolerate this uneasiness. But we know God directs our path. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Some bad traits we resort to when we feel unsettled or insecure…
- Seek constant reassurance from others – our friends, family on their opinion on every decision we have to make.
- Endless list-making – making long lists of things we need to do, repeatedly.
- Double checking – calling family, friend continuously to check they are ok, checking and rechecking things are done correctly.
- Refusing to delegate – wanting to do all the tasks, just to make sure it is done perfectly.
- Avoiding or procrastinating – feeling anxious can push you to avoid everything and everyone. Not answering your phone, or take care of daily chores because you feel you don’t have the ability to cope.
- Distraction – being so busy that you cannot deal with important issues, but delving in something that might be a time waster or burying your head in the sand.
So how do you step away from being intolerant to choosing hope? The initial thought is to learn to be more tolerant of all the ambiguity that you are unable to handle. Because negative behaviours sap your time and energy. Remove the fun out of life. Make surprises or unexpected events feel threatening. And in the process you might miss a lot of great opportunities, simply because you chose to remain uncertain. We all are unable to see the future, but feeling hesitant or brave about it is a choice we can only make. Despite this God promises us that His ways are higher than anything else. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
6 Steps To Change Your Thoughts, Emotions and Behaviours From Indecisive To Hopeful…
Let’s pretend that everything is ok. Start acting as if you can tolerate any tentative and unsure questions hurled your way today.
Step #1| Make a list of all the reasons why you choose uncertain instead of promising
What are you doing to try and feel more certain or to avoid uncertainty? By seeking constant reassurance? Doing a lot of double-checking? Procrastinating or avoiding situations? Researching excessively before making a decision?
Find something from your daily life that causes you anxiety, then write it down.
- I couldn’t do this ___________ because I felt_____________ and needed to check with _______________
- Fill in the blanks. Then keep a track of this and how you can change.
Step #2| From 1-10, score your tolerance level?
You have begun acting as if you will accept unsettled moments, so choose something small. Anything easy to manage and change. Like why you won’t delegate tasks to anyone else. Then rate each behaviour and how you would like to reduce this pattern of doubtful emotions.
Step #3 | Practice until it becomes an unconscious effort
Next you have to make time to practice doing this. Maybe one item on your list every day. Like double checking everything you do. Move from fluctuating between apprehensive to determined.
Step #4 | Record your progress
You are doing great. Because you are choosing to act as if you can tolerate the unsure times we live in. Take the example of when you went to do a food shop or went to the mall, how you adapt to the new normal of social distancing and supermarket rules.
What did you do? How did you feel while you were doing this, was it easier or harder than you thought? What happened, did it all turn out ok? If not, what did you do?
Write down your reactions as a way to face situations, and then keep practicing so the difficult tasks eventually becomes easy.
Step #5 | Happy or wise are still great risks
We all know that risks are attached to whatever we do. Life cannot guarantee us that every little thing will go perfectly. And we simply have to learn things as we go along. I can remember the number of times I have forgotten my phone, keys, charger or importantly shopping list at home. And then had to make the choice of whether to drive back home or not. Because sometimes stuff will go wrong.
What we learn is the conclusion – what was your outcome of tolerating uncertain situations and what measure did you use to cope? Noting this or writing it down, helps us for next time. Was the outcome as bad as you expected or not at all?
Most times things turn out ok even if we are not 100% certain when we make the decision. And if they didn’t turn out ok, how do we cope or handle a negative outcome? Project to – how will this ability help me cope with negative outcomes in the future?
And this is not a sign that you have failed in any way, it teaches you how you can cope and learn valuable lessons for future use.
Step #6 | Building momentum
It is a wonderful feeling when you take small steps and then suddenly realise that it wasn’t that bad. And you get more composed and calm in dealing with uncertain situations, so that in time it gradually becomes less difficult. Next time you have to buy a card or present for someone try doing it without asking for any advice.
The more you choose the as if act, the more unruffled you will become with ambivalent times and disconcerting situations. It takes time and strengthening of any muscle to become powerful.
How do you remain motivated to continue and lead yourself effectively through this trying time?
Most of our hopes have turned from wishful thinking where we may have hoped to go on holiday this year. To one of simple but complex impossibilities facing our daily lives. Hope can change our outlook, as it offers a grand horizon with a rainbow to focus on. If hope fades, we stop trying or worse still allow our dreams to falter or die. The need for hope should be more than just surviving. When we feel like we cannot prevail or that we could fail. We find an eternal hope God offers us. God loves us and He has a plan, despite the circumstances around us. He shields us and shows us favour. (Psalm 84:11)
In our relationship with God like a close friendship, we discover that hope is more than just an idea, but one where we know that if we trust God in all things, that assurance can help us anchor through any storm we face. God is the lighthouse that offers us a beacon of confidence despite the terrifying storm swirling. By inviting God to give us His eternal hope, we find peace. (Psalm 29:11) Because He is with us in our darkest days, not only when the sun shines.
You might be thinking life has shot some shocking bullets, but God promises us that nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:35-39) We have a God who is utterly reliable, thought at times we may struggle to understand or be afraid of what we face. (Psalms 112:7)
Placing God at the centre of our lives in the middle of a global pandemic is paramount. Saves us from the hopelessness of a life without Him. (Psalm 7:10) Particularly when we lose our sighting due to adversity and need fresh hope.
Share your thoughts…
What dose of inspiration do you use to help you get past the obstacles in your life?