I start a new job this week. I know where to go, what time to get there, what time to eat lunch and what time I leave – but that’s it. Everything else is pretty much an unknown. This normally might not sound like a big deal, but I’m a planner and unknowns to a planner communicates death (or at least disaster!).
I accepted this position two months ago and I’ve been dreading it ever since. Until recently I’m not even sure why I said I would take it! I just felt like I should… To help me deal with the anxiety I’ve been feeling about it, I started seeing a psychologist. I learned a lot from my most recent session.
I saw a perplexed look come across my psychologist’s face as she listened to me answer to her question, “What are the thoughts that you’re having when you feel anxious about this?” When I finished my tirade she said, “So, it sounds like unless you know every detail of how this job will look and what you are supposed to do each day, you feel anxious.” I told her that she had about summed it up.
After explaining to me that it’s impossible for anyone to know every single thing that’s going to happen ahead of time, she said some words that I know were God speaking through her to me. She said, “I think this is a great opportunity for you to learn be okay with not knowing everything.”
You see, even if I know everything there is to know about this job ahead of time, there will still be unknowns. And I’m learning to thank God that there are unknowns.
Thank God there were unknown motives for why Joseph was hated by his brothers, or why he sold into slavery and thrown into jail. Of course, reading the Joseph account now, I can see clearly that God had a bigger plan. The gift of Joseph’s story is that because he lived his life with faith and assurance of what he couldn’t see, I can have faith and assurance as well that there is more God in every situation of my life than I know.
For two months my faith and assurance were being smothered by thoughts of worry. I was swarmed by the fear of not being able to know my new job completely, fear of not doing it perfectly. I was so paralyzed by these thought patterns that I completely lost the ability to see beyond myself. Yet, even in that seemingly colorless black hole of anxiety and self-focus, God has been at work. Using Joseph as a model, I am learning to not only be okay with the unknowns but be excited about them. And slowly, that black hole is becomingcolorful.
Martha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5. When she’s not folding laundry, c
ooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands; she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!