How can we be OK with the uncertainty? How can we embrace the unpredictability of life?
I am a worrier. I know, I know, Jesus says, "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:25-34) and the Apostle Paul says, "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
I know these things in my head, but getting them into my heart are a different story. I like to play out different scenarios and make pro/con lists. I like to think of the worst thing that could happen, so that I will be relieved if it isn't quite that bad.
Elnes says that religion does a disservice when it seeks to remove uncertainty from life (25). He says, "Faith built upon certainty is a house of cards that falls apart when the 'unshakeable foundation' shifts even slightly" (25).
Struggle and uncertainty are a part of life. Elnes wonders if our lives were a movie. We want to watch a movie where the actors are uncertain about the future. We want to watch a movie where the actors are not sure how to respond in every situation. Elnes says, "Too much certainty removes the adventure from life and sucks the joy out of relationships" (27).
I think what helps the most is when I tell myself again and again and again that my constant worrying is not helping. Elnes has a personal mantra, "Do not worry about anything until it presents itself to be worried about" (39).
So, there is no use worrying about the future until it presents itself to be worried about. There is no use worrying about my car breaking until it presents itself to be worried about. There is no use worrying about the teenage years for my children until they present themselves to be worried about. There is no use worrying about the tax bill until I sit down and actually start working on my taxes.
This morning I was reading a magazine article about how to live longer. I mean who doesn't want to live longer? There are so many things that you have to do to live longer, but they summarized it down to one. Move more. When I am incapacitated with worry, I can move more. I can put one foot in front of the other. My favorite John Wesley quotation is one that he told to new preachers in March 1738. He told them, "Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith."
Preach peace till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach peace.
Preach strength till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach strength.
Preach love till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach love.