Sunday, May 4, 2014

Embracing Confusion

Right now I am going through a major transition in my life – and it’s a good thing. Everyone around me is happy for me. It’s one of the goals I have had my heart set on for quite a while. But in the midst of this seemingly joyous time, I have some really perplexing feelings: loss, aloneness, anxiety and sadness along with relief, excitement and awareness of the expanded opportunities.

What in the world in going on in my head?

The word “confused” shows up so often in counseling. Although it may mean “I don’t understand”, more often it means I am in a dilemma and I don’t know what to choose. I must take a position but I am afraid to make the wrong decision. It can also mean that there are two seemingly opposite beliefs in play.

“He says he loves me but he keeps saying or doing stupid things that hurt me. What’s up with that?”

“She says she wants to support me, but all she does is criticize or blame me and I feel anything besides supported. Which one is it?”

The truth is probably that in both cases there is no intentional ill will. He does love you, but he fails to see how unloving some of his behavior can be. She does want to support you, but old habits die hard. It’s probably a family of origin issue. From a spiritual standpoint, the flesh can be pretty strong and difficult to manage.  

Confusion often gets us stuck. There does not seem to be a “right” answer. Am I happy or am I sad? Can I be both at the same time? How can I be a friend of God in my spiritual self, but an enemy of God in my sinfulness?

The truth is that peace may only come as we are able to hold both positions at the same time, knowing that we are complicated beings and capable of dealing with complexity. I am feeling a loss of a former career even as I am excited about what lies ahead. What do I need to let go of in order to not be held back? Are there things I have missed that are important, or am I worrying too much? The truth is that I probably have missed things along the way, and I am too anxious about it too.

What really helps is to take myself out of the center of all these issues. Frustration and confusion makes it all about me and I need to shift my perspective and try to see things differently. Do I consider other people? Can I rejoice and be grateful in all things, not for the pain but because I am loved by God?

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