Who’s in Control Here? (Dealing with Ambiguity)

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24, NLT

Research has demonstrated that there are common attributes evident in people who are effective and successful in the workplace. These “success factors” are demonstrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. And while these characteristics on their own may be of some value, as believers we need to take into account the very clear words of Jesus when he said, “without me, you can do nothing.” A success factor may be great characteristic to have but, like everything, if not used in line with God’s direction, it may work against us. So, let’s consider what it might be like to work from the heart of God

Take Dealing with Ambiguity, for example. Do you hate it when things are up in the air?  Do you feel uncomfortable when you can’t seem to get the information you need to make the “right” decision?  Well, you are NOT going to like what I’m about to say.  The truth is that you never will have all the pertinent information to make good decisions and things will never be within your control.  When you think you have a good grip on everything, it is simply because you can’t see what you aren’t seeing!  The important question about ambiguous circumstances is this—in the midst of confusion, when everything is up in the air, is it better to be blind and know it or to be blind and think you’re seeing clearly?  You see, one of the best things that can happen to us as believers is to be confronted with how much we don’t know, aren’t aware of, and cannot understand.  Why?  Because then we just might agree with Jesus when He declared: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT) 

In truth, that bumper sticker that proudly states God is my Copilot should cause us to run over to the driver and say “Quick–change seats!  You don’t see well enough to be the pilot!” This doesn’t mean that we should get sloppy about planning or stop gathering information and following good critical thinking processes when we have situations to manage and problems to solve.  It does mean that we should always factor in the realization that we cannot see the future, we do not know what other people will do, and we may be missing important information no matter how hard we have tried to be thorough…in other words, we simply don’t have the ability to direct our own paths.  In every challenging and complex circumstance ambiguity will always be present but that is no reason for angst.

At the risk of sounding cliché, there is great comfort in being able to sincerely say “I do not know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future.”  Please notice, I did not say “I know Who holds the future.”  It is one thing to know that God stands outside of time and views all of eternity—past, present and future—as if it is happening at once.  (Boggles the mind but it’s true.)  Still, knowing that really doesn’t help with the ambiguity angst, does it?  On the other hand, knowing God personally; experiencing Him as a loving Father who will talk with you about your situations and offer His perspective on things, now that’s a different story.  As the above scripture asks, why would we need to know everything if we have a close, trusting relationship with the One who does?

What’s my point?  Stop trying to clear up the fog of ambiguity and make the all the puzzle pieces fit together and take advantage of the amazing “ambiguity-management system” you have been given. It’s called a personal relationship with God.  Take the time and energy that you have been spending trying to figure everything out on your own and invest it in quiet time with Jesus.  Look for your answers in His Word, ask for wisdom and expect to receive it. God has promised that He will be found if you seek Him.  In fact, He’s right here, right now, just waiting for you to ask Him those questions that have been puzzling you.

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor?

You will be someone who:

  • confidently copes with change because “God’s got you”
  • shifts gears easily and without angst
  • can act without having the total picture, trusting one step at a time
  • is calm and can wait patiently when things are up in the air
  • handles risk and uncertainty with positive expectations and hope

The Secret: Realize that you will never understand the entire picture, but God does. Nothing is ambiguous to Him.  Put God in the driver’s seat and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit who will tell you things to come and provide you with all you need for the moment. Rely on this promise: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

8 Comments on “Who’s in Control Here? (Dealing with Ambiguity)”

  1. Wow! I was so amazed when I read this because I had a supervisor tell me that I was not ambiguous. I would always worry and be anxious about my work . It was actually one of the words that was used in coaching and training within the company that I worked for at that time frame. I still find myself worrying and being anxious about the unknown with work and my personal life. It means I need to put more of my focus on God and spend that quality time with him so that I will prepared for what he has in store for me.

  2. Wow! I was so amazed when I read this because I had a supervisor tell me that I was not ambiguous. I would always worry and be anxious about my work . It was actually one of the words that was used in coaching and training within the company that I worked for at that time frame. I still find myself worrying and being anxious about the unknown with work and my personal life. When I do not spend that quality time with God, I find myself worrying and being anxious over everything.

  3. I, like many people, would like to know what the future holds. Thanks for reminding me that only God is omniscient. Only total faith and trust in the God will get us through those moments of “Ambiguity Angst”. I can always trust him to work things out as he has many times in the past. I will continue to receive God’s promises through His word (bible) which well evict any ambiguity angst that tries to find refuge in my mind. Thanks Barb for sharing another spiritual weapon to fight the good fight.

  4. An “on-time” Word, indeed!

    It’s definitely easy to get “stuck” because every thing isn’t crystal clear. Then frustration and anxiety set in, drawing us further away from God.

    Thank you, Barb! Will keep reading!!!

  5. Barb, thank you for your eloquent discussion. I just looked up a quote that I dearly love, and found that it is from Woody Allen. Geez, who knew! Here is the quote:

    “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

    I believe in planning — to the extreme. I have found freedom in knowing that God’s plans for me are so much richer than I could ever dream. My work is now to be quiet, listen, and hear.

  6. Once again, what the world teaches us as “the right thing to do” is 180 degrees out from what God teaches us. We’re told from early on that we are supposed to know how to do things, to accomplish tasks given to us with a minimum of help, and to ask for help is to admit that we’re not up to the task. As we rise to the level of supervisor or manager in whatever world system we’re laboring in, needing help is tantamount to demonstrating that you’re not qualified for the job.

    But I’ve come to realize at long last that God never intended for us to go it alone. That is the whole point of the Holy Spirit, that we shouldn’t “fake it” or fumble around until we happen to get it right. He’s there for us… Jesus made sure of it when He left us, saying “I’m sending someone to help you.” He meant HELP US IN EVERY WAY, WITH EVERYTHING.

    To try to go it alone, to leave success or failure to chance, is to ignore the greatest help we could ever have. I think God’s attitude was, “Your success is too important to Me to leave it in your hands.”

  7. It is always good to be reminded to seek the face of the Lord and listen to His voice. So many times life gets in the way and we react or panic within our understanding and not listen and trust that He has everything under control. Thank you for reminding me He’s got it and I should just seek Him and all will be well with my soul and life situation.

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