Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Certainty

Back in the good ol' days, when I thought I was so smart and on top of things, I enjoyed the sensation of believing that I could be certain about my place in life, my place in the world.

I believed my cute starter home paved the way to my forever home and henceforth, I began making proclamations that I would never move again, that I would never leave my town, that I would grow old and wrinkly at the end of that longish lane.

Well, who could've known that I'd wrinkle so prematurely?

I don't know what it is about this life that deceives us into believing that it's the big, bad point. This here? Is it. Or so we tell ourselves.

It's been a long road already and I'm not even close to the end of it, but I'm starting to finally catch a glimmery glimpse of the truth: we were never made for this.

And if that's true (it is), then there's no reason to get attached to things like a bank barn that could split your heart down the middle for all of its beauty in the hazy light of early morning. It's okay to appreciate these things. It would be foolish not to. But wide planked floors and flower gardens that stretch around a home like a hug are fleeting. They hold no promise, I've learned. So I'll make no promises to them.

I'll do something most improbable and I'll latch on to uncertainty. I'll buckle up and take a spin in the Fun House, where one minute things look short and squatty and the next they're all stretched out and wobbly, like that screaming Munch dude.

I don't know what's around the corner. Every time I think I do, I'm proven wrong.

Uncertainty can feel loose and shaky. Without the trust that it's being dealt by hands that won't ever let you fall, it will keep you company when the house is quiet and the halls are dark. It'll rob you of your appetite and creep up on you like a cold sore.

I still go there, all too often. I still get so wrapped up in me and my life that I forget that it's not up to me to unearth the answers or to fight to keep my world on its course.

So right now, when I feel just a bit adrift in the not knowing for sure, I remind myself again and again that I am simply a passenger on this flight. All I really have to do is believe that I'll arrive in one piece, wherever it is I'm headed, then skip down the aisle, so ready to be there, so excited to see what happens next.

*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.


  1. Your words have never been spoken with such truth and honesty....I completely agree, one hundred and ten percent.

  2. Yes! And amen! Although, we have no foreseeable changes in the future, it feels like certainty is something I have but rather wouldn't. I like change. For me it is harder to stay put. I get antsy. It's almost like my challenge is the opposite of yours with the same end goal. I love how God orchestrates our paths in life... So unique and perfectly plotted just for us.

  3. I think realizing we are passengers on the plane makes it possible to be silly. To be joyful. To not be so dang serious about the seriousness of this world. Dang it!

  4. Ummmm.... do you recall that today is a very special day and a very special birthday girl came here to see a very Wiley little boy's shenanigans?

    Oh, you forgot? I see...

    And to think I had salsa out of my very special bowl and thought of you whilst I ate it all the live-long day. To think...

    I had lovely words about this post, but they seemed to have flown the coop now.

    No wait... here's one:

    I actually thought about this in the shower this morning. (Are you stalking my thoughts?)

    I placed a great deal of certainty on how the birth of my children would be played out. Who would be there, what it would be like.

    When I woke up from my c-section with Riley, alone in the hospital, my baby in NICU not breathing, I realized- I. Was. Wrong.

    I gave up after that. No more certainty for me.


  5. a) I love the pictures - the rollerblades and the silly face make me smile - the joy of childhood at its finest
    b) I needed this post Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll take this as "The captain has turned on the seatbelt light" reminder for my flight. :)

  6. I 'get' this! ;)

    Hey, I bet homegirl's clocking up the miles on those blades much more than she would have on a longish gravel lane!
    So happy for her!!!

  7. Oh boy...I don't think it's really fair of me to leave a comment, because I don't think I can put into words what I'm feeling/thinking. I appreciate what you've written here...oh, so very much.

    I think you should publish this here 31 days of letting go...I kid you not...I would buy several copies...I'd give it as shower gifts for new mom's & wives...because you are writing what God told you to and people like me are here to listen.

    You have changed the way my husband and I pray...and I thank you.

  8. If I could highlight your words on my computer screen I so would.

  9. Mmmm, I'm at a stage now where I think we're gonna have to let go of something we thought was pretty certain. ... I do like it, mind you, when we know God is teaching us through all our changes - it comforts us to be reminded that 'here we have no continuing city... but we seek one to come'. Ahhhh - one day soon :)

  10. Way back when, I studied Eng Lit at uni in Yorkshire.

    I was hit between the eyes by Keats in general but in particular by something he called negative capability, that is being in the midst of uncertainty without "irritable reaching after fact and reason". It seemed then, and still now, to reach into my heart, and make me wonder why it sometimes feel so hard to let go of a formulaic approach to life - 'If I live here, do this, achieve that, I will have a successful life'. When actually allowing God to lead and create his unimaginable, unpredictable beauty in our lives is safest, most whole, "successful" place to be. Funny how a secular poet's words can, over two decades, nudge me closer to God...

    This series is challenging me lots! Thinking of you in the midst of all this change. xx

  11. Another great post. This world is definitely NOT our home as it is now, we are just passing through. For now we enjoy and learn on the journey looking forward to seeing and being with the Creator and Conductor, Jesus our Savior. He is with us every step of the way and one day we will have a new heaven and a hew earth to enjoy forever.

    Love and hugs to you and yours ~ FlowerLady

  12. This total abandonment of self and what we perceive as the next step, it's our worship. Truly. And the thing is, only He can bring us to that place where we're ready to say "okay, I surrender" by showing Himself faithful again and again. I really appreciated what you said here: "it's not up to me to unearth the answers"--it's what I need to surrender into, for sure!

    Rich blessings this weekend, girlfriend. May you be delightfully surprised and meet His feet at your gratitude.

  13. Just have to say I really appreciate what you write...sometimes it leaves me feeling all warm and cozy, but other times it leaves me very unsettled...that's a good thing...God works in mysterious ways...even through a blog post:)

  14. This! This is hard for me. I cling to certainty with fingernails I really don't have :)

  15. So true. I remember a few years ago feeling so content and then wham!

    p.s. Love the Rubster.

  16. Skipping is good : )
    Love, a wrinkled 35 year old.

  17. the ride is where the excitement is.

  18. Shannan your every post in this series has been just beautiful and applicable to all of us. Not only are your words lyrical, but they're strong and useful, and I'm thinking I'll be referring back to them time and again like a favorite part in a favorite book. Thanks so very much for taking the time to share what you're learning :)

    Happy weekending!

  19. Now FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

  20. Great post!!! Seems all of us can relate and have had life experience with certainty...or uncertainty.

    I linked back to you this morning a post that has a similar theme of letting go. Just wanted you to know.

    Happy Saturday!


  21. SO glad you are doing this series. I think sharing your feelings has to be helping through the changes. All you really need is God and your sweet family.

  22. There is something very beautiful in uncertainty. That blind trust...that safety net removed. It's exciting.

  23. I found your blog thru Kristen and I am so glad I did! I love what I have read so far and look forward to reading more. Your blog is just beautiful!

  24. This series, I tell ya. It's pulling at my heart just a bit. I leave here thinking and feeling and praying...and looking forward to more letting go.

  25. "I still get so wrapped up in me and my life that I forget that it's not up to me to unearth the answers or to fight to keep my world on its course."

    When questions about our future swirl -- "Will we move next year? Will the deployment orders come today?" -- my heart is quietetd yet still sings from your good word here. I adore you, FPF!

  26. i'm just a passenger.
    i cling to that and fight it all at once.
    praying for being better at the passenger part.
    help me trust you fully, lord!

  27. Hanna, I totally get your comment, I cling and fight all at the same time. At times, I try to be pilot instead of passenger then wonder why I'm so stressed.

  28. OVER and OVER proven wrong when I think I have a plan!
    They hold no promise, I've learned. So I'll make no promises to them.

    Is brilliant and beautiful...and I love visiting here!

  29. Love you little sound bites. They are so good. Passenger on this flight. Me too! But I think you are more confident in your seat than I am. The turbulence is kind of freaking me out. I do have faith in the landing. Destination? Fun to think about.

  30. This is just exactly what I was trying to write about yesterday! Only you've said it better :) So fun to find other people in the same place as we are.