Overcoming Seasons of Confusion
A couple of weeks ago, I woke and put on shorts and a T-shirt—in February. Perks of living in central Texas. That night, a cold front moved through and the temperature stayed below 60 the next week. The bare trees in my yard sprout tiny buds, but they never seem to open as if waiting for warmer weather, which comes, but then disappears equally as fast. A few years ago, on Easter in central Texas, bluebonnets pushed their way up through fluffy white snow. Confused seasons?
Do you ever feel as confused as the seasons appear? Life sometimes throws junk toward us as constant changes leave us wondering what tomorrow will bring. Daniel Boone once said, “I’ve never been lost, but I was mighty turned around for three days once.” I sometimes feel that way—not quite lost, but definitely turned around.
Nevertheless, confusion isn’t what God wants for our lives. How can we overcome it? I’ll preface my view by saying most confusion comes from brain overload. Wow, did I need a degree to figure that one out? Obvious, yet often overlooked. Sometimes my best action simply requires a brain download—paper, pen, 10-15 minutes, and willingness to transfer every ounce of stuff in my head. The sheer act of dumping it all in black and white frees processing, like cleaning up your computer when memory runs low. Documenting all you need to do allows the brain freedom to consider each of those things written. Amazingly simple, but effective.
Maybe it isn’t just overload, but scenarios in life contributing to disorientation. Step back from the situation turning you in circles. In the middle of circumstances, we aren’t very objective. Taking a step back sometimes brings a new perspective. The past few weeks, a very full plate sent unfocused, thoughts twirling around my mind. With a looming due date on an article, I didn’t know where to start. Nothing seemed to work well as I noodled ideas for the assignment. In spite of needing to write, I took a day off, had lunch with a friend, got a massage and then did a little work before meeting another friend for coffee. Before I got home that evening, my head cleared some. With confusion pushed away, the article flowed. I knew exactly how I wanted to start and proceed through the paragraphs to reach the required word count and craft an interesting story. The break helped me decrease some stress and lessen the lost feelings.
If stepping back doesn’t work, seek wise counsel. Recently I received an offer. Somewhat confused over which direction to take, I prayed, thought about it, prayed some more, and still wasn’t sure. So I did what any self-respecting writer would do; I asked the man who helped me learn most of what I know about writing. I trusted him to provide perspective—and he did. Although he isn’t officially my writing coach, he fills that role in my life. I respect his opinion and know he’ll shoot straight with me, which always helps end confusion. I’ve done the same thing with other trusted friends, who always give me a clear view of truth.
Asking one question or dealing with one thing at a time usually gets me back on the path out of the woods instead of running in circles. With so many different tasks mounting high on my proverbial plate, I retrieved two more plates to offload some things. Then I found myself searching for a platter to accommodate the feast of responsibilities at both work and home. Ever felt that way? Confusion quickly followed, along with frustration. I didn’t know what to do first or next. Sitting down and looking at each task, asking which to do first (literally asking the Lord) my perspective began clearing.
Finally, let go. As you look at all the things muddying your mind, delegate what you can. It’s okay to need help. I love Andy Hunt’s blog, How Not to Eat an Elephant. Why am I doing half the things on my list? And if I really have to eat that elephant, as Andy says, I’m “going to need a lot of friends. Or a lot of Tupperware.”
Time for some synergy?
Thank you for this post. When I’m feeling “turned around for three days,” overwhelmed and confused by what’s on my plate, I have to stop and realize the God we serve is not the author of confusion. I’m in the situation for two reasons: Satan is messing with my head and I’ve committed myself to too many things.
It’s time to stop and re-organize, re-prioritze, take authority over Satan. And pray for God’s guidance and wisdom. After a recent tough struggle with over-commitment, God has taught me to say “yes” to what He tells me to and “no” to what He says no to. And to be realistic.
If someone asks me to do something (for example: I’ve recently agreed to do three book reviews and a full manuscript edit and review), He’s taught me to look at my calendar and my own projects, and give the person an honest assessment of when I can get it done. If it fits their requirements, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too and we both move on.
I agree, it’s crucial we take time on a regular basis to evaluate what’s on our plate and organize and plan and delete those things that are not as important to fulfilling His call on our lives.
Thanks again for a thought-provoking post.