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Recently I have found that as I talk with friends, acquaintances, or strangers, they often share that they feel a sense of sadness or bereavement that the world as we know it is either disappearing or is changing beyond recognition. It feels as if we are heading towards a brave, new frontier and need to make the tools for navigating this new unknown landscape literally every new moment.

Certainly, we seem to be facing unprecedented levels of change, uncertainty and concerns for the future. With Brexit on our doorstep, political unrest across Europe, America, Australia and elsewhere, and the ever present threat of terrorism, economic volatility has become common place. We are juggling parenting our kids with parenting our parents, managing dual-income households, wading through all things corporate, living with technological overwhelm and in many places, dealing with the terrible aftermath from natural disasters.

In addition to all these external changes, we are also being called to transform internally. Humanity is undergoing enormous consciousness shifts in terms of interaction, relationship, gender and sexuality, and many of us are feeling a call to evolve and somehow embrace a new way to be.

How do we maintain our sanity, our sense of peace and closeness to God in the face of so much change or for some people, total chaos?
For many of us, living in a place of unknowing can actually feel worse than receiving news that may be the opposite from what we want or hope for. It can raise feelings of ‘what now?’ or a head-in-hands sense of ‘what next?’ Health scares, financial uncertainty and other such worries can raise tremendous fear when we don’t know what life might look like months from now or if there will be enough in our bank accounts to cover the bills. It can feel unsettling, completely outside our comfort zone, and shatters the illusion we all hold on to - that we are in control.

And yet, if we are willing to keep breathing and remain with this feeling, there is also a place within the unknown that is new, exhilarating, and filled with great potential. If we can move beyond over analysis, living in the unknown can be an exceptional opportunity for spiritual and personal growth, for it is at these times of vulnerability that God breaks through most powerfully with outrageous grace and with deep love. There are actually great gifts waiting to be discovered in times of uncertainty. Sometimes we simply need to give ourselves permission to outgrow our old clothes with worn elbows, lost buttons, and hems dropping and try on something brand new that is outside our usual style.

Living in the unknown provides us with an opportunity to:

• Examine our values and be willing to explore life from the inside out.

• Practice gratitude – being thankful to God for all we have (did you know that a daily practice of prayerful gratitude can alter our mood faster than anything else?)

• Define what being happy really means (the answer may be surprising)

• Identify what needs to be truly rejuvenated

• Practice living in the present moment, open to the Holy spirit’s prompting (there is little or no stress in being right here, right now in the presence of God)

• Turn to the introspective side: stop and take time to explore the fears and challenges preventing the freedom to move forward

• Examine how things are seen: realistically approaching being an optimist or a pessimist

• Find the courage to ask for and receive help from others: build a support network

• Serve others less well off: nothing takes us outside of our own worries faster than putting together a box for a food bank

• Embrace physicality: yoga, palates, swimming - conscious movement is essential for staying grounded during times of uncertainty

So, how about you? As you sit with your own uncertainty, consider reflecting on this: Was there ever a time in your life where something seemingly “bad” actually turned into the best thing that ever happened to you? When did you feel most alive in life and what were the circumstances? And considering the bullet points above is there one or two that support you in balancing yourself and finding your centre? If so, I encourage you to try them out.

At the end of the day, we are all together in the same saucepans simmering for dinner. Don’t be afraid to mix up the vegetables a little bit – it is ingrained in the image of God in us to be interdependent, and it is definitely better seasoned when we are together round the table in good company. I’ll set you a place.