We’re often presented with challenges that we do not have the answers for. We might have some ideas, but the ultimate solution eludes us. Many of us despair in these moments. We may react rashly, or freeze. There’s an alternative approach that works really well. It’s called wading in.
There’s a myth that we have to come up with the answers quickly. You can hear it in the folks around us saying, “What are you going to do?” What are your plans?” Then they start throwing around all the obvious ideas we of course have already considered. Sometimes the best answer is, “I don’t know.”
From “I don’t know,” we can start fresh.
I remember my wife and I came to a head about eight years into our marriage. We were frustrated and saw no way out. We tried counseling, mediators, our family tried to help, but we weren’t getting anywhere. In one of our many arguments at that time an idea kept popping up in my head. Finally I blurted it out. It was to attend a marriage workshop at our church. We had no idea if it would help, but it was an idea – we waded in. We just celebrated lucky 13.
I was listening to a well-known businessman give a talk recently. He discussed his journey as he grew what has become the largest business in the world for his field. He rarely made one decision that was the break through – many were mistakes. Rather it was a series of decisions. His journey to success was much like wading out to a dock on an unknown lake. He just kept feeling around with his feet hoping he didn’t sink.
I saw a friend’s company get hit with a financial blow that was by all accounts insurmountable. He was advised to close. He listened to the many folks around him confirming their suggestions and nodding his head. At the end, they’d all ask, “So, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to have another look at the data.” He waded in. He kept wading in until he was swimming. He’s currently doggy paddling as I write this. Not too shabby.
Many struggle with faith and religion. In some moments it seems the solution to all our problems. In others, it seems the cause of all our problems. The trick is to wade in. If we shrug off faith in God we’ve merely traded one set of problems for another.
The decisions before us may be financial, medical, relational, theological, ethical or otherwise. They can be overwhelming – paralyzing even. Attitude is key. For me, when I walk with God and remain open to his guidance, I get little signals – and sometimes big ones. No matter what, I keep going. I keep wading into the unknown to discover amazing new insights, ideas, and opportunities.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson