It is becoming more frequent over the last several months for people to come into my office expressing anxiety over the uncertainty of the future. There are so many things we do not know about what is going to happen, whether it’s the containment of the coronavirus, reopening of schools and businesses, or some return to normal life – whatever that means. Grasping for some certainty about the future is a natural and common reaction many of us have had recently.
Certainty about the future gives us a sense of control because we believe we know what is going to happen. We make plans and stick to schedules, then feel like the future has some definition to it that we’ve been a part of creating.
The reality, though, is that we’re never truly in control of the future. If there was any year to teach us that, it would 2020. It has brought so much uncertainty and revealed to all of us how little control we actually have over our lives, circumstances, and the future. How, then, can we live with this jarring reality that our illusion of control was just that – an illusion?
Let It Go
The first thing I have found myself saying to people (including myself) repeatedly is to let go of outcomes. Detach yourself from what you want the future to be or how you want things to go. It’s okay to have some expectations but to hold them loosely. Detaching from outcomes involves letting the future define itself while you focus on the present moment.
An interesting thing happens when we focus too much on the future. We miss the right-here-right-now, present moment. We miss what’s right in front of us.
It can be scary to let go of the future. Leaving that up to life to unfold without our intervening feels very helpless, especially for us control freaks. Trusting God to know and have good purposes for the future is such a challenge, and requires…faith!
However, when you allow yourself to not be in control, reorient yourself so that God is in control of life and the future, and accept what you do have control over, you find peace. This is how life was intended to be. Letting go of what is not ours to control is a liberating experience once you get beyond the feelings of fear and insecurity. Trust me, though, you do have to work through those challenging feelings to get to peace.
The second part of the equation, after letting go of the future, is to look down at your own feet. Focus your attention on the ground right in front of you and where your very next step or two will be. This may seem simple but it can be hard.
What you do have control over is where your feet go next. Where is the stable ground in front of you where you can stand securely? You may not know where that path leads, but for now, that doesn’t have to matter. Knowing where it leads may not be yours to know.
When you focus on what’s right in front of you, you begin to see the resources and needs you have inside. You can find great relief in not knowing or needing to know the future, and in taking control of what you actually have power over.
The present moment is all you really have control over. What you say and do impacts the very moment you’re in, shifting it around and affecting the people near you. This isn’t the same as controlling things or manipulating someone; that is closely related to the desired outcome. When you focus on your actions in the present moment but detached from outcomes, you merely influence the outcome but hold acceptance for the future to be something you might not want.
If that happens, remain focused on the present moment and work through the feelings that come up. If you do this well, you will find acceptance for life on life’s terms.
BEGIN ONLINE THERAPY IN OREGON
Our Clackamas and Hillsboro based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Anxiety, stress, trauma, depression, and conflict do not have to rule your life. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Begin feeling more calm, confident, and peaceful, from the comfort of your home.
OTHER MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AT LIFE DISCOVERY COUNSELING IN OREGON
No matter what you want to cover in online therapy, we know that you may have more concerns to talk about. Or, you might know someone else who does. If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!