By the time you read this, I will have already made a decision. But right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of uncertainty. Uncertainty is not my favorite place to be.
What’s plaguing me right now is the decision I must make about my children’s education for the impending school year. Here in California, all schools are mandated to start online this fall. I can choose to enroll my three kids in conventional public school, as we’ve always done, with the hope that distance learning will be a short-lived experience and eventually students will be back in the classroom. Our district is also offering an online-only independent study option where students can learn at their own pace with a one-year commitment. Or I could choose to homeschool my children in the traditional sense and be responsible for choosing their curriculum and guiding all their learning.
I’m like a weary traveler who has come to a three-pronged fork in the road with no map or compass to confirm which way I should go. From what I can see, each path has some bright spots as well as rocky terrain. All are partially shrouded in indecipherable shadows.
I feel stranded, abandoned, unprepared to take a step forward in any direction.
Indecision paralysis has its grip on me. My anxiety rises with each passing minute.
As my eyes dart from one path to the next, the questions in my mind swirl with increasing intensity. What if I can’t juggle work and meeting my children’s needs? What if I make the wrong decision? What if I change my mind? What if I’m stuck and can’t turn back? What if it’s a disaster? What if I fail?
I pile all the pros and cons and what-if’s into a mountain of anxious uncertainty. My clarity is obstructed like a fog that won’t lift.
Have you been there, friend? Are you stuck in the muck of uncertainty today?
Maybe you’re a parent like me and you’re trying to discern what’s best for your kids in the face of an ongoing, ever-changing, unprecedented pandemic. Or maybe your brand of uncertainty is totally different. Maybe you’re at a crossroads in your career or a relationship. Maybe you’re trying to decide whether to go back to school or spend the rest of your savings on another round of IVF or whether to have that uncomfortable conversation about race again.
I don’t know what’s making your brow furrow and stomach knot up in indecision, but I do know this: When we’re faced with uncertainty, our only certain choice is to turn to Jesus.
It’s natural that I would feel the weight of deciding how my three sons will be educated for the upcoming school year. It’s a decision that will have heavy implications for each of them personally and for our family. It’s okay to feel uncertain and stressed.
Where I’ve missed the mark is in believing that I’m alone in making whatever decision I face. I feel like it’s all up to me! (Do you ever feel that way too?) Like the world hinges on my ability to synthesize and analyze incomplete information, perfectly fill in the blanks and accurately predict the future. I’m so afraid of making a mistake.
But nowhere in God’s Word does it say the world — or motherhood or marriage or ministry or next Tuesday — hinges on my ability, or on yours. Nowhere does Scripture say, Though shalt make every decision perfectly and never make a mistake. Because that’s not God’s heart for us.
So what does Scripture say?
God is with you. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
God will guide you. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalm 25:9 NIV).
God gives wisdom. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5 NLT).
Need more assurance that these things are true? Read Psalm 139. Read it every day this week. Read it on your Bible App in different translations. Then be honest with God about where you are. Tell Him what your personal fork in the road looks like. Tell Him if you feel alone or scared, lost or mad or overwhelmed.
Then rehearse the truth: “Even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me” (Psalm 139:10 CSB).
In this moment, I still haven’t decided what to do about the school year. But this I know: God will give me wisdom when I ask. God is with me, and He will guide me no matter what the path looks like.
I’m not alone. He’s right here.
He’s right there with you too.