Saturday, September 6, 2014

Calm in the Chaos: Thriving with Unanswered Questions



It’s a word that I think aptly describes this stage of life. I have talked to countless people since coming back to university who’s words have an underlying sense of it, as they voice the many important questions that remain unanswered. 

Who am I? What should I do with my life? Where will I live? Who will I marry? Do I have what it takes to “make it”? 

Now in the last half of my college career, I’ve had these thoughts myself. 

A lot has happened in the past two years since freshman year, exemplified by the fact that I came in hoping to major in Business and minor in Personal Training, and am now majoring in Communication with a minor in…Biblical Studies? Anthropology? Not quite sure. My expectations have been picked up, shaken, and are now being put back together slowly, piece by piece…by piece. 

In the midst of this constant discovery-of-self and of the world, I’ve realized a few things that help bring calm to the inevitable feelings of chaos:

A literal life road sign:)

1. The unknown only stays that way for so long. 
The great thing about transition is that eventually, it comes to an end. It’s cheesy, but like the song, I usually picture life like a highway, with questions and looming events like road signs. I see them coming, and eventually drive past them. The new city becomes home, the acquaintances become family, the diploma is given and the job is found.  I’ve found that if I can’t last through a transition, I would be quitting it to enter into another one, so I try to persevere until the uncharted territory becomes familiar, expanding the previous limits of my comfort. 

2. No matter what tomorrow brings, I only have today. 
If I woke up tomorrow with a picture of exactly what my life would look like for the next ten years, it would not change the fact that I only have today. I would still have the same people and work in front of me, and could still only live one day at a time. Whatever Jesus places in front of me today will prepare me for what is down the road if I respond to it correctly. In light of that, I try to be thankful for what I can see as I have faith for the things that I cannot see. If I do not embrace the moments I do have, what makes me think I will embrace those moments I hope for? 

3. Mystery makes life richer. 
We can view the future in one of two ways: with dread or with anticipation. I often do not want to know what lies ahead in the future because I delight in the mystery of it all. I look forward to the “random” people and opportunities that will seem to come out of nowhere because I know that Jesus is not limited to my social circles and resources. He has storehouses and networks of his own, and has promised to take care of me as I seek to give my life for his glory. It has become fun to see how he works things out because he is faithful and incredibly creative. 

With all of these questions still left mostly unanswered, I’ve decided to embrace the day before me by simply enjoying it.  I don’t know where I’ll live next summer, but I do have coffee and books and a desk that help me feel at home right now. I don’t know what job I’ll have when I graduate, but I do know that the homework I need to finish is helping me to prepare for it today. I don’t know what friendships will last and which will fade, but I do know that I have a lot of adventurous people in my life these days who keep it fun. 

As I recognize that human life is simply chaotic, it is things like these that I am thankful for. I also have peace in the fact that as I write, I am living out the answers to yesterday’s questions, and that makes the chaos at least seem a bit more calm. 


  1. These, I believe, are exactly the kinds of questions that people ask themselves and worry about constantly. You're approach to the 'chaos' in any persons life is how all of us should handle our own chaotic situations. Thanks Aria! Will definitely remember this post!

  2. This is such a great post! Speaks to a lot of that graduation thing I'll be doing this spring. I honestly don't know where I'll be at this time next year...and it's terrifying. But, I suppose it's also very exciting! For the first time ever, there isn't a limit to what I can do, no strings attached.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Caleb and Gillian!
    Keep persevering! :)