Tips  on spiritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing.


What Do You Do When Your Clarity is Cloudy?

Oct 27, 2015

[This must be an important message. 

Because I deleted the first two drafts and this is try number three. As a writer, I know something is stewing inside of me when I keep stopping before I start, deleting and giving up before I finish. I always hope my posts help you, but especially this one.]

I believe you and I are paralyzed by fear on a daily basis.

Fear clouds our judgement.

It stunts our growth.

It negates our actions.

Fear impedes our decisions.

We desperately long for clarity but our continued defeat by fear only adds to our confusion.

clarity - clouds

Some of us are wondering what “God’s will for our life is” and we’re missing countless God-sent opportunities right in front of us.

Some of us are putting off action and decisions to “tomorrow” without the guarantee that we’ll get to live that long or that the opportunity will be there in the morning.

Secretly, I think some of us believe it will take less courage if we wait. We think it will get easier if we procrastinate.

Our fears only get bigger when we procrastinate.

We don’t know what to do, so we do nothing.

We’re afraid to fail, but we miss out on success too.

Things seem unclear, therefore we give up on today, hoping for clearer skies in the morning.

But what if it’s still overcast when we wake up? What will we do then?

Clarity and Dave

When faced with this much confusion and lack of clarity, I’m reminded of how much difference one person who believes can make. I’m reminded of Dave.

Dave is the main character in a 1993 comedy titled Dave, starring Kevin Kline. Kline plays a temp agency owner named Dave Kovic, whose side gig involves impersonating the president. You know, used car dealership events, bar-mitzvahs, etc. In a bizarre set of circumstances, Dave gets hired by the Secret Service to stand in for the president during an event – and it becomes a permanent gig. The president goes into a coma and Dave becomes the leader of the free world.

In one of my favorite scenes, Dave brings his friend Murray (an accountant played by Charles Grodin) to the White House to help him fix a problem in the federal budget. Dave needs to find $650,000,000 in the budget to appease the First Lady. He convinces the members of cabinet to come together with him and make some collective cuts that will enable a social program to help the homeless continue. This move shocks the First Lady who is becoming aware that something is not right with her husband.

It’s a cute movie. I loved it as a child because I wanted to be White House Press Secretary when I grew up (until I realized that no one lasted longer than two years and they all either emerged bald or with white hair. #Problems …I’m terrible at lying and terrified of going bald.)

Dave teaches us that we can do something. Even if we feel like we’re in over our heads, we can take action. We may have no idea how we got here but we can put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Sure, we’re not in control of what happened to us, but we are in control of what we do as a response.

I felt totally out of control in March 2008. I was getting married and I was scared. Premarital counseling had exposed my inability to manage money and I was realizing rather quickly that my bad financial habits were now beginning to affect someone else. My gracious wife talked me out of my stress ball and we began focusing on what we could do. We buckled down, cutting out all unnecessary spending. No more smart phones. No cable TV. No more eating out. Making coffee at home. No fancy vacations. Share one car. I got another job and then a third (for a season). It was a challenging season.

The result? We paid off almost $22,000 in credit card debt in 22 months, a life-changing experience. For us, clarity led to action. And action led to more clarity.

Clarity and Action

Small steps lead to big changes. Just as we were snowballing our debt, we were also snowballing our marriage. We conquered that credit card debt together and became convinced we could handle the even bigger challenges that were coming your way. Eliminating credit card debt has been one of many challenges we’ve faced together over the last seven years.

Like a snowball grows larger as it rolls down the hill, your clarity will snowball as you take the steps you know to take today and continue taking action tomorrow.

Acting with courage today is the best way to ensure you’ll be courageous tomorrow.

Clarity-Inducing Questions

If you’re struggling to find clarity and courage, I want to ask you a few questions. Grab a pen and paper, so you can write your answers down.

-What are you most afraid of?

-What is worth doing even if you fail?

-What conversation have you been putting off that you’d regret not having if this was your last opportunity?

-What is the next right thing you know to do?

If you answered these, I’m proud of you. It takes guts to be honest, even with yourself!

But, I want you to stop and recognize something.

Do you see how much clarity you just discovered by being honest? The simple action of answering these questions honestly brought clarity. Yes, these steps are still terrifying. No, you didn’t answer of life’s biggest questions. But you realized you don’t have to hide from the fear anymore. You can write it down, you can name it. And if you can name your fears, you can face your fears. You can do this.

Not only do I think you are capable of doing more than you realize today, I believe God is too. These words from the Apostle Paul encourage me as I think of how great God can be in us and through us when we move forward with courage.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

You can do this!

If you’re looking for clarity today, then take action. Things won’t magically get clearer while you wait. Time doesn’t heal all wounds and it doesn’t clear all clouds. Ask yourself some hard questions and do what you can today.

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