Clouds rolled in. Heavy, gray; prepared to pour at any moment. What they’d pour I wasn’t quite sure. To what intensity was still to be determined. It was coming and soon.
Two hours away from where I was headed, the destination ahead felt further than the destination I was leaving behind. The sense of urgency to get there was overwhelming. Worry, burden, fear. All due to the unknown of what awaited me on the road ahead.
Mirrored in the way I face adaptive challenges, I feel uncertain at my best, burdened at my worst.
When asked how to hold steady in this work, I simply and firmly stated:
“Enjoy the whimsy in ambiguity rather than the pain.”
Truth of the current reality of my life. Numerous technical details including the management of a new book, more unanswered than answered questions most days. Most importantly, a personal adaptive challenge, a purpose of loving college students well through an organization called Young Life. How to do all this remains ambiguous most days.
Knowing the importance of holding to purpose, competing questions ring loudly in my mind. What if the details are easier to grasp, measure, cross off a to do list and use to prove to others the victory of your efforts? These questions and getting caught up in details lead me to wander.
Absent purpose, earnest wandering can lead us to a place where we feel lost. Alone. Holding steadfast to a purpose, these wanderings can lead somewhere more productive. Progress.
Progress defined as holding tightly with both hands to what’s in front of you, this deep purpose, while many hands push you from behind and competing commitments threaten to drag you from your path.
A belief in a purpose strong enough to not need a hand on my back to continue to move forward allows me to boldly grasp this whimsy in the ambiguity of adaptive challenges rather than the pain of uncertainty.
The day when ominous clouds brewed overhead, I made it to my destination and the next morning awoke to a glorious sunrise. A reminder to believe the view in front of me is more promising than the view in the rearview.
Amy Nichols is a communications associate at the Kansas Leadership Center.