We’ve sure been fighting the good fight lately.
2020 has brought with it a seemingly unending series of events that have caused us to buckle down and buckle up in ways that have pushed us to our brim.
For most of us, the pot has boiled over. But for many more of us, we cling on and save face for our children, for the jobs we have to uphold, and for the entire realities we’ve built that rely on us to steadily stay the course.
For the most part, our consistent action has paid off—it’s gotten us to where we are now. This action is something we should be proud of because growing up and leaning into our lives with courage isn’t always easy.
For most of us, we couldn’t have truly understood what it takes to wake up multiple times per night with a screaming baby, repeatedly, only to have to handle a toddler the next day as well.
We couldn’t have known the depth of what it would feel like to lose someone we cared about deeply.
We weren’t prepared to have to deal with uprooting our lives’ security and leaving people who sucked the vitality out of us.
We had no clue what it would be like to chase a career dream that, while fulfilling, exhausted us to our core.
We didn’t know what it would really take to have the world on our shoulders.
Now we know, and it took a lot.
Though the joys of adulthood were present, for the most part, a lot of life was about us moving forward and doing what needed to be done. It was wading through the storm of necessity to get to clear waters. But somehow, for many of us over time, it was as if the seas never really settled.
We began to wonder if all this wading was worth it.
Did all our striving against the wind have an end point or a purpose?
Or were our lives meant to be just another day of getting through all the stress only to wake up and do it all over again?
When do we get to rest and start to enjoy our days from start to finish?
Somewhere deep inside, we feel that life is meant to be so much more than this. And by “this,” we don’t mean more trips to Disneyland, high fives at the workplace, or new trucks in the driveway. We mean deep peace and vitality in our hearts that last longer than the few fleeting moments at a time when we experience something joyful in our outer circumstances.
We wonder, but then we sign and move on with the day as another requirement pops up, asking us to keep plodding on.
The truth is that yes, there is more to life. And yes, we are meant to experience more peace and happiness. But the secret to getting there actually lies much more in the not knowing than in the knowing.
There is no amount of theorizing, thinking, analyzing, or planning that can get us there. It’s in the moments of sadness, overwhelm, fear, and anger when we feel like we can’t take it anymore and dare admit that maybe we don’t know the answer to where peace is found.
As adults, we have to come up with many solutions—we solve things all day.
But sometimes, we forget that true wisdom and relief come when we admit that not only do we not know, but that it’s okay not to.
Sometimes, it’s better to let go. To look objectively at the emotions we bring to the situation, take a deep breath, and let them dissipate right before our eyes.
We’ve had to dig our heels in to achieve so much as adults that we’ve forgotten the value of giving in. Our society has valued confident knowing for so long that we’ve forgotten the wisdom inherent in giving in and not knowing.
But there is a huge difference between giving in and being a doormat and giving in and just stopping the anxiety and chaos in our hearts and minds. And there is a huge difference between admitting we don’t know the answer as a method of laziness or not wanting to try, and admitting we don’t know as a true measure of humility in the situation.
When we have the courage to pause when it gets too hard, let go, and give in (even if only in our minds and hearts), that’s when we create space for the wisdom that brings us peace.
It’s in that space where we remember that at this moment, everything is actually okay.
In fact, if we really let it all sink in, it’s more than okay—it’s nothing short of incredible.