How to Cope when you are Unsettled.
I am in a season of life where I am unsettled. My personal life has turned upside down into something I never imagined. I am unsettled with the direction of my business. I am anxious about homeschooling a first grader, and my emotions have become unpredictable as a result of all of the above.
I am unsettled . . . and I hate it.
When I look at the definition of the word “unsettled” I feel each of those things in different areas of my life.
I run a non-profit community theater that produces over twenty productions a year. The past few years have left me lacking direction. Constant ridicule and persecution have left me anxious and troubled to the point where I do not know whether to turn left or right. When you start changing lives, the enemy will notice, and will try to derail you in every way possible. I know this and still . . . I am unsettled in business. I am anxious. I am troubled. I lack direction. I am wanting to pack my bags and go.
My home life has turned upside down and inside out this year leaving me a single mom to a six-year-old little boy. I am worried about my unpredictable future. Yes, I know God has me in the palm of His hand. Yes, I know He holds my future. I know these things, but those human fears creep in leaving me constantly anxious, always worried . . . unsettled.
Heart & Mind.
I have a type A personality. I am always in control of my behaviors and emotions. I always think twice . . . actually more than twice . . . before every move I make. I have always kept a level head, rarely flying off the handle (unless my New York, Italian side wants to come out and play and then watch out! Just Kidding 😉) My emotions have always been settled in who I am and where I am going.
Because of the season, even my emotions have become unpredictable. I don’t know who I am anymore in this new life and that leaves me lacking direction - unstable. It leaves my emotions to run all over the place as I try to grasp onto something of the familiar. My heart and mind have become unsettled.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Am I the only one in this boat swaying to and fro?
Have you been in a season of life where you just can’t see the end from the beginning? Have you felt like you will never swim again as you struggle to the surface to breath?
I am there, sisters. I am in that place as I sit typing to you . . . and I hate it. Oh Lord, do I hate this place. I want to be settled in every decision. I no longer want to be unpredictable. I want to find joy in my life, business, and relationships again.
I desire and long to be settled.
I was doing my Open My Eyes Scripture Writing the other morning and came to 1 Peter 5:6-10 . . . specifically, verse 10.
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (I Peter 5:10)
Okay, Peter, so what you are telling me is that Suffering <leads to> Settled? Oh no . . . don’t tell me that! I don’t want any more suffering! Lord, can’t you just snap your fingers and let me out of this merry-go-round? No more suffering!
After I whined and cried and stomped my feet for all of five minutes . . . I put on my big girl pants and dug into The Word.
History of 1 Peter.
- The Book of 1 Peter was written by the apostle Peter. Most scholars believe it was written in Rome sometime between AD 62-67. Here are some facts regarding the historical context of this book.
- The city of Rome was burned and the Romans believed that their emperor, Nero, had set the city on fire.
- The Romans were totally devastated in every way. Their culture, religion, lifestyles, households and even their families were burned up.
- The people were homeless and hopeless. Many had been killed. Their bitter resentment was severe, so Nero realized that he had to redirect the hostility.
The emperor’s chosen scapegoat was the Christians, who were already hated. Nero spread the word quickly that the Christians had set the fires. As a result, a vicious persecution against the Christians began, and soon spread throughout the Roman Empire. Many Christians, referred to by Peter as “pilgrims” left their homes for their own safety. Many did not come out alive as they were brutally murdered by Nero’s empire.
I Peter was writing to these Christian “pilgrims”. They needed spiritual strengthening because of their sufferings. Thus Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this epistle to strengthen them.
We may never understand what our Christian brothers and sisters were feeling in those days but I can bet they felt homeless, helpless, and hopeless.
Homeless . . . . Helpless . . . . Hopeless.
We’ve all been there.
Homeless - unsettled in your place in life.
You can not “lay your head” on an idea or a decision. You can’t “unpack your bags” for fear that another persecution is right around the corner. You are “homeless” - without a place to rest - as a result of being unsettled.
And then God speaks . . . My daughter, maybe I have you in a homeless state so you can establish a new home - one better than you had before.
Helpless - unsettled in the fact that you can not do anything about your situation.
I have tried so hard to fix where I am. I have prayed, fasted, sought The Lord, worshiped, praised, cried, pleaded, and begged. I have rearranged my home, changed my hair, got new clothes, and lost forty pounds. I have started a new business. I have tried to reinvent my theater. I have done the therapy, Bible studies, and prayer walks. Guess what? Nothing has worked. I feel helpless to changing this situation and as a result . . . unsettled.
And then God speaks . . . My daughter, maybe you feel helpless because I have you in this place for a purpose. Believe it or not, you can't pray your way out of some situations. Some seasons, you just have to hold my hand and walk through.
Hopeless - being so unsettled in the current season of your life that you see no hope for it to change.
Like my early Christian brothers and sisters, I have watched the life I knew burn around me. I have watched it go up in flames. I have experienced terrible things and have been victim to people’s anger, abuse, lies, and deceit. Lately, I have felt hopeless. I feel like this season will go on forever. I don’t dream or hope for the future because it’s not worth it. I know God has given me a hope and a future, but right now, I am so weary I can’t see it, I can’t hope for it . . . because I am unsettled.
And then God speaks . . . My daughter, would you be brave enough to dream with me? Would you find the courage inside of you to hope with me? Would you look to the sunrise of your new day with me? Don't give up. Whatever you do, don't give up hope.
Now before you look at me and say, “Erika, your blog is to encourage us in our faith not defeat us, right?” let me say one thing. In this Homeless, Helpless, Hopeless season you may be walking in, know that God is right beside you even if it doesn’t feel like it.
If you are in a season of unsettling, know that God has given us the answer on how to cope with this season. You see, He knows seasons like this will come in and out of our lives and He, in His grace and mercy, has given us tools to help us through.
1. You are called to glory.
If we go back to 1 Peter 5:10, Peter tells us that God has called us to eternal glory. You were not called to an unsettled life. Sure, that may be a part of the life you are leading, but dear friend, you are just passing through this time. It will pass. It will end. And at the end of it will be GLORY.
The Greek Word for "glory" in this passage is doxa which is translated as honor, praise, and worship.
My dear friend, you are called to honor. You are not called to be homeless, helpless, and hopeless. You are called to honor and my friend, you will worship again. You will praise again. You will sing again.
2. He will perfect you.
I looked up the word "perfect" in this passage and found the Greek word was katartizō which means to complete thoroughly, to repair (literally and figuratively), to mend, to make perfect, to restore.
In this time of unsettling, I pray that we can find hope in the fact that God is mending us right now. In this time of suffering, he is completing us THOROUGHLY. Not just a little bit, but He is fixing us completely.
He is restoring us in this unsettling season and He is putting us back together again; picking up the broken pieces and mending us.
3. He is establishing and strengthening you.
The Greek, in this case, is stērizō. Which is translated “to stand, to make stable, to turn in a certain direction.
Can someone say HALLELUJAH!!!
He is establishing you in this time of uncertainty and giving you the strength to handle it at the same time. I know it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like we are wandering. It feels like we are falling apart. It feels like we have no purpose or direction. We feel weak and weary.
But you know what, gals? THOSE ARE ONLY EMOTIONS & FEELINGS and feelings and emotions lie to us all the time!
The Word of God never lies. So while we may feel those things, we can rest in knowing that our Heavenly Father is putting things back together again. He is causing you to stand. He is making you stable. He is turning you in the direction He wants you to go.
He is giving you a new purpose and a new direction as He establishes you and gives you strength for the journey!
4. He is settling you.
The Greek word for “setting” is themelioō which means “to lay a foundation”. Like the fires of Rome back in the time of Nero, God has to tear down anything that is not Him in order to build up everything that is Him. It hurts. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t fun. But it is absolutely necessary.
God is settling us and building a new foundation out of our lives. One that is stronger than before. One that is hopefully built on Him, the Solid Rock..
. . . a little while . . .
This past year has been a horror for me. But I found hope and peace in I Peter 5:10. In the final part of this verse Peter writes, “After you have suffered a little while."
My friends, this suffering we are going through is not going to last forever It is only here for a little while.
I don't know when you will be settled or established. I don't know how long it will take for you to be perfected. But I do know that it won't be forever that you will deal with suffering. Just for a little while.
Hold on dear sisters. Hold on.
You have been called to glory.
You are being perfected and established.
You are being strengthened.
Our suffering is only here for a little while . . .
And we are on our way to becoming. . . .