How to Move Forward in Uncertain Times“Dreaming gives us eyes to look beyond our place to the adventure that awaits.”
Life sped along just fine before the pandemic. School. Friends. Job. Then, slam! A global pandemic brought us to a stop.
The shutdown delayed prom plans, graduation, careers. If life was a train, the virus was like a collapsed train bridge.
And we waited for a fix—for more than a year.
Schools and jobs are opening again, and we know we need to rebuild momentum, but restarting can feel like too much. Where do we begin? How can we move forward? What if this happens again?
It might feel overwhelming, but we can start right here with five practices to help you move forward in uncertain times.
1. Grieve Our Losses
The shutdown stole from us and it hurt. We lost jobs, dreams—some of us even lost loved ones.
Grieving and processing our losses helps us own our stories and allows us to start picking back up.
Do: Make a list of what you lost during the pandemic. What changed? What did you miss? Then share your list with someone you trust (family, friend, therapist).
Grief looks different for everyone—it’s a journey. The trauma we all endured in the pandemic will take time to heal, so we need to give ourselves permission to process our losses whenever they pop up and seek professional counseling when needed.
2. Embrace Our Place
Once we recognize and name our losses, we should also embrace our place.
A familiar saying goes, “Bloom where you are planted.” In other words, we live where we live (lovely or not lovely) so how can we make the most of our place today? Instead of spending our energy fretting, we can cultivate beauty.
Do: Think or write about where you live and spend your time. What is good about your place in life right now? What do you need to change? How can you start today?
3. Dream Again
This step sounds scary. Dreaming requires fierce bravery and some of us feel more like a turtle—we just want to move slow and hide in our shell. Thinking about the future requires confidence and hope we sometimes lack. I’ve been there too.
But dreaming lays the track for our train. Dreaming gives us eyes to look beyond our place to the adventure that awaits. Dreaming shows us the possibilities we need to move forward.
Do: If there were no limitations with time, money or people, what would you want to do with your life? No editing! Just dream!
4. Create Rhythms
Once we begin to grieve our losses, embrace our place and dream again, we can create rhythms to help us move forward.
A life rhythm is a daily, weekly, monthly flow of practices that helps keep us focused and moving along the path toward our goals. Life rhythms are like the bank of the Colorado River—firm and purposeful. These banks directed the river to focus their flow for thousands of years—forming the majestic Grand Canyon.
Your life rhythm will guide you in carving your way toward your future dreams if you keep focused.
Do: What practices and habits do you need to start or stop to help you create a healthy life rhythm? See the “For Further Study” on how to do this.
5. Do Life Together
The pandemic forced us into unwelcomed isolation, but some of us want to stay there. Relationships come with messy emotions, risk of rejection and hard effort.
However, ancient wisdom says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV).
We need one another. You are a gift to others and others are a gift to you. Yes, relationships take risks, and you might feel burned again, but isolation becomes much more painful. God created us for relationship with Himself and with others.
Do: Name 2-3 people you would like to deepen your friendship with. What is one thing you can do this week to be a good friend?
Abraham Lincoln kept moving forward regardless of his challenges. He lost elections at least seven times, failed in business and even suffered a nervous breakdown. Yet he saw success just ahead. He started each day with the purpose of taking the next step—and he became one of our nation’s greatest leaders.
Moving forward in a time of uncertainty can feel like chugging ahead in the fog—but keep going. Grieve your losses. Embrace your place. Dream. Create rhythms. Do life in community. When we do, we can move forward in times of uncertainty.
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”—Abraham Lincoln
for further study
5 Steps to Start What’s Next:
- Look around. What about your current situation do you like? What needs to change? Make a list and pray about it or share it with a mentor or friend.
- Choose the next step. What step can you make this week to help you move toward change? Maybe you interview for a job, apply for school or sign-up for counseling.
- Mark it down. Put your one step on the calendar for this week.
- Evaluate your time. Are you scrolling through Instagram or Tik Tok instead of stepping out? Are you hanging out with people that distract you from what might be best for you? Instead of zoning out, zone in—you are worth it! Take one next step toward the life you dream of.
- Celebrate! Then start over. You did it! You made one step toward your dream job, getting your education or choosing healthy relationships. Now, reward yourself. Grab your favorite form of caffeine, relax and then reboot. Choose the next step—again.
- The Next Right Thing: Helps you make decisions on where to start or what to do next.
- 8-Steps to Creating Healthy Rhythms: Guides you to creating space in your life for your goals and dreams.
- The Road Back to You: Personality assessment and resource to understanding your relationships.
Seana writes to equip and inspire others to know and experience God and to live a purposeful life. Her writing has been featured at Christianity Today, Fathom Mag, (in)Courage and Lifeway Research. You can find more of her writing at SeanaScott.org and connect with her on Instagram: @Seana_S_Scott.
This article was originally titled “Into the Unknown” in the September 2021 issue of Peer.